Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
No matter how many time I’ve seen it, I am always amazed at the way late season Canada geese respond to new snow. Highly educated, December Canadas are usually smarter than the people trying to hunt them. As long as the ground is bare, the birds are safe. They can spot a phony decoy spread at 400 meters, and even if the temperature drops to negative numbers, they can still be impossible to fool. But cover that same landscape in three or four inches of fresh powder and it’s as if you threw the switch. Flocks that snubbed you the day before become suddenly cooperative, dropping into the decoys with reckless abandon. There’s no doubt about it; fresh snow is real ‘Canada Goose Game Changer’. A good example of what I’m talking about occurred December 27 following an overnight snowfall of around 4 inches. Due to an unseasonable [and highly unwelcome] warmup; Northern Iowa has been snow free for most of a month. When it comes to goose hunting, pickings have been mighty slim. But suddenly we had snow cover and optimism soared. No one loves winter goose hunting more than Curt & Jake Stille; and we teamed up for what we hoped would be an exciting hunt. The geese flew early and were on the wing before the decoys were completely in place. We parked the trucks, and Canadas were already landing in the spread as we walked back. Like I said, snow is a real game changer.
Although literally hog fat,the birds suddenly thought they were in danger of starving to death and piled into the corn in grand style. The noisy flocks provided a spectacular sight and it seemed like we were finished almost before we started. We posed for a couple of Hero Photos and then quickly loaded the decoys as honking lines of geese continued to pass. I guess there are Iowans who hate winter. I’ve never been able to figure out why.