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Illinois hunting and fishing

Snow geese take flight from a cornfield south of Havana. Photos by Chris Young.

Snow geese are still filling the skies

February 10, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Prairie State Outdoors

It should have been easy.

With thousands of snow geese circling overhead and skein after skein heading in their direction, two snow goose hunters in Mason County should have enjoyed a bonanza.

Illinois hunting and fishing


But the geese feeding in harvested cornfields between Havana and Kilbourne appeared to have learned a little bit about a hunter’s tactics.

They left plenty of wide-open, snow-dusted, wind-swept space between their flock and the two shotgun-toting hunters.

Closing the distance without being seen would be all but impossible.


Illinois hunting and fishing


As I drove by, I waved “good luck” to the hunters, and they waved back before setting out for a tree line a hundred yards or so closer to the feeding flock.


Illinois hunting and fishing


The conservation season on snow geese exists for a reason.

The great numbers of snows and blues are said to damage their fragile arctic breeding grounds.

Over the years, they’ve learned more than how to elude hunters. They’ve also learned to benefit from waste grain in fields.

Putting population issues aside, the spring spectacle of snow goose migration provides a glimpse back in time when waterfowl – of all species – filled the skies.

I watched snow geese pour into the area for more than an hour Friday afternoon.

In the meantime, hunters try to control snow goose numbers as best they can.

If the two Mason County hunters were successful, they owe it all to a bald eagle that spooked a smaller flock of snow geese about a quarter mile south.

The flock took off and flew over their position on its way to join the larger flock to the north.

It’s good to know there’s a fellow hunter around when you need one.


Illinois hunting and fishing

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