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bustumup

Snow Geese?

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bustumup

I was thinking of trying this in the spring and want to know what I need to buy to have a decent chance at some success? I have thousands of acres in NE South Dakota that I can hunt and have seen the snows come through there in the fall while bowhunting, but don't know if hoping they come through this spring is a pipe dream??

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RumRiverRat

Lot of Decoys, and gas money to scout.

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WALLEYEGUY28

yes lots of gas money and decoys. most guys i know that hunt snows in the spring run an average of 1300-1500 decoys. i've been hunting snows for about 7 years. bigger the better on the spread. but if money is an issue get what you can afford simple as that. the economy silo socks are fairly cheap or the classic texas rags. but for a small spread i wouldnt run anything less than 500 decoys. if you have a small amount of decoys spread they out wide!!!! the farther apart each decoy is from each other the bigger your spread will look. but if you have a big spread you can run them tighter to simulate a feeding flock. but if your willing to spend a little money get either deadly decoys or green bays. full bodies are the ultiment spread and i would say you could get away with 300-500 of those. socks on the other hand no less than 500-600. than stubble the heck out of your blind. those birds are smart and can pick out your blind before you even know it. you'll need a good e-caller with 2-4 speakers. i would suggest runnin snow talker sounds by performance calls. if ya got any other questions shoot me a pm

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bustumup

Thanks for the info guys. Not a cheap game to play.

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carpshooterdeluxe

Your best bet to get into the game is to either hook up with some friends that already hunt snows, or buy a guided hunt and see if its something you really want to do.

Those of us that hunt them will tell you that doing it on your own (and doing it the right way) means lots of scouting, long nights and early mornings setting/pulling spreads, lots of mud, bad hotel beds, birds that give you the finger and don't decoy, competing with other decoy hunters, pass shooters, and jumpers, and battling mother nature.

When the birds do it right, there really isn't much else that is as cool though. a tornado of birds stacked up to the heavens rotating down on your decoys is an amazing site.

the minimum spread i would reccomend a person investing in would be the following:

200 economy sillosocks ($500)

Quality e-caller ($150)

Layout blind ($150)

once you learn how the snow geese migrate through the state in the spring, you can find pockets of juvies that act like they are hitting the first fields of fall in SK. They will bomb the decoys, you shoot, they turn around, and bomb again. those are the days that you never forget. If i get 1 day a season where that happens it makes all the hard work worth it.

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bustumup

Carp, Thanks for the help. Have you ever heard of guys going to a specific farm when the migration is in the area and waiting for them to come to you? I have a bunch of land near Sand Lake and think it is in the path and would like to just go there and set up. Is that dumb?

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WALLEYEGUY28

thats a good area later in the season. mid to late march or even early april. once all the water is open and the birds move out of say lake thompson and preston even yankton or vermilion down by the border.

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bustumup

I would imagine the birds are pretty shot up by the time they get that far north.

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carpshooterdeluxe

I would imagine the birds are pretty shot up by the time they get that far north.

Some days birds will push from southern nebraska or nw missouri all the way to nodak. so yes, setting up around sand lake can be good given the right weather conditions. the birds typically migrate the most on south wind days. on those days you can sit all day in a field and have wave after wave of birds come over you anywhere from 80 yards to a mile high. Sand Lake refuge runs a snow goose hotline where they give reports on large concentrations of birds in various areas. somedays its accurate, some days its not.

sand lake has been known to hold over 1 million snows during peak migration in the spring. but with that comes a lot of pressure from freelance hunters and guides. If you have land access around sand lake, i would definitely pay attention to the migration this spring and if nothing else, just go spend a weekend out there watching the birds and maybe doing some pass shooting or sneaking if they are on the property you have access to.

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bustumup

Carp, Thanks for all your help. So when this all starts up this spring, what is your plan? As far as where do you start and how long does it stay good,suppose alot depends on the weather/melt.

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jblabsnduck

carpshooter has a lot of good points and tips BUT i have to go against the grain here.

I have had my best shoots over as little as 50 decoys. 2 Years ago we had a 4 man limit on the ground by 10:30am in SD with 50 silosocks (limit is 20 a person a day in SD)

Of course the conditions and stars all lined up that day for us.

We found around 40 thousand birds that must not have had any pressure for a week or more. It was also foggy that morning.

We have also found that bright sunny days have been best for decoying snows.

I run around 250 decoys when by myself. A mixture of wind socks, silos and full bodies.

You do have to spread them out and have a good e-caller.

I may not kill the huge number like the guys with the huge spreads do but I still have fun and kill enough to keep me happy and like I said before, some days you just get lucky and lay into them pretty good.

Like carpshooter said, the juvies are the best to hunt and will help make good memories.

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carpshooterdeluxe

Carp, Thanks for all your help. So when this all starts up this spring, what is your plan? As far as where do you start and how long does it stay good,suppose alot depends on the weather/melt.

