Spring Snow Goose Guide in Missouri
Our spring snow goose hunts take place near major staging areas and migration corridors in Missouri and Arkansas. Several hundred thousand birds are common and, given the right conditions, peak counts can exceed a million snows. These staged birds, combined with untold numbers of migrating flocks, provide great decoying action. Peak hunting occurs late January through early April during the Conservation Order which is commonly referred to as the Spring Snow Goose Season. This special season has liberal laws allowing the use of electronic callers, unplugged guns, and no bag limits.
Squaw Creek Refuge – One of the best staging areas in the spring
Our Arkansas hunts start at the end of January right after the regular duck/goose season closes. The spring of 2013 was our first year in this area. We saw high averages, low hunting pressure, and good numbers of migrating geese. We are looking forward to another solid year of hunting in 2014.
Missouri usually leads the nation in total spring snow goose harvest. In late February we move from Arkansas to NW Missouri. This area is without a doubt one of the most consistent and productive regions in Missouri. Most of our Missouri hunts take place in this corner of the state.
The hunts take place on private leases over large spreads of Deadly® Decoys full bodied windsocks. My wife Denise and I own Deadly® Decoys, Inc. and together we design, manufacture, and sell them. (Check out our Snow Goose Decoys). They are a high end windsock decoy that has an internal BackBone™ support that gives them a full body appearance, striking feather detail, and unrivaled realistic movement. The blinds we use are lay down blinds. These blinds provide excellent concealment, comfort, and mobility. Our electronic callers are capable of producing sound quality of the utmost clarity without background noises or distortions. A large spread of realistic decoys, movement, and sounds are the keys to successfully decoying snow geese. We have put a major emphasis on refining these areas over the years. Additionally, we have several subtle tactics that we use to set us apart from the crowd. These little things are what make our hunts more consistent and successful than the competition.
We take pride in being able to successfully decoy these wary birds. Our snow goose hunts are run during the most productive parts of the spring snow goose season but weather can play a significant role in our success. When weather issues develop we rely on our years of snow goose hunting experience and the weather forecast to try to predict how conditions will affect the geese in our area. Our policy is we hunt when there are birds in the area under all weather conditions unless they become hazardous. Occasionally we postpone hunts. If a hunt is postponed it can be rescheduled in the remainder of the current or a future season as the schedule allows. We do not refund money. When you booked the hunt you intended to go on and we intended to take you on a snow goose hunt. Nothing has change but the date of the hunt.
Most of our hunting is done over semi-permanent sets. This means we hunt the same fields often, moving when necessary based on the harvest, migration, and weather. We hunt near very large concentrations of staged and migrating flocks, decoying them as they fly over our spreads. Throughout the past 13 spring seasons this has proven to be a very successful strategy. Our measure of this success is not only the nearly 50,000 snow geese we have harvested but also the high percentage of repeat clientele.
Our 2012 spring season was our best since 2007. Total harvest was 5516 snows with four neck collars (Yellow, Red, Blue, & White), 15 leg bands, and one double leg banded bird with a $100 reward band. We also shot two rare blue phase Ross geese.
Kansas Recap: All of our KS hunts were moved to NW Missouri due to the warm spring weather. The move worked very well for these hunters as the early hunting in Missouri was excellent.
Missouri Recap: I may sound like a broken record but for the third year in a row we had good hunting in Feb when we had few hunters. This year mid-Feb was exceptional! The first week we had 5 fields that broke or approached the 100 bird mark. The unseasonably warm weather had everybody worried and in the end it did affect the later hunts when the refuge count nose-dived from 300,000 birds to only a few thousand in just a couple days. Overall this year was a record harvest for us in MO.
South Dakota Recap: South Dakota had uncharacteristically slow hunting in 2012. With the record warm temps the birds just didn’t seem like they wanted to stop. The few that did stage were uncooperative. We ran hunts for only a week before deciding that our best option was to postpone hunts until next year when bird numbers will be normal and the hunting will likely be better.
Guides Hunt Recap: I still had a weeks vacation that couldn’t be changed so we drove several hours north. North Dakota requires guides to be licensed. We are not licensed to guide in North Dakota. It has been several years since we (guides) have been able hunt together for more than a day. We had a lot of fun hunting for five days with the last day being our best. It was an incredible day with 263 snows harvested.
Over the past 13 years our annual harvests have been 5835 (2013), 5516 (2012), 5366 (2011), 1890 (2010), 5471 (2009), 3850 (2008), 5653 (2007), 4442 (2006), 3653 (2005), 3583 (2004), 1266 (2003), 1049 (2002), and 469 (2001). That is 48,043 snow geese harvested.
If you would like video proof of the quality of our guided hunts you can purchase “Snow Flurries 2”. It was filmed during the 2009 spring season with several of our clients featured as shooters. It is exactly what you will experience on a good day hunting with us. You can purchase the video by calling 563-382-0530.
