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4-1-14 - The Snow Is Back, No Foolin'!
The winter the just won't quit hit hard last night in stretches of North and South Dakota. Just when things were starting to heat up for those in North Dakota a notorious spring storm dumped upward of 12" of the white stuff in many places. The melt has been at a snails pace so far, with another round of snow predictable for Thursday.
With the season officially closed in Nebraska (4/1), and no way for the birds to get further into North Dakota, you are in for a show if you're heading to South Dakota the next couple days. This years migration has gone from as stretched out as we've ever seen, to as bottled up as possible. Put your pointer square on snow covered Aberdeen, SD and draw a circle withing 100 miles and you'll see an amazing amount of waterfowl.
As the snow melts, the fierce Dakota mud will be back, making conditions tough, but the South Dakota die hards are still at it putting the hurt on birds that have seen the worst of it this spring.
Similar to what Nebraska experience this spring, North Dakota should be prepared for a quick main flight once the weather breaks, which looks to be this coming weekend.
4-13-14 - NoDak Continues the Grind
With the recent warm up most snow geese have made their way well into North Dakota. A few scattered reports of juvie pockets remain in South Dakota, but it sounds like guys are keeping pretty good tabs on them. Nothing wrong with trying to scratch that last itch of the season!
Birds are scattered South of I-94 in ND, but more consistent North of there up to the Devils Lake area and West of there. There is still a pretty distinct snow line just over the US/Canada border, and with temps staying unseasonably cool this next week there is still a lot of opportunity to chase whitey in North Dakota. The next big warm up is scheduled for Saturday and we'd expect a mass border crossing as soon as that happens.
3-18-14 - Spreading It Out
The snow goose migration is currently as spread out as we've ever seen it. Birds are being killed as far north as I-94 in North Dakota, but Southern Nebraska, Northern Missouri are still checking in with the biggest kill numbers through Monday. Squaw Creek released a report yesterday counting over 1 Million still on the refuge....that's A LOT for this late in the year.
This weekend was cooler, but Northern movement was still happening. South Dakota "should be" the place to be this week, although there really is no "main" push to be looking for. While the southern part of the state was screaming "fly-over" early last week, more birds have filtered in and filled the void left by those hardy breeders that skipped straight to the northern part of the state. Large numbers are being reported in the Aberdeen/Sand Lake area, as well as other traditional places in the central part of the state, but nothing MIND BOGGLING. Huntable numbers are as far West as the Missiouri River in South Dakota, while we have received reports of "more birds than we've ever seen around here" from areas as far East as West Central Minnesota.
A winter storm warning is in effect for a lot of North Central South Dakota today, with snow amounts up to 5 inches expected in some areas. This front is probably not enough to move bird back South, but it will likely stall the rolling push that's been happening for more than a week.
On that note, it's time our crew hits the road for annual South Dakota Snow Goose hunt. Unfortunately that means we won't be updating this page again until March 31, but you can continue to keep tabs on the migration on our Facebook page as we give first hand reports throughout the next two weeks..
3-13-14 - Juvie Time For The Middle
Warm weather and "killing winds" have big kill reports blowing us up this week. The areas of Northern Missouri, Central Illinois, and Southern Nebraska are starting to get into juvies and rossies big time, as the masses continue their push north. Squaw Creek has not released a count since Monday when they reported 1.2 million on the refuge....but we expect the number to be 1/2 that by Friday afternoon. This is a good thing for those hunting the Mound City area, with the back end starting to filter in making for more killing days and less bird watching days.
The Kansas Dept of Wildlife is reporting "losing birds daily", while the South Dakota boys are just starting to really get in the game as of mid week. Unlike last year when the birds in South Dakota were stalled heavily in the I-90 corridor for weeks waiting for the snow to melt, this year the state is completely snow free. The South Dakota Fish and Game are "getting reports of light geese in most eastern counties and south of Hwy 212" with further reports of birds already in the Aberdeen area. More 50 - 60 degree temps over the short range forecast will have the state well stocked with birds for this weekend.
Speaking of weekend, it looks like another great one to be a snow goose hunter! South Dakota and Iowa, have fun chasing the first waves while keeping expectations realistic. Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, and Nebraska better get your licks in while you can these next 4-5 days, as after that things could get skinny in a hurry.
