The number of snow goose guides has exploded in the last decade about as fast as the snow goose population itself. The new outfitters are trying to find their niche while the established snow goose guides try to stay on the top. At times this will lead to a lot of hype, some of its warranted and some isn’t. One of the most debated topics is the most effective way to set up to hunt spring snow geese. Let’s explore what I consider the two most common techniques outfitters use to hunt over snow geese decoys.
Feed field hunts: Feed fields are effective. This style has been made popular in recent years by the marketing machine of a decoy company. Many of those new to snow goose hunting and some experienced hunters wanted to believe that there’s a magic pill when hunting snow geese. There is not. If a feed field hunt is done right, it is a very expensive way to run hunts. You have to have a lot of guys burning up miles of road and gallons of gas. We offered a feed field hunt as an option during the 2011 spring snow goose season. After running the calculations we needed a minimum of $400/day to make it cost effective. This is more than double the price of our standard hunts and with little interest in them we are not offering them in 2012. This told me two things. First we have a large number of repeat clients that are very satisfied with the success of our standard hunts. Second there is a small percentage of hunters that are willing to pay that much to hunt spring snow geese. Feed field hunting is most effective when there are small numbers of snow geese in an area. When you are hunting during the peak of the spring snow goose migration, you are best served being in a good location with a massive spread. Migration days are always going to be the largest days. They happen on a regular basis so you’ll want to be in the field not moving decoys or looking for the next X.
Semi-Permanent Sets: This is what I call our snow goose hunting style. It is one of the more effective and practical ways to hunt the peak of the snow goose migration. We move when necessary based on the harvest, weather, and migration. Some of our fields are only hunted a day or two while others get hunted every day with outstanding success. There are times during the spring snow goose migration when we see very few staged birds but massive number of migrating flocks. Even though I can’t find a flock on the ground we are still harvesting large numbers from the migrating flocks of snow geese. Most of the established snow goose guide services, the ones you hear about most often, hunt using this method or some version of it. We run our hunts this way because it is a very effective way to hunt the spring snow goose migration. The cream always rises to the top. If there was a more successful method the better snow goose guide services would gravitate toward it.