When I got home from work today I opened a bottle of home-made CrabApple wine and gathered my memories of our Fall Migration hunts. We had a lot of fun as usual with excellent friends new and old. These hunts are the highlight of my year!
Our Waterfowl Season opens up September 1st. At this time the Specks were starting to trickle in. Almost every hunt there are migrating birds from the Northern breeding grounds flying in. The Specks show up first, then the snows show up a week or two after.
I find the early season Specks to be frustrating at best to hunt. They do NOT decoy at all. A mob of 5-15 may approach the spread and always flare away. Knowing this we adjusted our hunting tactics. To try and nail these flaring birds we laid out in the decoys at the very edge of the spread. Since were luring them in with Snow decoys we were wearing white coveralls. This worked fairly well the shots were long but the birds were beautiful.
I love hunting these vocal Tundra Geese. Once the Snow Geese start showing up these birds change their behaviour. They start to decoy very good. We have over 100 Speck decoys (mix of Full bodies, shells, and socks) and some mornings you can’t keep them out of the decoys. Specks have a funny Yodel like call and respond well to calls and flagging.
We did well with the Specks not as good as some seasons but we were able to shoot some nice Adult birds. A morning hunt is not complete unless you can get 5 or 6 Specks in the dirt right at legal shoot time. The daily limit of these birds is 5 a day. It seems like the population of these birds is exploding. I hope they do increase the daily limit to 8 soon.
This season the Specks showed up early. We were getting reports of snows in Saskatchewan by mid September. We were seeing them in Alberta around that time as well. The hot dry summer and the early harvest brought the birds south earlier I can only guess.
This season I abandoned my layout blind for field hunting and wore my white coveralls out in the field. I use a Momarsh Invisilounge layout seat and I find it is very comfortable. It keeps you off the ground, it has a decent amount of padding and has an adjustable reclining feature. I would cover it with a white ground sheet and stow my shooting/blind bag behind the reclined seat. There is something so cool to be looking at the birds outside of a blind, the great thing is the birds do not flare when you raise the shotgun at them, unlike when you bust open a layout blind’s doors which sends birds into a panic.
The snow geese this season decoyed very weird. Normally the snows will cycle and spin the decoys. We use about 1000 windsocks (Mostly Sillosock brand headed and non headed) with a 4 speaker Ecaller and a couple of 4 arm rotary machines. We did shoot a good amount of snows but they came in small groups, singles and pairs. We shot a good amount of Ross Geese early on. These birds tend to dive bomb the decoys and are really fun to hunt.
We would see big numbers of geese but those flocks would not come in to decoy. It was a little disappointing but we were able to shoot a decent amount of these Tundra birds. The only time that I had birds working in ‘properly’ was during a Solo-Hunt on October 31st. There’s a great Youtube video showing that hunt and you can see those thousands spin the decoy spread.