3-10-14 - Making Up Ground
Making up for lost time might be an understatement after the last 3 days. Everyone across the prairies was amazed at the northward push of waterfowl this weeked. Reports from the managers at Squaw Creek had approximately 13,000 on the refuge as of Friday, that number exploded to over 1.2 Million by mid day on Saturday.
Hunters in Central MO reported good success over the weekend as the masses moved away from the Grand Pass and other areas across the state leaving plenty of juvie filled flocks to play with. Southern Illinois is starting to have juvies push through as well Northern Kansas with birds clearing filtering out by the thousands. It sounds like everybody South of the Missouri bootheal has pretty well wrapped their season, minus a few die hards chasing the very scattered flocks bringing up the rear.
The snow goose migration has spread out big time as of Monday afternoon. It's go time for South Dakota as "hundreds" of snow geese crossing into the state on Sunday quickly turned into "thousands" by Monday morning. Huntable numbers are hitting the ground, while not staged up in huge numbers at any particular location yet. The snow has melted leaving a straight shot all the way to North Dakota today, but there is a chance of 1-3" across most of South Dakota tomorrow. Early hunters should have no problem finding feeds in the I-90 corridor this week, with birds becoming thick across the rest of the state by the weekend.
Whether your on the front end or back end, It's all eyes to the sky as new opportunities present themselves this week.
3-6-14 - Here we go!
Today is the day we've been waiting for all spring. Sun, warm, south winds = Major Migration! Hell yeah!
1 million+ snow geese have been reported in the Grand Pass area in Central MO, with "strings a mile long headed off to the NW". Huge numbers are also reported pouring over the Kansas/Nebraska border. The front end of the white wave is pilling well into Nebraska with hunters reporting good numbers and success up to I-80 corridor.
For those looking to hunt "the hills" around Squaw Creek for the next couple weeks yet, don't get too stuck on the idea. This season is playing out a lot like the spring of 2010, a late cold spring, when the peak at Squaw Creek was only around 20,000 birds. This could be one of the quickest springs ever for the main push to go through NW Missouri and Southern Nebraska. The snow on the ground will melt today and tomorrow and they are primed to make a huge jump the next 4-5 days.
A lot of times your best bet during weather stretches like we're about to see is not getting too hung up on hunting hot feeds, as they will likely move. Find some open water, a bean field, a pasture pond, etc., stick 'em in the ground and wait for those migrators to start dropping from the heavens!
Buckle up and have fun on this Major Migration Weekend!
3-3-14 - Titan
Winter storm Titan rolled across the central part of the country this week, leaving behind a path of heavy spring snow and ice right through the heart of the migration. Most hunters pulled their spreads by Saturday in preparation for the storm. 1.1 million snows were reported on Carlyle Lake in south central Illinois late last week, needless to say those birds were buried last night. As well as the boot-heel area of SE Missouri that had been reportedly been holding piles of geese. Birds in those areas will likely scatter in multiple directions with todays frigid temps.
It looks as if Kansas and Nebraska dodged the heaviest snow portions of the storm. Because we're so late in the game I would expect those birds to hang tight through today, and start pushing North hard as early as tomorrow.
The good news is temps are going to rebound in a big way this week. A lot of areas will be well above 50 by Thursday, and this wet heavy spring snow will be gone, hopefully for good, in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Illinois before we know it. This is the week the snow goose migration is really going to take off! Watch for melting snow and a huge push starting Wednesday of this week through the weekend. It wouldn't surprise us one bit to hear of snows crossing into South Dakota by the weekend.
National Snow Depth Analysis - 3-3-14
2-26-14 - Still Cold
Not much news is coming across the wire this week. As expected the unseasonably cold temps have everything on hold. This is throwing a monkey wrench in a lot of planed trips to traditional areas for this time of year, but those willing to travel back south with the birds are still killing them. It sounds like the NW Missouri area has been vacated by both the birds, and the guys and guides trying to chase them there. If you had a hunt scheduled for this week or upcoming weekend, make sure to talk to your guide....the "good ones" have all moved their hunts well south or canceled them.
