A Note From Scott About Our History........
Providing Professional Midwestern Hunts since 1990
SPRING SNOW GEESE, WHAT A BLESSING…….Come on down and join us for the GOOD OLE DAYS, once again. That’s right, there back. Hundreds of thousands and at times a million or more migrating snow geese over head and we sit right in the middle of them on the edge of both the Mississippi and Central flyways on the banks of the Missouri River bottoms and breaks. Well I am guessing if you’ve visited this site you’ve probably visited others and all with promises of great yields of birds, just like the good ole days. And there is a lot of truth to that good ole day’s statement. The USF&W Service has basically opened up all opportunities of harvesting vast numbers of snows, blues and ross geese. No the good ole days of duck numbers haven’t returned; but for now, on the right days you can still have opportunities at world class waterfowling days with harvests reaching over a 100 in a single day and many days from 20-50 birds during the peak snow goose migration.
I have been a professional guide since 1990 and at that time to harvest a mature, fully plumed snow goose you needed to spend almost a solid week of guided hunting; because in the fall in states like Missouri, North Dakota, Arkansas, Texas, etc., the only birds that would decoy would be strictly juvenile (gray) geese. Unless the weather was exact, you weren’t going to decoy a fully plumed snow or blue goose for the wall; because they were at an approximate average age of 9 years old and were just too smart. Thankfully this has all changed. Not only are average harvest numbers up; but the state of Missouri recently had the highest yearly snow goose harvest of any state in the Union and many of these snow geese came from our 3 county area, not to mention nearly 80% of our birds harvested are fully matured, beautifully plumed snow, blue and ross geese. It’s nothing to get all 3 species in a day, not to mention a 3 day guided hunt and they make a awesome trophy for the wall, as well as good table fare and a blast to shoot. This is mostly thanks to the advent of the spring goose season and the use of electronic callers, unplugged guns, and expanded shooting hours.
But with all of these new rules came a price, yes harvest numbers sky rocketed in the beginning of this “new” season; but as time went on, the geese continued to adapt and become even smarter. And as the snow geese change, we change, our outfit changes and our equipment changes. Before I was a guide, in the late 70’s and early 80’s we once were able to kill snow geese by laying in a field with a white coat and hundreds of paper plates thrown all over the ground, no it didn’t work great; but they were never hunted it didn’t need to, you always had your fill of shooting, even if it was juvenile birds. Now to keep up with the birds we have changed to full body decoys, custom painted windsocks and floaters along with Final Approach concealment blinds and pits. Not to mention the high tech, cd and mp3 stereo’s, amplifiers and speakers, now all legal to help you harvest these birds. We have basically done everything possible except the use of live decoys, which as of this writing was still against the Migratory Bird Act; but the first day its legal you can bet your gun I will be raising snow geese in the back yard!
Anyway my point is this, you have contacted an old timer at the hand of killing geese, my most favorite of all things to do in the world, and you won’t be sorry. Our guided hunts start early in the morning, meeting with me and my guides, most all have been with me 5 years, many more over 10 years. The hunts last until late in the afternoon. It’s a good ole fashion wear you out kind of hunt, depending on the field your in and the guide and the schedule of the day depends on how long you’ll be hunting; but often its till dark, especially if we’re hunting any sort of water. If you do not stay with us at the lodge we usually suggest packing a lunch; because sometimes getting lunch can be a half hour drive or so and many times the guys want to sit in the field anyway. You’d be surprised how many times guys sitting in the field with a sandwich in their hand are found trying to get their gun and safety off why’ll a flock of birds works out of the ozone down to within spitting distance.
As much as we want you to relax and enjoy your time with us, with snow geese it’s extremely important to have time in the field, I have seen days when all we had were 10 or 12 geese by noon and by 5:00 p.m. we had another 20 or 30 in the bag. Or when you hit big days you’re often shooting every 15 or 20 minutes all day long. When this season first started without electronic callers killing 12 or 15 birds was a great day, once the electronic callers were introduced that raised the bar and made it possible to kill 40 and 50 birds in a day pretty regularly and with the new decoys, right day, right calls and right spot today you can kill over a 100 if your luck is really right.
