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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back in the old days, I was a hard core snow goose hunter, from about 1975-1985. Believe it or not, this week was the peak of the migration. We had tons of great snow goose hunts from 10-8 through 10-12. From Rock Lake, Lord's Lake, J. Clark, Lake Darling to Des Lacs there were hundreds of thousands of snow geese at this time of year. It seemed like the biggest concentration each year would be where food conditions were the best, ie. hail, bumper crop, etc. After about the second week of October, they'd start to trickle out to Sand Lake, Cayuga, Tewauken, etc.

I think one of the causes might be global warming. Back then, there weren't any December Canadas along the Missouri either. I'm sure there are other reasons too, ie. lack of pressure up north. Strange, what 20 years will do.
 

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I grew up hunting J. Clark from opening til the third weekend. By the 4th weekend of October, 90% of them had already moved through, if not all (and then good 'ol "Sudden Ludden" is where we'd end the season). I'm a bit younger than you, and I'm referring to the mid80's to the mid90's.

Not only do snows have great memory (their ability to retain "knowledge" over say a canada goose is amazing), snows also have the strongest instinct of survival. In Canada, as you stated, it's warm until late. But I'm not always sold on the weather as many think. All the locals I talked to up in Sask. last year said the birds don't leave until they can't get at the ground. They'll stand on the ice for months...So it takes some major snow to push them out. So in a sense weather does play a factor, but most heavily on precipitation. 1995 was the last time I saw great numbers come down in October without a major snowstorm. Every year since it's been that freek blizzard that's done the trick. So why do they want to stay up there so bad???

1) Food - they have tons of food up there, and some of their favorite foods in the flyway are found all over Canada (i.e. peas).

2) Pressure - Next to none. Hunting up in Canada was like hunting in NW ND when I was a kid. You'd maybe see a group here and there, but the pressure was slight. They will more than likely feed and roost unharassed for most of the season (the only hunters I saw all week were only decoy hunters). Nowadays if a flock shows up in October it'll be decoyed, sneaked (land and water if possible), and pass shot til no end. If snows are heavily stressed, they'll move to an area where that decreases. That's their strongest survival instinct in my opinion.

3) I want to mention the dams and such that have been created up there the past couple decades, but that would be an arguing with my first point. If the birds are willing to stay on ice for long periods of time, they're not as interested in water.

I've thought about this a lot over the years, and these are just my observations. I'm by no means a biologist so I'm willing to hear other theories.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I definitely can't argue with your points 1,2 and 3. There's a ton of feed, just like there is in ND. No pressure at all. If you think NW North Dakota is unpopulated, its nothing compared to So. Sask. When we hunted at DesLacs, a couple of times we bought Canadian licenses and stayed at Portal, a 24 hour crossing. If the birds went to Canada, so did we. We NEVER saw other hunters. You're also right about the dams. Ameida, Rafferty, Oxbow. In fact, I bought all the township maps of those areas, it was pretty clear that the snows would start staging there.

But..... when I see 50,000 blacks on the Missouri in mid December, it makes me wonder about the climate. Cranes are coming down later too.
 

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I also grew up just like you guys hunting birds along the northern border mostly around Lords Lake. Hustad & tb I think all of your points are valid but I'm not really sold on the global warming effect. I recently was visiting with an old timer that has hunted ND many years. His explanation why the birds are stopping and staying in Canada longer is hunger. We have been graced with record numbers of ducks and geese the past few years, and we have all heard the stories on what they are doing to there nesting grounds up in Canada. He said that the birds are so hungry when they leave the nesting grounds that they will stop in Canada to get that first big feed. Back in the late 80's early 90's the birds would have enough energy because of sufficient food in the nesting grounds that they would take that long flight all the way to ND. Today they stay in Canada and many then over fly ND, because they have recovered. Now I don't think this is the only explanation why the birds are doing this but I thought it was a good observation that I had never heard before. What do you guys think? :2cents:
BenelliBlaster
 

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I don't know much about snow migration but the western MN EPP population of geese used to migrate down a lot earlier too. Maybe for the same reasons the snows are coming later or maybe not (?)
 

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I gotta say weather then food then pressure

The last several years the weather has hit canada the same times as here & they have flown over us

Then it has to be peas - I noticed there is hardly any corn up there - they must really like peas - & the corn has been so late, to be harvested down here ???

No doubt the pressure is a part of it - Yeah Wed. & Sat could be a small part - But in general (10 to 20 yrs ago) No one hardly hunted SOB's (unless you counted HS kids on sat. & locals on Sunday, after church & then it was mostly surrounding them, or pushing them over some hidden shooters.)

Every since the SOB conservation hunts - & everyone & their brother came & wanted to shoot a SOB - it has gone down hill - Leasing & guides & then all these guys found out how hard SOB's are to hunt & saw we had all the ducks too & now ducks are the main resource that NR's want to hunt. - Then they discovered our upland & that got plain nuts - Now with the internet & all the magazine articles & people who came yrs ago all brought some new guys & so on & so on & so on till it is truely a nightmare to any of us that used to hunt waterfowl in ND

I can remember getting all excited shooting a Honker - Now they are everywhere & few NR's are really after them.

