Late Season Goose Hunting
Late season goose hunting with MAHA includes Canada, White-Fronted and Light Geese on a variety of private land leases ranging from managed wetlands, farm ponds, irrigation and watershed lakes, crop stubble and pasture fields in Kansas, Missouri and Iowa.
Canada Geese are by far the most sought after species of late season geese by our hunters since they are easiest to decoy and they are the most plentiful in the regions we have leased land.
Our managed wetlands were designed primarily for Missouri duck hunting, but late season goose hunting opportunities expand to all of our counties with private land leases in all three states.
After the regular duck season closes in January MAHA wetlands and the surrounding duck clubs basically shut down, but this is typically the peak migration period for Canada geese.
The temperature in late December and January can be frigid cold and stay that way for a long or short period of time. Open water or crop fields close to open water is the key to a successful late season goose hunt when the water freezes. It is up to the MAHA hunter to locate these areas by spending time on the road narrowing down his or her options with the private land maps they have to choose from.
Our hunters tend to frequent a handful of easy access blinds over large bodies of water, but we encourage our goose hunters to move away from the managed wetlands and locate birds on their own that have seen little or no hunting pressure. One to two dozen floater decoys is all it takes, but many goose hunters feel large spreads will attract more birds. Small boats or canoes save a lot of walking to place large decoy spreads, but a truck or trailer is required to haul loads of that size. We do not provide goose decoys to our hunters. The hunters provide all decoys. ATV’s are allowed to access gear and decoys to and from our waterfowl properties, but we recommend walking your course in the daylight for safety purposes.
This late season goose hunts article is not intended to instruct anyone on goose hunts, even though it appears to do so. The intent of this article as this entire waterfowl web site is to synchronize the reasonable expectation of the type of goose and overall waterfowl hunts offered by Mid-America Hunting Association. We have a narrow focus of those hunters that enjoy this Association the most and seek to screen out those who would not.
A blind with shooting pool chest wader accessible with a small floater spread on one our managed wetlands after the regular duck season. That is a light skim of ice on the surface.
One point to take away from the number and variety of live pictures on this web site is the amount of time and duration through the year we spend on the land. That level of exposure gives confidence to the hunter that any recommendations received of where to hunt have a basis in direct observations.
Canada geese can be seen flying over 90% of MAHA’s 220,000 acres of leased land in all three states during the late goose season. Hundreds of farm ponds occupy these leases but the birds pick and choose which ones they use and this can change from day to day. Scouting to determine the bird’s patterns seems to be the key to success for the majority of our hunters that harvest geese on a consistent basis. Each hunter has access to our online map web site with over 250 pages of leased farms. The acreage on each map page ranges from 250 to 15,000 acres.
Reservations are required and are taken from 9am to 5:30pm Monday through Friday to scout or hunt all land we have leased for our members. If you choose to scout a map page with 2500 acres and/or 1500 acres on the same day, all that is required is to call the office and make a reservation to scout the land and we will enter the reservation in our reservation book, which prevents an overlap from another hunter on the same day. You do not have to check in with the landowner, just park on the road or inside the gate to the property, hang your vehicle ID tag on your rear view mirror or make it visible on your dashboard. From this point, you may scout on foot or by glassing the lakes and fields from your vehicle.
Once Association hunters locate a farm or lake the geese are using, just pick up the phone and make a reservation to hunt the farm or lake you desire. If you would like to hunt another location a second or third day, you are able to do so. Reservations are allowed for 1 to 3 days at a time. Once you complete your first day of hunting, you may keep making reservations. Large decoy spreads may be left in place from day to day.
Our assortment of irrigation and watershed lakes surrounded with crop stubble and pasture fields are attractive to the goose hunter that likes to set up their decoys on land, water or a combination of both at the same time. MAHA has a variety of private land irrigation and watershed lakes in all three states and a large percentage of these lakes and geese never see a hunter the entire season. The majority of members join MAHA to hunt other species of game, which leaves late season goose hunting only to only a handful of members that enjoy goose hunting.