Now that is not to say that we don’t have slow days; because of course we do, days when the same birds are in the area and all are decoy shy and there is no new weather patterns to move in new birds, and all we have are adult super smart birds, it can and does happen and those days can be a lot of watching geese at 70 or 80 yards and never getting any closer. Those days suck and I don’t know what to tell you other than its hunting and that’s the way it’s always going to be, I guess that is what makes us do it and appreciate it when it’s right. So to combat this problem we have pushed all of our spring snow goose hunts into what I figure is the only and most opportune time to hunt, it’s the PEAK OF THE MIGRATION for the snow geese in our area and that is the last week of February – the second week of March. That’s not to say we won’t hunt you earlier or later because we will and the hunting can be phenomenal; but we do those hunts on a “on call” basis, meaning you call us and we’ll tell you if it’s worth hunting depending on the migration and weather reports. To do it any other way didn’t work to well for us, we were constantly pushing hunters back and then trying to fit them into another date because of snow storms or heat waves. We just plain won’t hunt if we don’t think its going to happen for you as the hunter, we have better things to do with our time, as you do than get a sun tan or freeze or kahuna’s off for a little payback, it wouldn’t be a good investment. So if you’re a person that doesn’t want to end up having to hunt in northern North Dakota or Western Nebraska; when you planned on snow goose hunting Missouri, then whether you hunt with me or any other outfitter in this part of the world, I suggest you only book those dates.
Licensing: Your out of State License is going to be $40 dollars, if you are born after Jan. 1st, 1967 you will need a Hunter Safety Certificate to purchase a license; however, if you were born after that date, there is also an opportunity to purchase what they call an Apprentice License for 2 years, before they require a Hunters Safety Certificate to continue to hunt for the following years, and it is an additional $10. Call me with questions or Contact the State of Missouri Conservation.
Extremely reasonable, considering one dinner at McDonalds for my family is the same price!
Of course with this comes limited availability; but none the less, it also comes with what I would consider the best opportunity to kill a large amount of birds during your stay. I would also suggest a minimum of 3-4 days, this also increases your odds of getting that once in a lifetime Argentina type waterfowl hunt. I want you to hunt a minimum of 3 days, you don’t have to do so; but I think that it’s so worth your time that I reduce your hunt price, our hunts range from $175-$225 per day (Gratuities are not included in this price and as always are very appreciated, you’ll see, these guys will work their butts off for you!). Your out of state license is only $46, now where can you go and what can you do for this kind of price? I can tell you that I travel all over the country on hunting and fishing trips and no where is there this kind of deal and the reason for it is simply supply and demand and competition, otherwise this hunt I would normally charge $400 a day. It’s that kind of deal and hunt, it’s a place were you have an opportunity to kill 50 plus birds and more in a day and where your going to see almost every species of waterfowl, not to mention hundreds of thousands if not over a million waterfowl during your stay. It’s a great place to hunt with kids or wives; because their not restricted from talking or moving (except of course when the birds are working) and the weather at this time is not so ridiculously cold. Cabela’s and Great Wolf Lodge as well as Kansas City are all within an hour or so. Our lodge grounds has a liquor license as well as a convenience store and is within a 60 sec. driving distance to a little hole in the wall, not to mention there is a decent casino within 15 minutes and a pretty large casino within 25 minutes, plus several gentlemen's clubs within a half hour or so.
Bring coolers to take your game back or there is also a homeless shelter to donate your meat to in St. Joseph, Missouri. (At least this is what I was told by the Outdoor Life Network, LLC., when they came to shoot for one of their television shows. If you need information on this, please let me know I will see what I can dig up.) We also have a cleaning station at the guide's lodge to help you with getting your birds on ice or we can freeze any properly tagged birds for you to take home and mount or you can use our local taxidermist, who does a great job and I think charges less than $200. (But don’t quote me). BIRD CLEANING SERVICE AVAIALABLE- $5.00 PER BIRD. Anyone flying in can book their flights into Kansas City and rent a car and we are within an hour of the airport. If you do not want to bring shells with you, you can contact the Kansas City Cabela’s store (ASAP) and let them know that you want Federal Heavy Fast Steel loads in 2's, BB or BBB or Kent Fast Steel in the same size and they will put a box together for you and have it at the service counter ready to be picked up. I suggest having 5-6 boxes for a 3 day hunt and a box an a half for everyday after that. We also have shells available at the lodge.
