One of the local papers had an article about Squaw National Wildlife Refuge south of Mound City, Missouri close to the Missouri River. The article discussed the migration patterns of Snow Geese through our area. It is only a 1.5 hour drive south for my wife and I.
Every year they go through, and now they are stopping at DeSoto Bend Wildlife Refuge just east of Blair, Nebraska. That is a 45 minute drive for us. As they make their way up the Missouri river to their nesting grounds above the arctic circle, it is a sight to see. The snow geese have become so plentiful that there are now no limits as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife want to thin the numbers before Mother Nature does.
Mother Nature is not very kind when it comes to thinning the numbers. Hunting them in the fall at our blinds has not been very successful as they fly over in enormous flocks, flying very high, and going from refuge to refuge.
When stepping out of the vehicle at Squaw Creek, the first sound you hear is a high pitched yelping, that when multiplied by many thousands, will leave an indelible print on your memory. When massed together they look like an enormous island of geese. Then all at once they begin to yelp, rise up off the water, swirl around and land back again. We stood for an hour and watched this spectacle several times.
I truly believe snow geese are smarter than other waterfowl. If there is one important lesson that snow geese have learned and learned well, it is that there is safety in numbers. When my friends and I began hunting the birds during the mid 1960s, snow geese migrated across Iowa in small flocks that usually consisted of anywhere from a dozen on up to 20 or so birds. The migration was well distributed statewide, and the geese stopped wherever there were suitable marshes.
How times have changed. Today, most of the snow geese are hunted in open fields with big spreads of decoys and with the use of electronic calls. They do not decoy as in the past. If you do get them to start coming in, a 20 yard shot is about all you can get. I really believe the snow goose is the hardest bird to deceive and that includes the wild turkey.
Squaw Creek is not only a stopping off place for snow geese, but for waterfowl of all types. There was also a migration of Trumpeter Swans which we were able to photograph. They stayed at a considerable distance. In addition, there were bald eagles everywhere in the trees.
Good Hunting, Good Fishing and Good Luck. Hank