Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Snow Geese Show Up in South Carolina

This quartet of S.C. hunters had a great day - thanks to a Snow Goose

Peeling off a snow goose to add to a mixed bag of ducks can give a hunter an advantage over his hunting partners, but not always. For instance Jack Hudgens was hunting out of a john boat with his friends waiting on some wood ducks when a lone snow goose flew by. A barrage of shots was fired and the snow goose was hit several times before folding up. No one man could take credit for the snow goose harvest, so it brought them all a shared feeling of success, providing a great story to tell about their memorable start to duck season.

Daryl Hodge with an opening day Snow Goose in Lancaster
Snow goose season in S.C. will run uninterrupted between December 6 and January 25 from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset, and waterfowlers should keep their eyes and ears open. The call of a snow goose is less excited than that of a Canada goose, and it also carries a higher pitch. Daryl Hodge with the Wrecking Crew guide service in Lancaster harvested one snow goose on opening day with a passing shot that took his hunt from a bummer to a stunner.

Here in South Carolina the harvest of a snow goose begins with the identification of a bird that most have never seen before. Fortunately, they earn their name for the snow white plumage they wear from head to toe with the exception of some black coloration on their wingtips. Therefore, S.C. hunters should see a snow goose as sticking out like a sore thumb against the blue sky. They readily join in with flocks of resident Canada geese and should also be easy to identify mixed in with the darker colored geese.

Lesser snow geese historically migrated down the Pacific flyway to winter in California and the Mississippi flyway to winter along the Gulf in Louisiana and Texas. But since brackish and saltwater marshes offer the food and cover that the snow geese seek, it’s no surprise that they may begin to migrate across all four flyways and into South Carolina. The ACE Basin has preserved thousands of acres of wetlands and this stabilization of the ecosystem should attract a wide range of migratory birds over the long term including shorebirds, wading birds and raptors and not just waterfowl.

To read this article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

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