If you’re thinking of taking up snow goose hunting, it pays to be prepared, and that means having the right gear. Having the right gear on hand can protect you, help you bag more birds, and make your hunting trip more enjoyable.
Whether you're a complete newbie or a seasoned hunter, during light goose season you need the proper equipment and clothing. From decoys to calls, camouflage clothing to boots, a comprehensive guide can help ensure that you have all the essentials for a successful hunt.
Snow Goose Hunting Gear
Let's look at some of the most important gear.
Most snow goose hunters know that snow geese are intelligent creatures and wary birds. That's why decoys are an essential part of a snow goose hunt. Decoys are life-sized replicas of snow geese designed to lure birds into the hunting area.
Types of decoys include floater and shell decoys. Floater decoys are lightweight decoys and move with the wind so they can attract geese from far away, perfect if you are hunting in an open area.
On the other hand, shell decoys are heavier, however, a shell decoy can stay still even in high winds, making them the better option for hunting in tight spaces.
Calls can help lure these light geese in closer as the sound emitted mimics the call of a snow goose. FoxPro's e-caller system is one of the most popular electronic callers, and you can use it to play up 37 different sounds for different hunting conditions or prey. Also, you have the option to add your own sounds via a USB.
When hunting snow geese, you need to blend into the environment and avoid being noticed. That's why camouflage clothing is an essential part of a snow goose hunter's gear.
The best clothing for snow geese hunting is a combination of light and dark colors, with other hunters preferring to use snow camo or white patterns. Natural colors such as greens, browns and tans are also ideal for hunting in a marshy area. Also, make sure to wear brightly-colored fluorescent orange clothing while hunting to keep yourself safe, as it is a legal requirement when hunting in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Boots and Waders
Wearing the right boots is crucial for a successful snow goose hunt, as you may need to navigate through marshy terrain or cold, wet snow.
The two main types of boots for hunting are waterproof boots and insulated boots. Rubber boots are the most popular option as they keep your feet dry and warm. Insulated boots provide warmth and protection while walking through water or snow.
Waders are another important piece of gear for a snow goose hunt, as they enable you to walk through water and marshes without getting wet. Make sure to choose waders that are breathable with good insulation, as well as ones that offer good mobility and durability.
Snow Goose Gun
A snow goose gun is one of the most important pieces of gear you need for a successful hunt.
Types of Guns
Semi-Automatic: Semi-automatics are the most popular type of gun used for snow goose hunting as they provide fast follow-up shots and have less recoil than pump-action or bolt-action guns.
Pump-Action: Pump-action guns are great for hunting in tight spaces as they have short barrels and are relatively lightweight.
Bolt-Action: Bolt-action guns provide the most accuracy out of all types and are great for long-range shooting.
Snow Goose Flock
Understanding the Flock
Understanding the flock is essential for finding snow geese during the hunt.
Characteristics of the Snow Goose Flock
Snow geese are usually found in large flocks of hundreds or even thousands. This makes them easier to spot and can provide a great opportunity for a successful hunt.
The Behavior of the Flock
Snow geese are known to be skittish birds, so you need to approach them carefully to have a successful hunt.
Scouting for Snow Geese
Scouting involves finding the right location and identifying feeding and roosting areas to help you have a successful hunt.
Finding the Right Location
Snow geese are usually found in marshes, wet meadows and dry fields. So look for these types of areas when scouting for snow geese.
Snow Goose Hunting Checklist
Pre-hunt preparation is key for a successful snow goose hunt. Here’s a handy checklist
Licenses and Permits
Non-resident firearm declaration
Check the weather forecast for your hunting area to prepare for any possible changes. Snow geese preferred to take flight under favorable conditions, namely those with a warm southerly or southwesterly breeze, falling pressure, low humidity and minimal cloud cover in combination with high visibility and no rainfall.
Use this essential hunting gear packing checklist to make sure you have what you need for a successful snow goose hunt.
Essential Items to Bring:
A multi-compartment backpack
A packable rain suit
A range finder
A field book with pencils
A large piece of webbing, maybe 25 feet
A knife with a gut hook
A map and your hunting license
A pair of pruning shears and a folding saw
A portable charger
A flashlight with extra batteries
Trail markers and flagging tape
Hand-held GPS or Cell phone with GPS
Packable sleeping bag
Techniques for Snow Goose Hunting
Use these techniques to bag more snow geese.
Setting Up the Decoys
We suggest laying out your decoys in an extended teardrop shape, spanning from 60 to 80 yards wide and stretching up to 250 yards long. Scatter the decoys downwind, arranging them into mini flocks around 10 yards apart for optimal results.
Since snow geese are naturally aggressive scavengers, this strategy allows these birds to pursue a feeding trail all the way upwind toward where you have set up your layout blinds.
Shooting Snow Geese
Once the geese are close enough, quickly stand up to shoot. When aiming for snow geese, aim a little higher than you would when shooting ducks. Because snow geese fly faster than regular ducks, you need to lead your shot more.
Shot placement is also important when shooting snow geese. Aim for the head and neck area for a clean kill, as birds shot anyplace else may only be wounded and not killed immediately.
Retrieving Snow Geese
Once you’ve downed a snow goose, you need to retrieve it quickly. The most common way of retrieving a goose is by using a retriever or specially trained dog. A retriever can be used to find, pick up and deliver the bird to you.
Snow Goose Hunting Regulations
State and Federal Regulations
For Saskatchewan, goose hunting regulations can be found in the Summary of Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations: Saskatchewan, August 2022 to July 2023.
Bag Limits and Possession Limits
Additionally, the Summary of Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations: Saskatchewan for August 2022 to July 2023 states that hunters are allowed to bag a maximum of twenty snow geese per day with no possession limit.
Legal Hunting Hours
Snow geese open season provincially only allows hunting between a half hour before sunrise and a half hour after sunset.
Snow geese can be a challenging yet rewarding game bird to hunt. With diligent pre-hunt preparation, scouting and practice as well as knowledge of techniques, bag limits and regulations, you can become an effective snow goose hunter.
To help you make the most of your snow goose hunting, contact us today at Thunderbird Outfitters. We are professional snow goose hunting guides, and with our years of knowledge, skill and gear, we can help you maximize your hunting success.