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Too Many Snows?

Discussion in 'Snow Goose Hunting Forum' started by CSUguy, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. CSUguy

    CSUguy Senior Refuge Member

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    Sep 21, 2003
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    I've been hunting across Saskatchewan and a bit in East Alberta for a week every fall since 2006. We've hunted snows every year while we're up there. We've hunted small flocks of 500 snows in rolling hill and surrounding forest terrain. We've also hunted recently in very flat terrain with effectively no trees. The fields we hunt in the flat terrain areas typically have 20,000 to 50,000 snows. The limit fields we've had are typically more rolling hill terrain with 2,000 to 10,000 snows fielding in it. We've also done well in areas that have more trees. My thesis is the flat terrain with no trees have been tougher for us because as soon as a flock lands within 4 miles of you they will pull all flocks in the area to that field. There are too many snows and they are too easily seen from long distances. The areas with lower long distance visibility and fewer birds seem to be the most productive. Has anyone else had similar experiences in the fall in SK? What's been your ideal terrain / field surroundings, number of birds in the field, etc? No specific areas please, just general info. We're going to test this out by hunting two very different areas in early October this season. Any insights or opinions are appreciated!
     
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  2. 870

    870 Senior Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Waterfowl Heaven Alberta Canada
    Good points,,,

    We like to hunt areas with multiple feeds going on as opposed to one big massive feed, simply because as you have mentioned we find it difficult to compete with the mob. Ideally we look for a 'primary' shoot of 10 - 20 K birds with several (say 2-5) secondary (2 - 10K shoots) within a 2 - 3 mile radius,,, all the better if they come from multiple roosts.

    The theory is that there is no way we can make a spread large enough to compete with one big massive feed. Huge feeds tend to feed out fields quickly and tend to move around trying to find enough eats for the mob. If they are accustomed to feeding in one big mass then it stands to reason everything will follow the mass.

    If the birds are used to seeing several feeds smaller feeds in the vicinity then they will be more likely to check out some of these feeds when they do their inevitable field hopping, The smaller feeds do not eat out the field as quickly and can be more loyal to the field as well.

    Your observations about terrain possibly being the difference maker are interesting and I can see where that can play a part. I am not so sure about long distance visibility being the main factor as I suspect that at the height the birds typically fly they would still be able to see everything for miles around. However with rolling terrain, the fields tend to be smaller perhaps encouraging smaller feeds,,, and it is common to find several smaller waterbodies hosting smaller roosts in this kind of terrain as opposed to the large massive roosts in the larger bodies of water commonly found in flatter ground.
     
  3. KID CREOLE

    KID CREOLE Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    San Pedro, Ca.
    Be it Canada or California we see snows getting up high, go on a cruise and look for a feed and they go in. It used to be that if you saw birds go into a field for a few days we would set up in it on the 3rd or 4th day, not any more, rarely do we see this happen, we get in that field ASAP

    We also have no problem setting up in a field that is in the line of traffic regardless if birds are using the field.

    A few years ago a large roost of birds kept going into a field that could not be hunted due to it being narrow and close to a highway, not sure there was much feed left in it, so we set up down wind of the field the birds would go in and after an hour or so they would start hopping around. We would get up, scream on the hand calls they come across the field 10 yds high bank right into the hole, lot of birds died over that spread
     
  4. Juvie Juke Box

    Juvie Juke Box Senior Refuge Member Sponsor

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    Feb 1, 2017
    It's hard to compete with live birds no matter what but being in an area with multiple feeds and not necessarily hunting the biggest but the best located can pay off but have been burned by sheer numbers plenty of times in the Fall, and if there is that many birds around in the Spring where you're hunting a good percent of them are going to be adults. We've also done good multiple times hunting off to the side of an established feed that's been there for a few days, with the right wind. Wind is the most important aspect when hunting snows, just as important as location. Typically birds, mainly juvies, heading to the big feed will peel off and check you out. Best case scenario in SK or in the Spring is hunting a feed where the birds are coming off in relatively smaller numbers that get shot and then go back to the roost to pout vs heading to a new field near you. Last time we were in SK we either were done shooting our birds 20-30 minutes after LST or they'd start up a feed and then it'd take quite a few hours to peel birds off.

