John's Journal...

Louisiana’s Rice Fields for Hunting Ducks and Geese

Day 4: Hunting Tough Snow Geese

Editor’s Note: One of the toughest places in America to hunt early-season waterfowl is Louisiana. The first time I hunted there one November, my guide brought out two cans of industrial strength Yard Guard to keep the mosquitoes out of our blind. Bill Daniels of Hayes, Louisiana, has been hunting the Bayou State for 33 years. He wears Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades because he says, “This camo blends in well with the places we hunt.” This week he’ll tell us how to hunt ducks at the end of the flyway.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewI'm often asked about hunting snow geese. Generally, we don’t hunt many snow geese during duck season. When snow geese come in, they have certain fields where they want to light. If they light in a field we don’t have permission to hunt, we’re just out of luck, because those snow geese will stay in one field, until they’ve eaten all the food there. Then, they’ll move to another field. When we do have snow geese drop into one of our fields and start feeding, we’ll put out 300 - 400 snow goose and specklebelly decoys and hunt out of layout blinds. When those snows and specklebellies are in a field, we may hunt that spread for 3 - 4 days, depending on how long the geese are still flying to that field. Those types of combo hunts usually only occur three or four times per year.

Our specklebelly season extends for 21 days after duck season. So, we still hunt specklebellies during the late season. Because specklebelly geese often flock with snow geese and blue geese, if we get a big push of snow geese, we’ll set-out our snow geese decoys. In 2014, we had a typical snow goose hunt. We worked really hard to put out a big flight of snow goose decoys, because snow geese had been coming into this one field for 3 - 4 consecutive days. The morning we had set-up our field for snow geese, we felt certain we’d have a big snow goose hunt. But the next morning the snow geese didn’t show up. However, over that same spread, we had five hunters hunting for 5 mornings, who each limited-out on specklebellies. Occasionally, we’ll guess right, and snows, blues and specklebellies all will come in to our decoys.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewOn the best snow goose hunt I was ever on, we took 60 snow geese for five people. Snow goose hunting is really unpredictable for the place in Louisiana where I hunt. The outcome of the hunt depends on if the geese pick our fields for feeding. Most people who put on snow geese hunts have a large area that they can hunt. They work with a lot of farmers to have more options to find more flocks of snow geese. Snow geese can destroy a farmer’s crop, especially if they fly down when the crop is still in the field. Usually, you'll find more snow geese farther north than Louisiana or farther south down in Texas. When we set-up to hunt snow geese, if a flock of snow geese are coming in to the decoys, and if a flock of specklebellies are coming in also, our hunters will let the snow geese land in the field and wait to shoot the specklebellies.

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Calling the Shots for Waterfowl

Check back each day this week for more about Louisiana’s Rice Fields for Hunting Ducks and Geese

Day 1: 2015 Louisiana Duck Hunting Means Wearing Lightweight Clothing
Day 2: Numbers of Ducks and Specklebelly Geese in Louisiana
Day 3: Louisiana’s Specklebelly Geese
Day 4: Hunting Tough Snow Geese
Day 5: Calling the Shots for Waterfowl

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Entry 855, Day 4