The explosion in folks having extra money to travel & hunt (or shoot) really has been significant. Even all across the country anywhere birds build up & are in huntable #'s there is now commercialized hunting trying to take over & monopolize as much as possible

& the sad part for me is what we feel as pressure is 1000 % better than most other States - & were on the verge of joining them :eyeroll:

A week in Canada is well worth the cost & travel - for the life of me I don't see why they all want to come here - unless DUI's prevent them & ducks are their main goal - It can't be good for ducks to shoot so many, so early, in one of the wettest areas for duck reproduction.

We will all pay the price of this in the near future
 

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BenelliBlaster said:
We have been graced with record numbers of ducks and geese the past few years, and we have all heard the stories on what they are doing to there nesting grounds up in Canada. He said that the birds are so hungry when they leave the nesting grounds that they will stop in Canada to get that first big feed. Back in the late 80's early 90's the birds would have enough energy because of sufficient food in the nesting grounds that they would take that long flight all the way to ND. What do you guys think? :2cents:
BenelliBlaster
That's a very valid point...should of thought of that...

I've also heard that the birds are shifting out of the "dead zones" into newer areas that aren't deserts. I can't imagine the availability of food is down low enough to have what I keep hearing was a record hatch again. Long before we settled the snows would fly from the tundra straight through to the Gulf of Mexico...can't imagine it's that tough to fly 500 miles in comparison.

It all makes you wonder... :huh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
BenelliBlaster, I can understand the theory. Sorta fits in with all else that's been said. Once the snows stop in Sask, they've got all the habitat they need, no one bothers them, the weather is great, so why migrate? After they've fattened up, they can go as far as they want, and if its late, like Veterans Day, that's a long ways past NoDak.

Now, can someone explain the late Canadas and cranes?
 

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Who cares :roll: They are living animals, cant change what they want to do. People are always talking about the good old days,well I got a brain check GO TO CANADA! Im kinda glad the snows dont stop here because I get the chance to go and hunt some difffernent area's. Snow goose hunting wouldnt be as fun if I could hunt them every single weekend. That one week up in the "Great White" has produced many great hunts with my family and good hunting friends. Snow goose hunting in canada will by far beat the elk hunting trip im going on in two years. I just know it will.
Nothing better then thousands of birds over your head at one time!!!
But thats just my .02
 

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We used to think because ND grew so much Barley the SOB's headed right here - Because the young birds only eat the new grain shoots (even the older birds like to transition into hard grain) ie: nothing to eat up there (artic) but grass & bugs - & since Barley gets harvested so early, it usually starts growing again, if there is any rain. ??? Canada must be growing more barley too ??? & SOB's are grubbers eating roots & all.

Last yr when I was in Sask. the SOB's were eating in swathed oats fields - I had never seen that before - But what they were doing was eating the green shoots inbetween the swaths

I don't know what effect all this No till is having on them ??? (more chemicals) ???
 

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When CA passed the law for charging $50 for taking a firearm into their country, and after all the anti-gun and hunter crap I saw happening in the eastern provinces, I swore I would never go again until some common sense reappeared in the Great White.

However, now I have been reading from you guys here and elsewhere that live in ND BUT who will (without hesitation) go to SA once or twice a season to chase the Snow Geese, it gets me interested...

I see Chris is heading up there next weekend and would really like to here from you guys about where or at least a genereal area/distance you travel to in SA???

I am already driving 775 miles to the ND border in Fargo from here at home (Springfield, IL), and then go on to Granville (north of Minot) to be with friends, but if it was worth another couple hundred miles or so, and the costs weren't that much more than what it already costs me to go to ND for ducks, geese and upland game, I would sure like to think about it!

I am an agressive hunter and want to be where the birds want to be, not just set up and hope they arrive where I set up. I will not foresake ND, but if a three-day or so jaunt across the border doesn't cost so much AND the opportunity to once again knock some SOB's down is inevitable, then tell me more - please!!!

Thanks again, and if all goes well, its 14 days and counting and I will return to my future retirement state!
 

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I leave tomorrow - picking a guy up at the airport & then hunt up to the border - then cross & stay in Weyburn & Then scout on to -------- a honey hole I found last yr at the end of our trip to Quill lakes :wink:

I plan to take all agression out on the SOB's that has been built up inside of me - so when I return I can shoot a duck or sharptail now & then & train my pup the rest of the season :beer:

I'm like you Goosebuster got to see new places & explore new places to hunt - what is over that next hill (the maps shows there is water) :D

& if Hillary ever gets elected Prez down here I'm also scouting for where I want to live next :roll:
 

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Go get em Fetch...bet you won't sleep much tonight!!!!!!!!! :D :D
 

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my brothers and i just got back from humbolt sask, the snows are stacked in the area, north, south and east, any directions you go. id have to agree on the eating theory, there is so much grain on the grounds and miles and miles of crop land to choose from and no hunting pressure at all. we had a great hunt, looking forwrd to next year.....the only downfall was the weather, 4 days in the 80's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Remember this thread? I think that anyone that doesn't believe in global warming has rocks in his head. First snow geese, then cranes and black geese.
 
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