South Dakota Snow Goose Hunt by Ryan Buck

snow goose hunting
snow goose hunting
snow goose hunting

It is the morning of March 6, 2021 and my hunting buddy Matt and I decide we will get up early and head out to try and jump some groups of snow geese that were in the area. I had contacted him the night before letting him know the numbers of birds that I had seen the day before. We hit the road and headed west of Madison, SD. We were seeing lots of birds right after sunrise but were having the problem with birds being jumpy and constantly moving.

 We finally found a flock of around 10 thousand circling a corn field to feed. We moved quickly and got permission from the land owner. As we were pulling up to the field we noticed the birds were feeding towards the west fence line. We parked, grabbed the shotguns from the truck and started making our way down the fence line. We got to the top of a hill and noticed how close the birds were to us and that they were now feeding south down the fence line towards our location. We laid in the grass and waited until the time was right. Others flocks were constantly dropping into the field. We both laid there with anticipation knowing we were going to get shots at this group of snow geese. They moved to around 30 yards away from us and we sensed that now was our time to make our move and jump the birds. We slowly made our way up to our knees, clicked off the safeties on the shotguns and counted to 3. The blast from the shotguns started to ring, a cloud of white raised to the sky and the aftermath laid in the field. We carried 23 snow geese out of the field. We were both excited that we had gotten out on a group and had a successful hunt and knew we still had plenty of time to get more birds that day as it was only late morning.

We got back to the truck and loaded all our birds up and continued on down the road looking for our next group. We ended up finding another flock landing in a flooded hay field that had the West fork of the Vermillion River running through it. Things were not looking promising for us with this group as they sat in an area of the hay field that was flat and did not have much cover. After a while of scoping out the area, some smaller groups had gotten up and moved to a different area in the same field near a fence line and a small hill to get out of the wind. We made a call to the land owner and were granted permission to hunt. We knew this would not be an easy hunt as it was mostly flat, flooded and a long walk out to where the birds were sitting. But we knew if we were able to make it to where the small hill started we would be sitting in a good position for getting more shots.

We started our journey out across the hay field trying to stay in the lowest areas and the tallest grass but were still able to see some of the birds sitting in the open. Small flocks were continuously getting up and landing with the group we were after behind the hillside. We kept moving forward duck walking across the field and made it to the point where we had to cross the river bed. Thankfully it was not very deep or wide and we crossed with ease. At this point we were about 100 yards from the top of the hillside and we both knew that we were in for the sneak attack of a lifetime. We slowly made our way up the side of the hill and looked down to see how close the snow geese were to us. We both ducked back down with big grins on our face as they were once again about 30 yards away. We regained our breath, made our way up to our knees and made the countdown from 3. Up we jumped and started blasting away. We caught them by complete surprise as they had no idea that we were there. After Matt and I unloaded we looked out across the water and started running down our cripples. We ended up shooting another 36 out of this group and Matt got his first banded bird. It was awesome seeing the smile on his face as he held up his prized blue goose!

We finally made it back to the truck and got everything loaded up right ahead of sunset and we both could not believe what had just happened. We ended the day with 59 snow geese from two different hunts.  We had a great day of chasing snow geese, making great memories that will last a lifetime and enjoying the outdoors and fresh air that South Dakota offers!

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