The 2018 spring snow goose season was an exceptional one. It was one of the best spring snow goose seasons we have seen since we began in 2001. What made it so good was the snow geese had an exceptional hatch, but just as important, the weather was good. It was never too cold or too warm, which made for a consistent migration and hunting success.
Our total harvest was 6,425 snow geese. Of these birds 5 wore leg banded. Here are the bird’s ages: 2017 (too young to fly), 2010 (two, 8+ years old), 2009 (9+ years old), 2000 (18+ years old). The + mean the snow goose was banded as an adult. When they are banded as adults we don’t know the exact year they were hatched, it could be a 2-year-old bird, or it could be a 10-year-old bird. All we know is they are older than the year the band was added to their leg.
Arkansas was wet. Fortunately, most of the fields are leveled for growing rice so by designed they drain well. The mud in the rice fields is not bad to walk in because there is a hardpan under the mud. It wasn’t until we had multiple rain storms of several inches each that we started to have problems getting to our decoy spreads. In Arkansas, we saw above average hunting much of the spring. As with any hunting season, there were better and slower timeframes. However, you will never hear us complain about a year where the Arkansas average was 29.8 snow geese per field per day. High field shot 222 snow geese, and our low field got a 0.
This year, in addition to Arkansas, we went back to where snow goose hunting started for us – Iowa. This is where Tracy shot his first snow goose in 1983. He also hunted his first Conservation Order Season in 2000 around this area of Iowa. Just like Arkansas, hunting in Iowa was good. There were plenty of birds migrating, and the weather was typical of March. Our high field shot 126 snow geese in a day and low field shot a 0. The overall average was 25.5 snows per field per day which is good.
For 2019 we will again be hunting both Arkansas and Iowa. Arkansas has had solid hunting success over the years for us. Although Iowa was a new stop this past spring, we have a hunting history dating back to 1983 so it is more like returning home rather than a new destination.