The snows are back. No, not the slippery white stuff, but snow geese. And they substantially outnumber local Canada geese.
Local farmers detest snow geese because they can devour an entire winter wheat field, one of their favorite delicacies followed by corn.
Last week while driving on Mauch Chunk Road in South Whitehall Township, I couldn’t help but see several huge flocks of snows circling the cut crop fields owned by Jeras Corporation (Trojan Powder Co.) in Meyersville. But traffic wouldn’t allow me to pull over to see if they landed there. But feeding off in the distance of that field were a large flock of Canada geese. They were evidently eating the barely visible winter wheat that was planted there.
The week before I was in Northampton and saw other large, high-flying flocks of snows flying from West to East and my thoughts were that they may be enroute to put down in a quarry on Route 329 outside Northampton, a place they’ve landed in past years.
Hunting snow geese is not easy. They’re unpredictable and could be in one field on day and another the next day. One thing for sure, waterfowlers need a large supply of white decoys to lure them in. Some hunters use commercially made flexible sock-type decoys, while others employ white rags or even old diapers. So if you’re new to snow goose hunting, or interested in picking up some tips, the Pennsylvania Game Commission offers these DON’Ts:
Don’t leave your decoys out for extended periods of time. Pick them up daily in most circumstances. Decoys left out for days on end act as “goose repellent.”
When hunting, stay in your blinds. Snow geese can be very hard to spot against the sky and are notorious for “just appearing out of nowhere.”
Don’t stand around waiting for birds; they will see you long before you see them and you will be busted before they even get to you.
Don’t break the chain of birds off the roost. Snows tend to play “follow the leader” off the roost water and when they’re coming to your spot, you can decoy and shoot flock after flock if you don’t break the chain (typically three to four minutes between waves).
Hunters should take a mental note of numbers of birds shot and where birds fall, and do a pick up when there is a break in the action. If you don’t do this, you’ll break the chain of birds and they will land somewhere off in the distance and take the remaining birds on the roost with them.
Don’t have anyone call unless they sound like a greater snow goose. No calling is better than bad calling (the geese know the difference.)
There are others, including a lots of Do’s, but these should help the cause.
Contrary to some. Snow geese make great table fare. I’ve talked to one hunter who said they taste from the Tundra grasses from where the come. He only smokes the meat, makes jerky or cooks them in a stew. But if prepared correctly, it’s claimed they taste better than Canada geese.
Such delights as Barbeque Stuffed Snow Goose Breast; Grilled Caribbean Snow Goose; Skewered Snow Goose Breast; Snow Goose Fajitas/Jerky; Snow Goose Medallions; Snow Goose Cutlets; Stir Fried Snow Goose, or, how about Snow Goose Gumbo; Snow Goose Pie; Smoked Hawaiian Snow Goose and Snow Goose and Wild Rice Casserole to name a few. All of these and others are offered in the Snow Goose Recipe Book at www.agjv.ca/images/stories/pdf/snowgoosecookbook.pdf.
PRELIMINARY BEAR HARVEST
If you recall my recent preliminary bear harvest report where the number of bears taken were listed and for Lehigh County, there were three. I added that it would be nice if local sportsmen could learn where those three were taken, since a few years ago there were no bears shot in the county.
I just learned that all three were shot in the area of Bake Oven Knob on the Blue Mountain. One of those was taken by my friend Tim Papovich of Pennsville.
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Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.