Hunters can find plentiful light geese in these sleeper states
Spring conservation-order light-goose seasons hold few surprises for modern hunters, as folks can easily anticipate when birds might arrive at traditional hunting hotspots. However, that can lead to crowded and competitive situations in many areas (think Arkansas, northwestern Missouri and South Dakota).
This spring, consider avoiding the crowds and trying some lesser known but potentially productive spots. These areas might not get the press — or pressure — of their famous neighbors, but they provide solid opportunities for northbound snows and blues.
The Sunflower State has gained lots of attention as a waterfowl mecca in recent years, and spring hunting is no different. With many large reservoirs and abundant agriculture, Kansas attracts loads of migrating snows and blues as they return north from the Texas coast. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service harvest statistics back that up, as Kansas hunters took about 11,548 snow and blue geese in 2018 and 12,639 in 2019 (spring and fall). Depending on weather conditions, hunting is typically good from about mid-February to mid-March.
Not many folks think about heading east for snow geese, but we can’t all hit the Midwest or prairies on a whim every spring. And honestly, the Delmarva Peninsula region offers solid spring opportunities for greater snow geese. Actually, the Chesapeake Eastern Shore region holds more wintering greater snow geese than anywhere else in the country. Maryland hunters shot about 3,404 snows and blues during 2018 and 3,063 light geese in 2019, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service harvest reports. Those numbers might seem low, but remember, greater snow geese are far less numerous than lesser snow geese. Hunting is typically best in February through early March.
It seems odd to list waterfowl-rich North Dakota as a sleeper on any duck or goose hunting list, but the Peace Garden State is often overshadowed by its southern neighbor during spring. Still, geese pour through North Dakota on their way to Arctic breeding grounds, and harvest numbers back that up. In 2018, North Dakota hunters took about 24,872 snows and blues, and then topped that by killing about 26,605 in 2019. Further, hunting often stays good into late spring, as juvenile birds trickle through the state during April and even early May, depending on conditions.
Again, it’s almost unfathomable to list Texas as a lesser known destination for anything. Lone Star State hunters kill piles of light geese — 33,668 snows and blues in 2018 and 65,620 in 2019. And anyone who’s been in the Eagle Lake area during peak migration knows about the potential there. You’ll have to hunt Texas fairly early, though — February or early March — as geese might head north quickly when conditions allow.
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Realtree waterfowl editor Brian Lovett has been an obsessive duck and goose hunter for more than 30 years, chasing his passion on the Dakota prairies and the marshes and open water of his home state of Wisconsin. He's been a writer and editor in the outdoors industry since 1991.