Recollections of a Snow Goose Hunter
I have been chasing snows for a long, long time. When the season opened in New Jersey way back in the mid 1970’s I was a young man attending college in the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey. I know, I know, New Jersey isn’t a hunting hotspot. Well south Jersey is! It is a well kept secret that few know of and the snow goose hunting can be unbelievable! In 1976 an acquaintance from order cialis generic my hometown who was a year younger than I was also attending the same college and we met one fateful day in the hallways. The first thing I remember him saying to me as he greeted me was “ Are you still hunting?” Of course the answer was yes and a long friendship was formed that day. Chickie had another friend who was pass shooting snows and as I was working at a large restaurant, I procured some white linen napkins and thus our first spread was born. It was effective enough to draw flocks to us and although the birds didn’t commit we had some good action that first fall. The birds were drawn to our area due to a wildlife refuge which had fresh water impoundments. The flocks by this time were increasing in numbers and the following year we expanded our range and found the http://cialispharmacy-online.org/ geese in the meadows feeding. As no commercial gear was available for the new speices, we bought Canadian Geese shell decoys and sprayed them flat white. Being young broke college students we had less than a dozen decoys, yet that spread ignited the love affair with snow goose hunting for the rest of our lives. With those humble beginnings we saw action that was unsurpassed in that era. The Canadian Goose numbers were declining, as were the ducks and brant that we targeted.
The Atlantic flyway population of snow geese had increased from approxiamately 50,000 birds in the mid 1960’s to an estimated one million birds today. The snows were basically untouched and we took full advantage of the situation. During those years the population kept increasing and we chased them. In the 1980’s the local refuge began having problems with huge areas of meadows being “eaten out” by the snows and the word spread. An entry in my journal from Nov 11th, 1987 tells of a typical day afield. “When we first started gunning a flock of 5 or 6 black ducks flew right over and Dad or I dropped one. I went back for the boat as the tide rose. When I was bringing it around the creek, they shot at a flock (of snows) and dropped three. Bob claimed all three (I don’t doubt it either). We had a lot of shooting for the next two hours as wave after wave of snows passed over. One flock set into the stools, the rest was pass shooting. All told we came in with ten snows and one black duck.” As the years went by the pressure increased as others took advantage of the resourse. The hunting became much more difficult, and then someone invented windsocks. One day we were set up and another group came and set a rig of socks 500 yards away from us. The snows were flying fairly well that morning and they did not hesitate to head straight for those windsocks. The motion those socks gave off fooled those birds 100 percent. Of course we ordered dozens of socks and for a year or
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two they worked, but eventually those darned birds figured us out and the next generation of snow geese were educated. The birds of today have been educated since the mid 1980’s with the big rigs of windsocks and kites and men hiding in white suits among the decoy spread. Adults have passed on their experiences to the future generations. They have seen it all yet they still get fooled by us on occasion and that is what keeps us all going afield. I yearn for those early days again, and every once in a while I experience the same “in your face, locked wings and feet down” shooting we experienced 30 years ago. Although I have never killed 100 geese in a day, I have also not had to put out more than 150 decoys! I am now in my 50’s and don’t care to spend 2-3 hours setting decoys and another 2-3 hrs picking up. That is what youth is for. These guides earn their money setting
spreads of 1500+ decoys. I
know that snow goose hunting is one of the hardest types of waterfowling and the experience of seeing a flock of pure white geese
dropping in on your decoy spread cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the fowling community. It is something well worth experiencing. I highly recommend it!