Tip of the day: With this cold weather, the ground is going to be frozen solid in a lot of areas. Grab a rubber mallet and pound the decoys into the ground. It's a lot faster and easier than drilling (we promise!) and a technique you can't do with any other brand of decoy! We're not saying it's fun, but it beats drilling...and is certainly better than staying home.
In the end the boys in Arkansas and Kansas are truly benefiting from this extended season and great juvie hatch. Once the switch finally does flip, we're setting up to see a huge jump north, possibly over a lot of the traditional staging areas. Only time will tell.
2-23-14 - Not a bad weekend
Quick round up for the weekend sounded pretty positive from most sources. Thursdays storm didn't drop nearly the snow as predicted, and most of it melted in the lower regions of the flyway by Friday morning. The snow goose migration is fairly stretched out at this point, with a couple decent migration days this past Saturday and Sunday. Grand Pass CA in North Central Missouri is reporting approximately 500,000 snows in the area as of the weekend, with Swan Lake at about 150,000 each, although tough hunting overall was the theme in those areas. Squaw Creek is only holding a small number of birds comparatively, but reports of front edge birds being killed well into Nebraska, up to the I-80 corridor, with even reports into SE Iowa have been confirmed.
Look for the push to hit a major stall this week with the cooler weather, although with the lack of snow cover new geese will continue to trickle north. For the next 7-10 days the main wad will be in that Central Missouri, Kansas, and Southern Illinois range....with some huge shoots and the most positive hunting reports still coming out of points well South.
2-20-14 - We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Migration...
...with another blast of snow and a return to the ice box. Bummer dude.
The reports of a BIG push the past two days and some decent hunting in new areas have been dumped on, literally, by another winter storm today. Most of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and all of Iowa and Illinois are expecting snow out of this system. Tomorrow shows a brief warm up, then the so called "Polar Vortex" returns for the weekend throughout next week (not the vortex we were hoping for!).
The good news is birds did push North in good numbers and there likely won't be enough accumulation to send them packing South as they are now behind schedule. Squaw Creek NWR reported 20,000 snow geese on the refuge yesterday. Not a lot, but a start. The good news is if you did gain birds, the opportunities will be there throughout the weekend for those willing to brave the chill. Just keep expectations realistic if you're hunting that front edge in North/Central MO, or Southern IL....or drive south.
2-18-14 - The White Wave is coming....
As predicated todays warm up has the snow geese on the move. Reports of the lead edge touching down in NW Missouri and Southern Nebraska were flooding in today. A reliable source has reported birds hitting Squaw Creek NWR as of 11:00am this morning with most of the fields in the area snow free. They were setting up for an afternoon shoot for the first time of the season.
60's across the region today and 50's tomorrow will only prompt more movement north. Unfortunately Thursday looks like a wash out, and behind that colder than average temps return. The long range forecast shows a dip back into the ice box early next week, but we won't worry about that....yet.
For the foreseeable future, your best bet is still going to be in the LA, AR, TX areas along with SE Missouri, Kansas, and Southern Illinois really starting to pick up migrator action. But hey, if you're antsy and have newly snow free ground don't be afraid to stick 'em in the ground for another migration day tomorrow!
2-16-14 - Spreads Hittin' the Ground
What was once a snow line is becoming a distant memory in the Western part of the central flyway. Kansas and Nebraska are mostly snow free at this point. And what snow is left in Northern Missouri will be gone mid-week with temps forecasted well into the 50's. As of Friday scout flocks had already been reported around the Mound City, MO area. With the predicted warm up this week, Squaw Creek should see a large influx of birds by next weekend. Louisiana hunters have noted movement out of their deepest wintering grounds, and a guide contact in Southern Illinois reports simply "whitey is here".
Most of "the guides" that inhabit the traditional staging areas in Northern Missouri are starting to "saddle up", with everyone we have talked to planing to be hunting by late this week if not sooner.
Troy Maaser with a SE Missouri snow goose pile from last week!
