Image Via: Wes David
Image Via: Wes David

Spring snow geese: A primer on scouting, set-ups and gear for these plentiful honkers

The snows of spring

They’re coming! Are you ready for some of the year’s biggest waterfowl hunts? Our spring snow goose primer is here to help

Credit: Wes David. With the right spread, you can quickly limit out at the height of the migration.
With the right spread, you can quickly limit out at the height of the migration. Photo: Wes David

SET-UP: Decoy spreads & laydown blinds

I never set up in a feeding field while geese are still in the area, and instead wait until they’re roosting. Or, I’ll wait until they continue along their migration route, and before another flight arrives. Otherwise, any geese in the vicinity will only move to a different location. And keep in mind that some neighbouring U.S. states also have a spring hunt, so many of the birds will already be gun shy.

It’s rare that snow geese will decoy into a small spread—the smallest set-up I’ve ever used included a mix of 600 full-bodied decoys and sock decoys. The reason: snow geese travel in large flocks, and they feel safe landing among large numbers of other grounded geese. That means hunters can expect to set up a mixed bag of 600 to 1,200 dekes to consistently lure in snows.

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One of the challenges when setting up this many decoys is that the ground is typically still frozen in early spring, and that can damage the metal peg legs on your sock decoys. You can remedy this by first boring a hole with a small steel rod. Along with preventing damage to the decoy legs, it will also save you set-up time—and sore hands.

Like any other waterfowl, snow geese prefer to land facing into the wind, so position your blinds according to wind direction, tight behind a large amount of decoys. And put the time and effort into blending your blinds among the decoys and into the surrounding area using natural vegetation. If the blinds don’t blend in, no amount of calling and decoys will bring in the geese.

I like to leave a large opening behind the blinds, with just a few scattered decoys, followed by the bulk of my decoys. To incoming geese, this looks like a large spread of birds, complete with an opening for them to land in. The set-up also directs the geese to fly directly over your blinds en route to the large opening.

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