There has been a lot of hype created around the spring snow goose season. Some of its warranted. Some of its overblown marketing. As you can see from the pictures we have many truly amazing days in the field each year. These are above average days and show the potential. It takes the right conditions and a little luck to have those 60, 80, or 100 plus bird days. Hunters should come expecting to harvest between 15-35 birds/field/day with a potential for much larger days. These are decoying birds with most shots being called in the 25-50 yard range. In reality, snow geese are the toughest of all waterfowl to decoy. The enactment of the spring season and its liberal laws are testament to this fact. We are highly successful but we don’t guarantee birds. Slow days or even a rare zero are a part of hunting.
Rates & Discounts:
We recommend hunting a minimum of 3 days. Our Standard packages are a 3 day (Fri-Sun) or 4 day (Mon-Thur) hunt. We prefer booking the hunts as listed. We also realize that it’s not going to work for everyone. If you require something outside this structure call me. Normally I can make something work for both of us.
3-Day Hunt: $525.00/ hunter
4-Day Hunt: $650.00 / hunter
Full Day Hunt (1 or 2 days): $200.00 / hunter
Youth rates: 3 day hunt: $450; 4 day hunt: $600; Full day: $150.
- Youth are those 12 to 17 years old and must be accompanied by an adult. Those under 12 are allowed as non-hunters at no charge provided you have your own field and the number of hunters & non hunters doesn’t exceed 8.
- The 3 & 4 day hunts are full days that run until sunset except the last day which is a half day that lasts until noon.
- Prices are per hunter and don’t include lodging, license, or gratuity.
- Party size of 6 hunters guarantees your own field. Groups of less than 6 hunters can reserve their own field for an additional fee. Otherwise groups of less than 6 hunters will be combined with other smaller sized groups to reach 6-8 hunters per field. No dogs are allowed on combined group hunts. If you have your own field, well mannered dogs are allowed.
One person in your party needs to be the contact person. I will need this person’s contact information. They will be the one sending me payment, receiving the confirmation letter, and any other communications concerning the hunt.
A deposit of 50% is due within 14 days of booking your hunt. Full payment is due by January 15th. Those booking after January 15th are required to make full payment. Payment can be made with check, money order, or credit card (Visa/MC/Discover).
All monies paid are non-refundable. If you can’t make the trip it is acceptable to find a replacement as long as the party size doesn’t change. If you can’t make the hunt and can’t find a replacement you forfeit your deposit. If full payment has been made then the 2nd half of payment will remain as a credit for a future hunt. If we have to postpone the hunt it can be rescheduled in the current or future season as the schedule allows. When we postpone a hunt, it is with your best interest at heart. This payment policy is fair. Most of your payment is used to pay expenses incurred in preparing for your hunt months before it takes place. By sending payment you are agreeing to these terms.
Snow Goose Hunt Lodging:
- Missouri & Arkansas Snow Goose Hunts: Lodging is at the local motels. I will provide you with the local motel numbers once you book the hunt. It is your responsibility to call and make those reservations.
License & Dates:
- Missouri Spring Snow Goose Hunts: February 18 – March 20: There is no daily or possession limit. Unplugged guns and electronic callers are legal. License: Conservation Order Permit ($40 non-residents/$5 residents) & Hunter Safety Certificate for those born on/after 1-1-1967. If you have not completed a hunter’s safety course but are required to have it you can still hunt by purchasing a Apprentice Hunter Authorization ($10). This Authorization waives the hunter’s safety requirement for a year.
Every day in the field is a chance at a band or a neck collar
Have a chance to see A LOT of geese!
Use large, realistic decoy spreads
Bird cleaning is done by your guide with assistance of the hunting party at the end of the days hunt. By law a wing needs to be attached to the meat for identification purposes. We use the “Wild Wing Slinger”. We will also dispose of the cleaned carcasses for you. Storage of the cleaned birds is the hunter’s responsibility with most using large coolers packed in ice.
Follow Our Season:
What You Need To Bring:
We provide all of the blinds, decoys, electronic callers, and any other equipment required in the field. While we appreciate the offers to bring your own equipment we prefer to use ours as it is proven, effective, and familiar to us.
- Non-toxic shotgun shells. Most shoot 12 gauge, 3 or 3½ inch, steel shot size 2’s to BB’s.
- Camo clothing and face mask for warm and cold weather. Waterproof (Gortex) is preferred. Bring plenty of clothes and dress in layers. You can always take some of them off if you get too warm. If you stay warm and dry you will want to stay in the field longer and be more successful.
- Food or drink (non-alcoholic) you may need while in the field.
- Camera to capture the hunt on film.
- Rubber boots or field boots are all that is needed most of the time. Most years waders (neoprene) are not needed however if conditions become muddy waders will make hunting more enjoyable. We normally post on our reports page if waders are a good idea.
- Hunters are required to help with the decoy spreads as necessary.