    As far as the terrain goes, it could play a role but like said above snows are typically coming off the roost so high that they can probably see over a lot of rolling hills and tree's to figure out where they want to go. However, using a hill and the wind to your advantage when having to hunt closer to the roost than you'd like certainly helps muffle your guns alot.
     
  5. CSUguy

    CSUguy Senior Refuge Member

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    Sep 21, 2003
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    In my modestly limited experience, wind has been a major bonus for hunts. If we get a good breeze it helps tremendously. But more often than not we are under light wind conditions. Taking the variable of wind out of the equation I've found smaller feeds in rolling hills to be ideal. And more heavily forested areas seem to produce the largest birds seen to birds harvested ratio. Pea fields and durum fields have been the best feeds. And swathed or roll bale fields have been higher yielding than straight combined or fully harvested fields. If you want to chat specific areas PM me. But I'm really looking for general observations that can make us all more effective this fall.
     
  6. CSUguy

    CSUguy Senior Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    When we've hunted fields surrounded by trees we don't see the birds until they're just over the trees, therefore they aren't seeing us until they're within ~2 miles or less. It's got to have an effect. In flat areas with hundreds of thousands of snows, we can see snows heading our way (or more often to another field) from over 10+ miles away. They suck all birds right to them.
     
  7. duck central

    duck central Senior Refuge Member

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    Location:
    South Dakota
    This post is by far one of the BEST posts I've seen on here. I have to agree with all of you on the observations that you have. I used to let a field grow and leave them for a few days , Now I get in as fast as I can. I've also gone from huge spreads to 400-600 ( I normally hunt myself or at the most 3 guys) I've gone from huge fields to compact fields with better hides. I've gone back to wearing whites or hiding down wind of the main spread. I've also noticed that a lot of the flocks in the fall that work the decoys seem to be more shootable on the down wind side because just before they get to the main area in the decoys they pick up or bank to one side. I know this is more like pass shooting but most of the shots are under 30 yards and I can pick out mature birds.
     
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  8. Den and Jack

    Den and Jack Senior Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Wind generally removes the vertical aspect of a live field. In light winds over large feeds there are generally hundreds of birds in the air funneling into the field at any given moment during peak feeding times. Our spreads even with some fliers 10-20 ft off the ground simply don't look like a live feed in low wind. Now in higher winds the geese do get to the ground quicker and the vertical aspect of a live feed is much reduced. Now our spreads look much more like a live feed. The decoys also move more in the wind. Hunting wide open fields last fall it was tough except for the day we had good wind. Thinking of some of the above tactics for low wind days next fall.

    As was stated several fields and multiple roosts are typically better situations. Found area this spring with little hunting pressure and the birds were spread into multiple feeds. A little bit of wind and we were pounding them.
     
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  9. Traxion

    Traxion Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    South Dakota
    I can't comment on the terrain as the area I hunt is completely flat for the most part. Birds can get up and see for a long ways. I usually got sucked into hunting a big feed or one of the other nice feeds adjacent to the mega feed. Sometimes good results, sometimes expectations were not met. We also had a few nice traffic hunts off the roost with lots of juvies. But then there were a few years of tough hunting with lots of adults. The light bulb came on after about the third night of scouting. Off in the distance, quite aways from the main feed, was a little 10k feed I'd seen each night but didn't pay much attention to. It was the farthest feed I could find and was in a good field. We had a great hunt and that is when I started looking for those fringe feeds. Farther away the better but good numbers seemed to lead to good hunts. I've taken that to dark goose hunting around home too, missing some traffic birds is usually a good thing I've found. End of the line means they're ready to eat!
     
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  10. 870

    870 Senior Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Waterfowl Heaven Alberta Canada
    We have made this observation as well and typically sit in down wind third of the spread,,, sometimes at the extreme down wind edge (maybe even ahead of it) if the wind is strong enough to allow the birds hang just short as they study everything on the ground.
     

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