I know some guys down in nebraska, as well as nw missouri, their reports, in conjunction with guide and other hunter reports and weather forcasts help me in determining when the birds might show up. I try not to get too excited about the lead edge of the migration, as those birds are some of the toughest to hunt, but a guy can still get some shooting. then its just a matter of scouting known migration corridors and scouring any resources available, internet, game wardens, bait shops, whatever to find out what areas have birds. typically the last two weeks in march and the first week of april are the best. I have shot birds almost up to may though. it all depends on the snow melt, juvie hatch, and weather.

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carpshooterdeluxe

Like carpshooter said, the juvies are the best to hunt and will help make good memories.

Nothing like a pile of grey birds and a sore shoulder after a good day's hunt!

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bustumup

Carp, I just ordered some econo socks from White Rock decoys, wonder if they work decent? I got 10 dozen and I was thinking of cutting corroplast heads on a cad table, just not sure about stakes. Should I just use a wooden dowl and no head or use a small enough wire stake that will slide up the flutes on the corroplast head. Looks like they don't use heads at all, but thought that looked stupid.

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carpshooterdeluxe

Carp, I just ordered some econo socks from White Rock decoys, wonder if they work decent? I got 10 dozen and I was thinking of cutting corroplast heads on a cad table, just not sure about stakes. Should I just use a wooden dowl and no head or use a small enough wire stake that will slide up the flutes on the corroplast head. Looks like they don't use heads at all, but thought that looked stupid.

I haven't used whiterock's, but I really like their supports and might give some a try this spring. As far as stakes and heads, go with fiberglass stakes at a minimum, but i would opt for 3/16" or 1/4" aluminium (painted with rustoleum) or stainless steel stakes. Stay away from wood. you will break too many and get frustrated. For heads, i would try to find 10-20 northwind heads and mount them upright like sentrys. thats about all you need for heads. Tons of guys run entire spreads without any heads. If you are going to stick with using the corroplast, i would look into cutting a 1 piece head and support much like the sillosocks have. and if that was the case, i would just buy the sillosock conversion kits from prairiewind decoys.

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bustumup

Good point. I can cut the heads, but now that I have the socks ordered I should just hold tight til they arrive and see what I'm dealing with. I did draw up a couple different heads off of SS, but really need the actual sock to see how it will fit and staple and if it will allow enough air in (grommets may be issue) or just forget the heads and put a stake through.

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carpshooterdeluxe

when you get some put together post up some pictures! I love seeing home-constructed decoys, especially snows.

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bustumup

10-4! Thanks for helping me out! What do you think about the rags from H.S.(qty.100/$25? Are they worth the effort? I thought it would be a good filler and make the flock larger without adding huge expense and save on storage/transport.

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carpshooterdeluxe

I won't touch rags with a ten foot pole. you can make your own unsupported tyvek socks for a little more money and they will last longer.

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bustumup

I'm not into sewing. I might have a decent way to get around that. I made one today, just need to tweak it a bit and I'll send you a photo to see what you think. Just need to decide on material that will be lightweight, waterproof and not shiney.

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carpshooterdeluxe

I wouldn't worry about waterproof too much. With tyvek socks, you can take them off the stake, throw them in the washer, and either let them air dry or tumble them in the dryer.

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bustumup

Carp, What do you think?full-5375-5040-dscf0020.jpg

full-5375-5041-dscf0019.jpg

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carpshooterdeluxe

i think i shouldn't stare at that decoy on the right after I've had 8 beers and 4 shots at a rascal flats concert!

add more black on the snow decoy on the left. I'd maybe get a little less crazy on the "blue" on the right, but heck, i'm hammered so it might look good tomorrowl.

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bustumup

Yeah, it's kind of funky. I just grabbed some extra stuff at work that was waterproof. I think this is the same material they use for shower curtains. It wasn't rigid enough to stay curved when assemble so i mounted it to a sheet of 24pt chip board. How was the concert? sounds like you had a good time.

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carpshooterdeluxe

you could be on to something there; a stake with a washer on it would allow the decoy to move in the wind. how heavy would a dozen be when mounted on the chipboard?

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Gordie

Bustumup you could probally get the same results for them to stay formed with some 9 wire bent up in the right place and a whole lot more portable than chipboard.

BTW they look great and you dont have to drink anything to get that funky feeling staring at the one on the right grin

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bustumup

Probably a pound or two.

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bustumup

Here's a few shots of the newest version. Nothing fancy, but atleast I can produce them for nothing-except the stakes. I checked a little bit on that and can get 20'hot-rolled steel rod 1/8"diameter for $3, so I could use a 24" stake and would cost $30 per 100. full-5375-5144-dscf0027.jpg

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mille lacs muskie bum

i'd say these look pretty good! just make sure that they are attached to the stakes well. that wind out in the dakotas is not forgiving and ive spent some time chasin decoys thru the feild. also if they tip over they are all mud. good luck though it looks like a good start!

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bustumup

Thanks ski-bum. My photo doesn't show it on that one, but I do have the stake poking through the top and a nut retainer on the bottom so it can't travel far enough to make it off the stake.

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