Goose conservation season has been red hot
Capt. Chuck Uzzle
For the Record
When the federal authorities granted hunters the extra time to hunt light geese after the general season closed they did so with conservation in mind as the population was skyrocketing out of control. Waterfowl enthusiasts welcomed the opportunity with open arms, any chance to keep hunting was sure to be a hit. The first couple of years there were some incredible hunts as many goose hunters took advantage of the liberal rules and brought along the electronic callers and plenty of shells. All the hype began to die down as the geese got wise and soon were as educated as a Harvard grad. Many outfitters stopped running hunts during the conservation season because the geese just quit cooperating as they were preparing for the migration north. The only aces in the hole that waterfowl hunters had to rely on were help from the weather in the form of fog or a good population of juvenile birds. Any combination of the two results in a hunt to remember and that’s what has been happening down along the coast.
Since the conservation season opened at the end of January goose hunters along the coast have been enjoying some of the finest hunting anyone can remember in years. The biggest reason for the great hunting has been the fact that almost daily for the past two weeks the coast has been covered in a blanket of fog every morning until around 10 o’clock and the hard core hunters are taking advantage of it. I have talked with several guides who have had shoots of over 100 birds, with the highest number being 132! That is world class hunting any way you slice it. The majority of these hunts are taking place on green fields of either rye or wheat which the geese are eating in preparation for the long trek back to the artic tundra.
Hunting late season geese is a mystery to say the least because these birds are right on the verge of leaving and the phrase “here today gone tomorrow” sums the whole season up. A green field with thousands of geese aggressively feeding is not a lock by any means, whole concentrations of birds will up and leave overnight only to have hunters the next day left to do nothing but shake their heads and curse these wary birds. On the other hand if you pick the right field, have the benefit of fog and have the birds come in you cannot believe the action. These birds know that time is running out and their need for rich green grass will often overcome their cautious nature. In years past all of these factors rarely came together producing such promising conditions, this year will definitely go down as one to remember for many hunters. If you are planning on taking advantage of the red hot hunting taking place along the coast it would be wise to do it as soon as possible because daily the birds are leaving. Another option would be to take a road trip north towards the Texas Oklahoma border and get in on the action up there. During the general season most hunters and outfitters rarely target snows, instead they favor of chasing Canada geese and ducks. For weeks these birds unmolested and they get very predictable to say the least which makes for some very good hunting. If you can’t make yourself believe hunting season is really over here is your chance to really end the season on a high note. If you happen to get in on the right hunt all those bad ones seem to be forgotten, funny how that works isn’t it.