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Saskatchewan 2016-17

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  • #31
    We went up on the 19th and purely by luck missed all of the snow and rain. I had several reports from people I knew that had been hunting the area we go to that it was tough. Few birds and lots of hunters, impassable roads, and birds that jumped fields constantly leaving patterning difficult was the word. One friend from the states, hunting the week before we went up, was only able to get in the fields because "his" farmer had a tractor with tracks. I had the trailer loaded with full-bodies and was advised to leave them at home. Bring a 4-wheeler and sled; most farmers were not letting trucks, or even trailers behind 4-wheelers in their fields, he said. So I reloaded the trailer with nothing but socks. We took the 4-wheeler and sled for the first time ever to Canada. We planned to hunt in whites to minimize the load, but took layouts as well for what we thought may be some miserable conditions.

    So we headed out Wednesday morning, picked up a couple of our hunting partners who had flown into Minot about 11:30 that evening, held our breath and crossed the border. Funny, we still get a little anxious in crossing the border even though it's old hat now. Still, you always wonder, "what if they won't let us in". We arrived at our "hunting grounds" about sunrise on Thursday, dumped the trailer at the hotel we stay at, and headed a few miles up the road to one of our favorite farmers. A little worried because we weren't seeing snow geese in the fields along the highway on the way in as we usually do. The sky was also devoid of birds trading in all directions as is the norm at that hour of the day. We pull into the farmers driveway and immediately notice a decent feed of snows just across the road from his house. Little did we know at that time we were about to stumble into one of the best snow hunts we ever had. Turns out the field belonged to our farmer and we were on for the next morning.

    We watched the feed that day as it grew to about 40,000 snows. The birds never left the field that day so it would be a morning hunt. We used the 4-wheeler and sled to go in but soon realized the ground was dry and firm with the exception of low areas. Weather conditions were perfect. An overnight low above freezing (no frost) and a 10-15 mph breeze had the socks moving just right. We were set up and ready at first light. The birds were roosting less than one-half mile from where we hunted. We were nervous about how close we were to them but couldn't change that now. The details of the hunt are a bit of a blur, but I will say that I have been on dove hunts in hot fields that the action on this particular hunt would put to shame. Other than the first two tornados that circled in to a nice finish, the birds came straight in, one flock on the heels of the next. We were shooting, raining birds out, and reloading as fast as we could. We rarely had the chance to lay back on our back rests. Not a sip of coffee was taken, not a snack eaten. In an hours time, we were running low on shells, guys hollering, I'm out, who has some shells"! We were so low on shells, and with birds still decoying, decided we better gather birds. That was fortunate! We collected 118 snows for six of us, two short of our limit. We easily finished that off on singles milling overhead as we stood getting ready to pick up.

    For our trip we were there nine days, hunted six, and averaged 75 geese per hunt. Only 20 were little Canada's. Three were specks. About 90% were juveniles. We could have shot many ducks but they were usually there when snows were in the area and we are after snows. Our timing was great, but purely blind luck. After about day two, farmers were telling us to just drive in. We had good wind on all but one hunt and that brought our average down, shooting only 17 birds in dead calm conditions that morning. Only one morning saw temps dip below the freezing mark and that was the dead calm day so we had a little frost in addition for the birds to contend with. Oh well, we were getting tired of cleaning birds... not! Highs were generally in the upper 40's to low 50's. The last day it was cloudy with very light mist on a nice breeze. That was the closet thing we had to rain or wet conditions all trip long.

    If there was a downside, it was that the total number of snows in the area were lower than in most years. We typically hunt every day. Twice the birds we had scouted and gained permission to hunt were bumped and jumped from the field close to quitting time. Usually, up there, it's easy to have a plan B, and C for that matter. Not this year. Oh well, it made for a more leisurely and rested trip. We hunt an area about 20 miles wide and 30 miles long. In most years there are 500,000 to 1.5 million snows in this area at any given time during our stay. We were seeing maybe 200,000 total in the same area. For the most part they remained in three distinct areas, forming generally three different flocks. So competition to get on them was sometimes ... competitive. We did well at getting permission on the field of our choice and this helped with the quality of our hunts.

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    • fox and goose
      fox and goose commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for sharing.

  • #32
    Sounds too me like taking full bodies is just over kill with the success you just described. Only one day below freezing, that seems like pretty comfortable hunting, esp when there isn't any mud to deal with. Glad you had a good trip.

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    • #33
      Good for you GQ. Sounds like a great trip. Gawd I miss Canada.

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      • #34
        Great report GQ!!! Glad to hear you had a successful trip.

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        • #35
          Excellent report Geez, thanks for posting. Good to hear you had fun and were able to get in places without killing yourselves.

          Qac

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          • #36
            Great report, GQ. Saskatchewan is a special place for sure and the reports are fun to read. It was a wild trip this Fall but always memorable.

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            • #37
              Sounds like the birds are starting to roll into Sk. 3 weeks till we leave. Tic toc

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              • #38
                A friend of mine is up there now and birds are showing up in good numbers. They got these in a couple of hours. Lots of Ross geese as you would expect. Only 19 more days for me. Tick, tick, tick, tick.

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                • #39
                  I hear things are starting to pick up. Where is Brobones when you need him. I need my snow goose pics fix my trip is only 19 days away.

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                  • #40
                    My son keeps in touch with a friend he made up there years ago in the Central Sask area we hunt. He messaged today that snow started arriving in small but huntable numbers a couple of days ago. He said most of the wheat and barley is harvested. They had some decent rains the past couple of days. It may be dry but he said the farmers are in good moods and he wouldn't worry about denials by farmers regarding driving into fields.

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