Snow geese in Pennsylvania moving quickly


It seems that every year for at least the past 15, I find myself writing about the beautiful and plentiful snow geese as they pass through the southeastern portion of Pennsylvania, and this year is no exception.

There is a dissimilarity in the northern migration of snow geese this year, however, in that February has experienced some heavy snowstorms across the entire state, leaving the harvested fields of grain and grasses the birds depend on for spilled nourishment, covered with a couple of feet of the frozen remains of these storms. This circumstance has, up to this point, kept the huge flocks of these birds farther south than normal this time of year.

But this past weekend saw some significant rain, coupled with some warming sunshine, and sure enough, that changed the landscape significantly across the state. Corn stubble has started to show, slanting banks in fields that face long periods of sun have cleared in spots. This decrease in snow cover has been a welcome mat for these birds, and now they are moving quickly.

This past Friday, the Pennsylvania Game Commission website reported about 2,000 snow geese had arrived early at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. By late afternoon, 10,000 were there. On Monday, an estimated 40,000 were on the lake. Today, Wednesday, viewing the live cam, I assume over 100,000 are now there, and perhaps more.

In my home area a good 10,000 snow geese — plus plenty of Canada geese — are hitting the open spaces in nearby fields. Late this morning I drove past a huge flock that was near the road I traveled. With homes along the other side of the highway, the birds were safe from hunters, except for a few photos this hunter shot. And even though some snow remains on the ground, it’s easy to see in the photo above that the birds are effortlessly digging into the food they desperately need.

With this late migration start, the birds will move through here quickly in route to reach their nesting grounds in upper Canada by spring, leaving only a couple of short weeks for hunters to enjoy some challenging times afield.

By all means, hunting snow geese is difficult, no matter what one may have seen on some hunting show. Just ask a seasoned snow goose hunter about hunting the greater snow goose along the Atlantic Coast and inland region. Add a shorter timeframe for hunting them, and the hunting becomes even more difficult.

But if you’re a snow goose hunter, don’t let me discourage you. Go get ‘em, but you’d better do it now. Times a wasting, because sure as the sun rises they’ll soon be gone, a mere memory of exciting snow-white fowl moved on till next year.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Ron Steffe, Waterfowl

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