Spring snow goose hunting is a great “gap filler.” Before we had the spring seasons, March and the first half of April dragged along as shotgunners waited for turkey seasons to kick off across a wide portion of the country. Now we can fill that time chasing geese.
Are you going to hunt them this spring?
Admittedly, this is a game with some pretty high barriers for entry. It takes time, specialized gear, hard-earned knowledge, and often lots of travel to be successful with spring white geese. If this isn’t something you’ve done before or plan on doing frequently, you either need to have buddies who are hardcore who will take you along or hire an outfitter.
Even for traditional fall season waterfowl hunting, searching out and paying a top-quality outfitter for his or her services is almost always time and energy well-spent. With as many years of experience as I have chasing ducks and geese the length of North America, I still find hunting web-foots with an outfitter to be an enticing and enjoyable proposition. On top of that, I always learn a ton I can turn around and apply to my do-it-myself ducking—which I’ll never give up!
There are at least as many good reasons to consider using an outfitter/guide for your waterfowl hunting as there are for big game hunting. Here are some of the biggies:
Waterfowl hunting is a gear-intensive pursuit. Decoys, blinds, boats, motors, ATVs, trailers, calls, waders—the list goes on and on. If your schedule can only permit one or two waterfowl hunts per season, does it really make sense to acquire, maintain, and store all of this gear? For far less money, you can book a trip with a quality outfitter and enjoy using his/her top-quality, up to date equipment.
With each passing season, it becomes more difficult or expensive for individual hunters to access prime waterfowl hunting habitat. Quality outfitters and guides own or lease access to great hunting ground available exclusively to their clients, and they know the ins and outs of day leasing to keep their hunters in the hottest honey holes. Weekend warriors or even waterfowl hunters who make a weeklong expedition to new territory have to spend so much of their valuable hunting time just finding places to hunt. Spring geese are birds on the move. They often move back and forth based on the snow line, so the best outfitters stay mobile covering multiple states and “living” with the birds.
If you only make a few hunts a season, it’s difficult if not impossible to maintain keen waterfowling skills. Sure you can practice your calling in the car on the way to and from work, but you have to develop a thick skin about the looks from other drivers. And, of course, there are many more skills to acquire than just calling. Duck and goose guides hone these skills in the field every day of the season and then some. You can count on their sharp skills to boost your success during your precious hunting time.
When you’re on a guided waterfowl hunt, you can choose to participate in the hunt to whatever level satisfies you. I love the strategy and physical activity involved in setting decoys on frosty mornings whether in the field, in the marsh, on a river, or out in big water. So I get up each morning with the guides and join them to set the spread. Other hunters relish the sleep they get away from the responsibilities at home, so they sleep in and get to the field just in time to enjoy the shooting. Hunting with an outfitter allows these kinds of choices so that you can enjoy each hunt to its fullest.
And after years of “thrashing” for our ducks and geese, us older guys like to be pampered—at least once in awhile!
When field hunting from a layout blind, the neck of an “alert” goose decoy positioned near your blind is the perfect place to set up a ThermaCELL. Getting it up off the ground 18 to 24 inches is optimal for its performance! The dog’s not likely to knock it down when delivering birds to your blind, and in either olive drab or camo, it’s not going to spook any wary birds. No warm weather waterfowler should leave home without a ThermaCELL in his or her blind bag!
These insights brought to you by Federal Premium Ammunition, ThermaCELL, Camp Chef, and the Quebec Outfitters Federation.