Hunters waiting for snow geese to show up in Pennsylvania
It’s just plain crazy — this implausible length and deeply frozen hold the current winter has held upon the land here in Pennsylvania. It’s not fun anymore, and I won’t mind one at all when it finally departs.
For many waterfowl enthusiasts living here in the southeast portion of the state, this is the time of year they put in a few hours hunting the greater snow geese that migrate through our area.
So far, that’s sure not happening. Not with nearly a foot of iced-over snow covering each and every square inch of local grain fields the white birds depend upon. The leftover grain is normally a food source that fills their nourishment requirements, enabling them a healthy return to their arctic nesting grounds in a relatively robust state.
In fact, some experienced snow goose hunters I’ve spoken with feel there just won’t be a snow goose season “per say” in these parts. They base that belief upon a feeling that by the time the fields finally open, the geese will have gone north, simply passing right-over this area without stopping.
That may be true, but within the next couple of weeks we’ll know for sure, because one way or another those birds have to get to their breeding grounds by a certain time.
Of course this harsh stretch of weather has affected more than snow geese. Deer, for instance, apparently held tight in some unseen location when the snow was deepest and the air most frigid, because in my travels I saw none.
Within the past two weeks though I have seen some small groups of healthy looking deer during afternoon hours in different woodlots I’ve driven past. Temperatures have moderated a little and snow has melted slightly. With even warmer days in the forecast, whitetails may soon be headed toward springtime routines.
In truth, different generations of their ancestors have known winters such as this one, so the current generation is built for this.
Turkey sightings have been scarce, but these birds do well on crusted snow, reaching spring seeps and winter fruited vines with relative ease, able to walk on top of the frozen carpet. They’ll stay near these spots till the ground clears.
I won’t put the shotgun away just yet, because there may be a day or two the snow geese are here. But than again, if that does not happen, the fishing rods hang ready for the beginning of trout season.