Conservation goose season open through March 24
Yes, I do know that most of the hunting seasons have now become history. One of the exceptions to that is that the so-called conservation season for light geese. However, there are not very many local folks that are willing to go afield after snow, blue, or Ross geese at this time of year. Believe me, successfully taking good numbers of those birds now is not like hunting them during the regular season.
First of all, the geese do not spend their time fattening up in the grain fields. To the contrary, they are feeding almost exclusively on green grass or in the planted green fields that abound in our area.
Whenever the geese begin to get ready to return to their nesting grounds, they tend to break up into smaller groups. There are rarely large numbers of geese together in the grain fields. They will sometimes be in those fields if the rice that was spilled was not eaten or if it has sprouted. The spilled grain will begin to grow and it becomes another green field. No matter what type of greenery there is, the geese will break up into smaller groups. Sometimes several of the smaller groups will be in the same feeding area, making them appear like the larger fall flocks of geese.
It would seem that these smaller groups of geese are the ones that migrated in family groups. Many times over the years, there will be some of the birds that are several years old and some that are the younger. As these families continue to add more numbers than were lost this year, overpopulation can occur. That is the reason for the extended conservation season for snow geese, blue geese and Ross geese.
The discouraging part of the conservation season is that some of the geese have already begun to head north. There are also fewer outfitters offering to continue their hunts. Many of them are also fishing guides, and they are now into that. Then there are the landowners that are now using their land for various other farming and ranching activities. This situation makes for less hunting land available to the extended-season goose hunters. However, there are still some light geese around, and the hunters that pursue them are offered more liberal regulations.
Should you decide to head out after the geese, you will be allowed to hunt from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. There is no bag or possession limit, electronic callers are legal, and the scatterguns are not required to hold only three shells. It’s almost like a “there they are so have at them” situation for the hunters.
It would be a good idea to do some pre-planning. The weather in the early spring can be anywhere from bright, warm and sunshiny to cold, rainy and windy. There are also occasions when the early mornings are foggy. If the goose hunters are extremely fortunate, they will plan their hunts when the weather is foggy and with a wind blowing the fog around. Actually when the weather is most uncomfortable, the late season goose hunting is best.
I mentioned earlier that the geese are now in smaller groups. It has been my experience that the use of fewer decoys is better than the huge sets. Should you plan to use large numbers of decoys then I suggest that you set them in smaller groups that are separated
The geese are more educated by now. Even the younger geese have matured and are following the lead of the older ones. It seems that the groups of geese will be on the ground and then fly up and around for no apparent reason. They remind me of some good athletes that are getting in condition for their marathon flight. By eating more green vegetation and doing more flying to strengthen their muscles for the long flight to the nesting grounds, they are more able to make the long flight.
On the subject of strong muscles, the light geese have enough of them for some super table fare. The first thing that comes to mind for cooking goose meat is gumbo. They do make my favorite of all gumbos. Also, the breast may be cut across the grain, seasoned to taste, and deep-fried. I do like to use a tenderizer hammer on the meat before deep-frying.
If you would like some good smoked sausage to add to your gumbo, then make it with 50 percent goose breast and 50 percent pork before smoking. The legs and thighs are mild and are good in pot roast.
The season continues through March 24.