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Each year when the spring snow goose season arrives, hunters make the trek for a guided hunt and come home disappointed. Why? Because they have unrealistic expectations. And it’s easy to see why. They see photos of hunters with hundreds of dead geese and assume that’s the norm. But the truth is that there are no guarantees when you’re out with a snow goose hunting outfitter, or hunting solo for that matter. So, if 100 birds isn’t the norm, what should you expect from your trip?
Remember: There are No Guarantees
People have been hunting spring snow geese for over 15 years, and the mature birds have seen it all. Now, most hunters look for those big flocks of birds, but these are just the leading edge birds in the migration. They’re primarily made up of adults that are much smarter than the younger birds. Sometimes, there is just nothing that can be done to make a flock decoy.
What to Expect from the Outfitter
There are a few things you can expect from the outfitter during your trip.
- A minimum of 500 decoys should be used. It’s okay for the outfitter to use less than 1,000 decoys. Remember, they’re the experienced professional and know which methods are most successful.
- You may be hunting with other groups. Also, it’s not uncommon for the outfitter to hunt several fields at the same time.
- It’s normal to hunt the same field a few days in a row. This is especially true if the outfitter has had great success with a particular field throughout the years.
- The outfitter should fulfill their commitment, and the terms of the hunt should be clear when you make your booking. If you and the outfitter agree to certain aspects of the hunt when you make your booking and those aspects do not happen, this needs to be addressed right away. And it should be addressed with the outfitter – not the guide.
- You should call or contact the outfitter a few weeks before the hunt to make sure that everything is still in order. Don’t expect too much communication in the weeks leading up to the hunt unless there is a problem. Remember, this is a busy time of year and the outfitter and there guides spend long days out in the field.
- A meeting point should be set before the hunt. This is where you will meet your group and receive the itinerary for the hunt. The outfitter or guide should arrive to the meeting point on time.
If you are hunting with a guide who is not the outfitter, it’s important to make sure that they are experienced. It’s okay to have a guide in training in the field to lend a helping hand, but you should have a seasoned guide with your group throughout the entire trip.
What to Expect in the Field
Now, when you’re out in the field, it’s important to remember that the guide calls the shots. Safety is also of the utmost importance, especially if there are multiple groups of hunters that don’t know each other.
Later on in the season, the sun doesn’t go down until 6-8pm, which can mean a long hunt day. Expect to take a break at some time. Full day hunts are definitely not the norm.
Another important thing to remember is that it is completely unacceptable to harvest other waterfowl species during your hunt. Now, you’ll see flocks of other waterfowl species, but you should never expect to shoot anything other than snow geese. And it can be difficult to tell the difference between certain species, which is why it’s so important to let the guide call the shots – always. If you do shoot anything other than a snow goose, you can expect the guide to make a call to the game warden.
So, how many birds can your group expect to shoot on a typical day? Most hunters expect to shoot at least 100. While it’s not out of the realm of possibility, you shouldn’t expect it. On an excellent hunting day, you may harvest 50 or more geese. On an average day, 35 birds. On a bad day, 0-10 birds.
For the best chances of success, guided hunting trips are your best bet. At Show Me Snow Geese, we offer premium snow goose hunting trips all throughout Missouri with experienced and seasoned guides.