The USFWS has released its forecast on the fall 2012/spring 2013 snow goose flight. The hatch is one of mixed success. Overall snow goose numbers are still a lot higher than biologists would like them to be.
The Mid-Continent Population (MCP) had a below average hatch. There was wide spread flooding over much of the nesting grounds. Overall they are estimating a low number of young birds in the MCP flock this year. These are the majority of the birds we hunt during the spring season.
The Western Central Population (WCFP): This population is expecting to have an above average hatch. This is a turn around after several consecutive years of below average production. Most of these birds migrate farther west than we hunt but they do mix in with the flocks of the MCP birds. We have harvested a number of banded birds from these colonies in both Missouri and South Dakota over the years.
Ross Geese: Biologists expect Ross’s goose production to be above average. Like the WCFP this is a turn around after several consecutive years of below-average production. We shoot a lot of Ross geese in Missouri and especially South Dakota. They decoy very readily and there should be a lot of them this year.
I expect to see average hunting for the 2013 spring snow goose hunts. There are millions of snow geese to hunt. The only years we have seen below normal hunting is when we had weather that is colder than normal. Weather has always been the biggest factor in the success of spring snow goose hunting.