Spring Snow Goose Hunting Ethics

March 23, 2009 by  

By Doug Panchot

What does hunting the snow goose in the spring mean to hunters? To many it is another opportunity to get out in the field once again and too enjoy the time with friends and family. Too others it is a mission to go out and shoot as many birds as conceivably possible. Many of us have the mentality of both. We would like to enjoy the event with friends and family and have the opportunity to harvest as many of the geese as possible. With the snow goose it is very difficult to have what most would call a successful hunt. These birds are so old and have seen many decoy spreads, heard many e-caller tapes that it is difficult to harvest high numbers of the birds even during the conservation season let alone the “regular” season in the fall. The situation has to be almost perfect and the weather has to cooperate in order to be successful. Success can mean different things to different people. Many people just enjoy getting out, and if they get a goose or two they are satisfied. Many others deliberate with hunting buddies months in advance, to try to figure out what is going to work the best and how to put the plan into place. Most of these individuals set a high standard when it comes to harvest numbers. It’s how we go about the harvesting of the birds that we are going to be discussing.

Ever since the Spring Conservation Season has been established individuals have been trying many different techniques to harvest snow geese. Decoying birds in the spring is almost a variety. Some don’t have the equipment that it takes to decoy birds in the spring or they think that it is too much work to go out in the mud and set up 200 to 500 decoys and then lay in the mud the entire day. This is when pass shooting, sneaking and cowing come into play. There are times and places when all of these techniques are successful. Decoying and pass shooting are the ways that I prefer to harvest snow geese. This is just a personal preference that I have when hunting geese, no matter what season we are in. Just the same I choose not to jump shoot ducks. I’m not saying that sneaking or cowing is wrong; I just prefer not to harvest geese like that.

Another issue that borders on ethics during the spring season is the use of an electronic caller. The e-caller is something that almost every person who hunts using decoys during the spring season has around their shoulder when walking out to the spread. Individuals who make their stand known that they are against the use of the e-caller say that it is unethical. Along with being unethical they say that by being able to use the e-caller it will be easier for the government to implement the use of the e-caller to other areas where management is needed. This is seen with the new framework for early Canada goose season. The Feds are looking at using the e-caller and unplugged shotguns to assist in harvesting resident geese during the early Canada season. In looking at the unethical concern that some have with the e-caller, I look at it this way. Is it ethical to let a over population of birds basically commit suicide, or make laws that help the hunters out to harvest these birds so that the population doesn’t collapse and we don’t have any light geese to hunt in the future?

The ethical issue is one that is made on a personal front. It’s up to the individual if they want to hunt these birds with decoys, by sneaking, pass shooting, or cowing. I personally prefer to decoy and pass shoot if the opportunity is there. The use of an e-caller and using unplugged shotguns is another personal choice. I do use an e-caller and an unplugged shotgun. The sole purpose of using the unplugged shotgun is to clean-up cripples. It is not very often that when hunting spring geese that you can shot a flock more than three times without the birds being out of range anyway. The e-caller is a tool that many are finding is becoming less effective each and every year. To me ethics is something that you as an individual need to figure out for your self with the circumstances at hand. If the law states that you can go out at night and shine and shoot deer because they are over populated, would you? It is a personal choice that we make.


Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.