If the ground is frozen, vehicles are allowed on certain leases to haul decoys and gear to and from the fields. Vehicles are not allowed to cross winter wheat fields or any other standing crops. ATV’s are also allowed, but must be approved at the time each reservation is made. Dogs are encouraged to retrieve geese on large bodies of water to avoid loosing crippled birds.
A novice or experienced goose hunter with a large or small decoy spread will have more crop stubble and pasture fields to set up for geese than he or she would have time to hunt.
Many of our maps do not include goose as a principal game species, but 99 % do allow goose hunting. We do not include goose as a principal game species on a map unless it consistently produces. Many of our farms with crop fields do not produce until late in the season and the patterns of the geese are unpredictable, so we leave it up to the goose hunter to pick and choose the farms on their own.
White-Fronted Geese are few and far between on MAHA leased land but a few are harvested each season.
Late season hunting for White Geese is more under-utilized than Canada Geese, because it is a difficult hunt. Ideal conditions for White Geese are typically miserable days when the average hunter would rather be at home watching TV.
Most avid snow goose hunters are aware of the Conservation Orders to automatically open the season for White Geese after the regular season through April 30. During this season, unplugged guns and electronic calls are allowed and there is no daily or possession limit in Missouri or Kansas.
Many of our landowners encourage late season goose hunting for white geese to prevent crop damage, especially to winter wheat.
White geese frequent the same bodies or water and fields as Canadas, but they are a different species and require different tactics to hunt.
Many hunters grew up jump shooting ducks and geese off ponds while they were hunting other species of game.
Jump shooting late season geese is permissible to MAHA members on the hundreds of private land bodies of water scattered across three states.
If you are hunting upland birds at the same time, it is legal to only possess steel shot while pursuing waterfowl. You cannot have both lead and steel shot in your game vest while jump shooting geese.
Another technique is to scout several ponds on several leases while watching local flight patterns. Either move in on ponds being used or setup on one nearby and practice the calling and decoy hunting art.
The yellow sign is one of our unique Association signs used to mark our lease land. The hang tag on the interior rearview mirror is placed whenever parked on one of the leases.
Everyone wants it easy and everyone knows better. Within a do it yourself hunter organization to track down migratory birds to exactly which field they are working requires the hunter to scout. The waterfowl reports on the Missouri Department of Conservation web site will give the locality within the state where the bird numbers are highest. Head to that area, drive the roads and with perseverance they will be found.
Late season snows and blues working a pasture field.
A sample combination of a land and water decoy spread on a watershed lake next to a pasture field.
One of those seemingly inconsequential small ponds the geese have a tendency to occupy and are well suited for small spreads.
Fall tilled crop field.
Field goose hunting from layout blinds with decoys placed close to the blinds is a an effective technique to decoy geese into very close range, but requires acknowledgment of safety from start to finish of each hunt.
A photo of 4 layout blinds tightly surrounded with Canada goose decoys. The hunters are well hidden and the decoys look so realistic, they attract road hunters with rifles. Blaze orange is highly recommended to wave at vehicles that stop or slow down or to wear while putting out and bringing in the decoys.
Coming up from your back to shoot with other hunters close by is awkward and must be done with safety in mind each time. Also, while climbing in and out of the blinds, safeties should always be checked and muzzle control must always be priority.
Field goose hunting is like all types of hunting, its hit and miss and a lot of work, but very exciting when the birds commit.
Hunt success pictures seem to be demanded by the waterfowl hunter seeking assurance of good hunt spots. A better evaluation would be the many live pictures and the amount of acreage available through the Association is greater than any other option in this region. That is for those with the resources to conduct their own self guided hunt. We simply do not work with those that need a guide except that through the buddy hunt program.
“…hunted the same watershed lake several times with the same decoy spread and because of the warm weather, new birds were not coming into the area. Managed to get a goose out of each trip but decided to change our tactics.
Only set out 2 dozen floaters and left the shells at home. Used a jiggle cord to create some movement and it worked. Had 3 flocks of 20 to 30 honkers come in at less than 30 yards with their wings set. Limited out in a hour and a half without a cripple. The overcast and rain seemed to pull them to the water rather than landing in the field next door like they did in the days in the past.
When the alarm went off there was a steady rain. We almost slept in but we were glad we did not…”