2-12-14 - Let the Melt Commence
After the first week and half's may-lay's have subsided, most hunters have reported slower hunting and stale birds due to relentless cold and more snow. BUT.....A sign of hope is on its way for those with early ambitions in Missouri, Nebraska, and Illinois. The 10 day forecast finally showing signs of "seasonly" warm temps. Melt baby, melt! The snow line covers most of the country still as of today. Even the guys in Arkansas are dealing with below freezing temps and way to much white stuff, but that is all about to change. It looks like Saturday is the day the light switch will be flipped "on", and if you've got early migrators on the mind this weekend should be the time in Southern MO, KS, and IL.
With the coldest winter in 33 years hopefully behind us, no doubt the ice and frost lines are deep. But don't be caught sitting on your hands thinking the birds will wait for your favorite roost lake to open. As soon as the fields turn from snow to mud, they won't be far behind!
National Snow Depth Analysis - 2-12-14 Extended Forecast- Kansas City, MO
2-5-14 - Get Back In Your Hole, Ground Hog.
It comes as no surprise that our furry buddy Phil predicted 6 more weeks of this winter stuff this past weekend. Man it's been relentless. And right on cue rolling snow/ice storms and frigid weather blanket across the central US once again this week, beefing up a more distinct snow line. This is bad news for us waiting patiently to the North, but of no real worry to the guys already pounding away in the southern states.
There have been some HUGE shoots going on already this spring from Southern Illinois, through Arkansas and Texas! Here's one from yesterday from our good friends at Goose and Duck Smackers Guide Service....175 bird day!
The good news for the rest of us is that the snows are not really behind schedule....yet! The last few years the boys in Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa have been spoiled with some really early cracks at staging birds. Although that's not likely to be the case this year, if the weather breaks in the next two weeks we should start to see the first big push north.
Never the less, it's time to GET JACKED for what looks to be an unreal spring!
1-27-14 - Happy Opening Day!
As duck season officially comes to a close in the southern states, that only means one thing....opening day of the Spring Conservation Order! A lot of birds hit the ground this regular season. Many of our guide friends in the south report the best wintering populations of snow geese and bird totals in 5+ years. That should be of no surprise as the cold weather that has gripped the nation left very few "short stoppers" and one of the best juvie hatches in recent memory as has been documented.
Although snow cover is minimal across the central prairies, birds are still very comfortable in their wintering areas. Reports of small (1,000 - 10,000) groups scattered throughout Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado have been reported, but your best bet to get under a good hunt this early in the game will be from Texas to Arkansas. The 10 day forecasts are snow free, but the cold looks to last into the first week of February and beyond.
As seasons open back up over the next couple weeks, make sure to join us here, and on our facebook page as we follow the snow goose migration as they push back north.
Another freak of a cold spell has the country blanketed in ice. Reports from the mid central flyway have guys and clubs running ice eaters longer and harder than they do most years in mid January. While there is not much snow cover in the north yet, other than the hardiest Canada Geese, most birds have pushed well into their winter grounds where they will hang out for the next 6+ weeks.
Less than 50 days remain until the first spring conservation seasons open. If you're just getting birds, enjoy the rest of your season. If you've hung up the gun for the winter, enjoy the holiday, your family, some ice fishing, and get pumped for spring!
11-23-13 - Brrrrrrrrr......
An arctic cold front has swept across most of the country today sending the back end of the migration well south towards their wintering grounds. Temperatures in the double digits below zero have been reported across North and South Dakota. We got a call from a guide friend today that said snow goose numbers are building on a daily basis in his area of Texas. This front should about wrap things up for the snow goose hunter in the northern states, but the boys down south be ready as you're in for a treat this year!
11-6-13 - JUVIES!
Well, we have first person confirmation that the rumors are true. The 2013 juvenile snow goose year class is one of the best hatches in a LONG time. It has been a great fall to be a snow goose hunter across the upper midwest and Canada. We keep getting texts and photos sent in from friends of 100 bird hunts that take under an hour. This is great news as we are all looking forward to the 2014 spring snow goose conservation season!
As normal for this time of year, snow geese are stretched across the flyway. With reports of large numbers already showing up on their wintering grounds, the main masses seem to be in North and South Dakota right now, with lingering reports of birds still hanging on into Canada. The next big cold snap forecast for next week should get things moving hard south once again.