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Shot Size, Shells, and Choke: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Gear for Hunting Snow Geese

Hunting snow geese is a thrilling and challenging feat. To be successful, it is important to select the right gear for the job. From shot size to shells and choke tubes, many factors should be taken into consideration when choosing the ideal setup for hunting snow geese. In this guide, we provide an overview of these elements, as well as helpful recommendations to keep in mind when selecting the best gear for a successful hunt.

Shot Size for Geese

When it comes to hunting snow geese, the size of your shot is just as important as the selection of other gear. The right shot size will ensure that you have an effective and powerful load that can take down your target. When choosing the right shot size for snow geese, consider the species of geese you are hunting, as well as their size and distance from you. Generally speaking, larger shot sizes such as BB or T are ideal for longer-range targets while smaller shot sizes like 7 1/2 or 8 are better suited for closer ranges. For snow geese specifically, we recommend using 2s or 4s to ensure an effective takedown.

Snow Goose Shells

The type of shells you select also plays a critical role in the success of your hunt. Snow goose shells come in a variety of shapes and styles to fit different needs and preferences. Heavier-weighted “magnums” offer more knockdown power while lighter loads provide a smaller pattern spread. The type of shells you choose should also take into account the range of the targets, as well as any existing regulations in your area. For snow geese, we recommend using heavier magnums with a higher velocity to ensure an effective takedown.

Best Goose Loads

Once you’ve decided on the shot size and shell type, it’s time to select the right load for your hunt. Goose loads come in a variety of sizes and velocities to suit different needs and objectives. When selecting goose loads for snow geese, consider the distance of your target, as well as any existing regulations in your area. Generally speaking, high-velocity 1 oz or 1 1/8 oz loads are ideal for longer-range shots while 1/2 oz loads are better suited for closer distances.

Best Choke for Snow Geese

The right choke tube is essential for effective and accurate shots. Different chokes provide different constrictions to the shot pattern, resulting in different ranges and accuracy levels. When selecting a choke tube for snow geese, consider the distance of your targets and the type of shells you are using. For closer-range shots, we recommend using an improved cylinder or modified choke while tighter constrictions like full or extra-full are better suited for longer distances.

Selecting the Right Shotgun for Snow Goose Hunting

In addition to shot size, shells, and choke tubes, it is also important to choose a reliable shotgun that is well-suited for snow goose hunting. Consider the weight of your gun as well as its action style; semi-automatic, pump-action, or break action. Semi-automatics are the most popular choice for snow geese due to their higher rates of fire and quicker reloading time. However, pump actions and break actions can also be used effectively depending on your hunting goals.

The Importance of Pattern Testing

Once you’ve selected your gear, it is important to conduct pattern testing to ensure that your shotgun setup is performing optimally prior to heading out into the field. Pattern testing involves shooting shells through your gun at a target to measure the spread of pellets and determine whether you are achieving maximum accuracy. This will help you make adjustments as needed so that you have the best possible performance when hunting snow geese.

5 Tips for Shooting Snow Geese

Here are five more tips for taking down your first snow goose:

Use Camouflage

Snow geese have excellent eyesight and can spot predators from a distance. If you want to get close to them for photography purposes, consider using camouflage clothing or blinds to blend in with your surroundings. However, make sure to use a fluorescent orange vest when hunting so other hunters can find you.

Be Patient

Snow geese can be skittish, especially if they sense danger. Wait for them to settle down before shooting them.

Choose the Right Shells and Loads

As we discussed earlier, it is important to choose the right shells, loads, and chokes for snow geese. Do your research before heading out into the field.

Practice Shooting from Different Positions

Snow geese can present difficult shots from any angle, so practice shooting from various positions beforehand. This will help you become comfortable in multiple scenarios.

Stay Safe

Lastly, always remember to follow all safety procedures when handling firearms. Keep safety at the forefront of your mind at all times. Partnering with an experienced snow goose-hunting guide to help you adhere to safety regulations while maximizing your success is always a good idea.

Essential Gear for Snow Goose Hunting

Here is the essential gear checklist that every snow goose hunter should own:

  • Map and hunting license

  • Hand-held GPS or cell phone with GPS

  • Range finder

  • Binoculars

  • Compass

  • Trail markers and flagging tape

  • Multi-compartment backpack

  • Packable rain suit

  • Emergency poncho

  • Space blanket

  • Packable sleeping bag

  • Water

  • Favorite snacks

  • Extra ammo

  • Knife with gut hook

  • Pair of pruning shears and folding saw

  • Field book with pencils

  • Earplugs

  • Flashlight with extra batteries

  • Waterproof matches

  • First-aid kit

  • Portable charger

  • A large piece of webbing, maybe 25 feet

Understanding Snow Goose Behavior

Snow geese are migratory water birds that travel in large flocks, typically consisting of hundreds or even thousands of individuals. Their behavior is driven by factors such as the weather, food availability, and predation pressure.

Snow geese typically feed early in the morning and again late in the afternoon. They can be found in open fields, marshes, pastures, and agricultural areas. Snow geese are highly observant and wary of predators, so it is important to stay out of sight and downwind as much as possible.

They also migrate according to the snowline - which is a demarcation between the areas covered in snow and those that are not. Snow geese will move north as snow cover recedes and they can find more open fields in which to feed. Utilizing this knowledge can help you predict where they will be and time your hunt accordingly.


Snow goose hunting can be a rewarding and exciting experience. With the right knowledge, gear, and techniques, you will have everything you need to maximize your success while still staying safe. Remember that pattern testing is an important step in ensuring optimal performance when shooting snow geese. Also, take into consideration their migratory patterns and behavior so that you know where they are likely to be at different times of the year. Lastly, always practice gun safety protocols before heading out into the field! With these tips in mind, we wish you luck on your next snow goose hunt.

If you need help when it comes to snow goose hunting, consider partnering with us at Thunderbird Outfitters. Our experienced guides and all-inclusive packages will give you the best chance at a successful hunt! Contact us today for more details about our services.

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