Or, being more specific, let’s get the lights on!
As in the snow geese and light geese (a color variation of the snow sibling) “Spring Light Goose Conservation Order Hunt” that opened yesterday, February 16 and runs through April 9.
Check it out: electronic calls allowed, unplugged shotguns (no more than seven shells), shooting hours from a half-hour before sunrise to half-hour after sunset, and...no bag limit!
While the latter seems a great thing, it’s far easier said than done, as the high flying snows 'n lights travel in huge flocks and are incredibly adept at picking out things that will make them avoid an invitation to approach and commit to a decoy spread.
Oh yeah, the decoy spread. As the species is wildfowl’s most gregarious wingers, a few dozen or even a few hundred imposters won’t cut it. How about 75 to 100 dozen?
If not more.
“Sometimes we set out more. It's all about the flocks, where they are feeding, and what they’re feeding on. Rye or winter wheat...and they can change what they want at any time. Oh, yeah, it’s challenging,” says Steve Lenovich from Snow Goose Outfitters LLC based in Mullica Hill, Gloucester County.
As such, the hook of “No bag limit” is tempered by the reality that these migrants, having been shot at in their southern migration and now on their northern trek to their breeding grounds, are beyond suspicious, cagey, and oftentimes impossible to fatally fool.
When the stars align (read: the rare-but-there instance when all acts are in synch), the shooting can be barrel-hot, with piles of geese the result.
To partake, one needs a state and federal waterfowl stamp, a HIP number, and the $2 NJ Light Goose Permit available only at www.njfishandwildlife.com and clicking on the license/permit link.
This kind of hunt is a massive undertaking, from logistics to decoys to an area to hunt. Yes, public lands abound along Delaware Bay that host flyovers of flocks, but again, better have what it takes decoy and labor-wise to get it done.
An option is an outfitter who does it all. You simply show and snuggle into the blind (“hide” as some prefer), and wait for the birds to start winging over. The cacophony that can reach near deafening decibel levels should the flock choose to settle is certainly disconcerting. However, when the “Take ‘em!” decree is shouted, well, instinct will take over.
Snow Goose Outfitters LLC prides itself on providing the best Conservation Order light goose/snow goose hunts. Satisfied customers have told us so. You’ll be advised as to loads per 12 or 10 gauge, the apropos camo wear, and blind behavior as the birds are approaching. We’re in a scramble for an early March booking. Visit SnowGooseOutfittersLLC.com for rates, available dates, etc. Listen this Saturday morning on Rack & Fin Radio (or go to the podcast) for our interview with the outfit’s Steve Levovich.
This can be the goose hunt of a lifetime. Let it snow!