The average shells used is probably a box and a half a day; but a really good day 3 won’t be enough. I hate to say how many you’ll need; but I would say that you should always have 3 boxes of shells with you each day you hunt, “just in case”.
Last year between all of the groups they averaged 28.93 birds each a day, most years it is in the mid twenty’s, and we had one great year in the high 30’s; but last year was certainly one of our best years since we have kept track over the last decade. We also did a count of how many “volley’s” we averaged to shoot at, per day. Now keep in mind that we shoot under 50 yards, unless your experienced at shooting farther, and all were working birds into the decoys, not pass shooting or jumping or any of that other crap, remember, this is not the number of average flocks seen over the decoys, that would be in the tens and hundreds of thousands, this is just average number of flocks, big and small that came into good gunning range each day, in each group, everyday…tada….ready 12.15, that means that on average the hunters are killing 2.33 per volley. This is important to keep in mind, decimals matter in this situation, we’re talking about averaging flocks of thousands to shoot at, along with flocks of 1, it really tells you something. We’re not very good shooters on a whole; but again, that’s what makes it so fun, your averages are there for success. Imagine what really good snow goose hunters could average, I’ll tell you, very easily twice that and sometimes 3 times that on average. They also have a tendency to shoot longer range, carry bigger guns and hunt a lot more than the average hunter; so its no wonder we hear about those hundred days. But the question is, can you do it, can you break the averages and hit the mystic hundred day.
Well I will tell you, if your luck is with you, you certainly can and on those days, it doesn’t matter how good of a shot you are, when its right, its right and its your turn. We had a group of guys prove that in 06’, half the group was in their 70’s plus years of age, not seeing real well, back aching from sitting on their butts and hauling around those big heavy 20 gauges. That’s right, 20 gauges, with modified chokes and 2 ¾ shells. They did this because of their age and the stress it puts on you shooting the big guns and loads, one of the guys in the group has hunted with us for years and he told them to bring the small guns because he knew how hard it could be on you, he had had a 87 day, 113 day and now a 108 day, but that day there was 3 20 gauges in the group, in front of 70 plus year old eyes shooting the birds at 15 yards all day long. Now mind you, had there been a group of serious, big gun toting, high shooting snow goose hunters in that group, they could have easily shot twice that; but at that point, who the heck cares!! Needless to say, the guys went home early the next morning, they had had enough! We like to believe that in a 3-4 day hunts you should be able to get a day above the average, one at the average and one below the average and most 3-4 day hunts will find this to be the case.
We have actually had guys come in and in 3 days kill between 200 and 300; but that is an extreme case with excellent shooters. It often can be feast or famine and there is often no rhyme or reason to why somebody shot 60 one day and somebody else killed 12; but I will tell you that our regular clients that shoot the right guns with the right ammo and can shoot well will often average much, much higher than twenty something a day, simply because they are willing to shoot at geese that are higher and not decoying well and they do a good job at bringing them down, as well as keeping their head down and staying quiet and still when the birds are working, this matters as much or more than anything! We do not like to call shots over 50 yards, 50% of your shots will be less than 50 yards and the other 50% of those will be less than 35 yards. Because of the way, how and where we hunt we often are able to get birds closer than most all other outfitters. We like to shoot them close, that does not mean that if that particular day the closest they are going to get is 40 yards that we won’t shoot at them, it just means that we will call the shot at the last possible moment of truth, just prior to them deciding that they are going to leave.
When all else fails; for you long distance shooters bring the patternmaster and extended tubes. There will be plenty of opportunites. In other words on no wind days, the guys shooting special choke tubes will have additional opportunities at long distance birds that can be taken at longer distances consistantly for experienced hunters. All of our spring snow goose hunting guides have the ability to know when this perfect time is, I once read in a old timers book from the market hunting days, it was called, OUT-LAW GUNNERS, “the two biggest factors in killing the most birds, you first need to be in the right spot and the second is, you need to know when to shoot!” My guys know when to shoot and if they will get closer or if they won’t, from there it’s up to you!
|If you want to have a great time and have the waterfowl experience of a lifetime (99% of the time!) you really should book a hunt with us during these peak opportune weeks for the spring snow goose. If youre interested e-mail me at email@example.com or give me a call at 269.760.6219 year round for availability.|
God Bless and Good Hunting,