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Illinois 2020

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  • #46
    Awesome! Way to stick it out to the end!


    • #47
      Great work, gives me hope. Thanks.



      • #48
        [QUOTE=whitey11;n15905]Little report from West Central IL. Major storm system came through this weekend and luckily we did not get the severe weather they were initially talking about. But, boy did the wind blow.
        Sunday I went down on a rescue mission to see how bad the damage was to my sock spread in the 40 mph winds. To my surprise it held up really good. Well, since I was there I decided to hunt for a short while. The migration was ON FIRE. If you were hunting pelicans. Bunch after bunch fighting the high winds. About 12 or so I look up and see some birds flying low across a sheet water field and sure enough they were sob's. Here they came closer and closer until they balled up 20 yards in front of me. I zeroed in on 4 blues that bunched up together and when I squeezed off 3 fell on the first shot. I whiffed my next couple shots as they blew out in a hurry. 3 in one shot I will take it, I had a nice eagle head and two juvy blues. I stayed for another couple hours and never saw anymore so I picked up what few decoys I had remaining. I was content that if that was the last hunt of the year I would be happy.

        Sunday evening, I took a drive 15 miles up river to what was left of the big spread just before dark. As I get closer to the field I can see them. 1000-1500 rolling around in the field where our spread was. After watching them for a while I decided to take my chance and hunt Monday. So, i showed up pretty early Monday to examine and decide how to move what decoys were left in order to have a somewhat decent set up. When I got there there were shell decoys piled up about 300 fullbodys and 1000 socks still out there. Me and a friend of mine started moving stuff around and got set up just as the sun was coming up.

        3/30/20 There was no wind at all and a decent frost on and they sat tight for about an hour. Finally at about 730 the first birds came out and first pass they came over about 35 yards so we let them go to set up good. Well they did about 3 more times but it was always off to one side or the other where we couldnt get a good shot so back they went to the roost. The next bunch was about 25 ross geese and they came out high and swung once and took off back to the river. The next group came in but hung up at about 50 yards but we tried them anyway thinking it may be all the better they get and I rolled a juvy blue out and my friend only got one shot and his gun jammed up. The next 30 minutes was some hot and heavy action. Bunch after bunch coming and working the decoys but just never would get centered up. We moved decoys and positioned ourselves facing into the wind. We finally got a couple nice groups in real right and we finished with 9. It very well could have been 20 or more but I had gun malfunctions. Only got 1 shot on the 3 best groups and only got one out of each of the three groups. 2 of them were real nice eagle heads. Normally, it would have been super frustrating knowing we should have done better but just happy to be shooting geese this late in the season. I feel like if there was any wind where the geese had to work a certain direction would have helped tremendously.

        Monday evening we decided to try it again. Why not? Got to the spread around 530 pm and I think it was around 715 before any birds started moving. Had a couple of high bunches come out and circle and circle and would not come in. No wind again. They came out in several groups and ended up landing 150 yards out off the decoys. They ended up bouncing around in the field and 50 pulled out and came from the side giving us a cross shot and we got 6 out of that group. 5 of which were adults. Two eagle heads and 3 adult snows and a ross. That was all she wrote they ended up feeding in the field until dark but never gave us another opportunity.

        3/31/20 Last day

        Went out this morning with hopes they would return to the same field. They did not come off the roost. We shot one ross at daylight and that was it. Saw 3 bunches go into the refuge from the west so I think they are just sitting tight. Going to give it one last go this evening. May as well have nothing better to do since we are all suppose to be in quarantine.[/QUOTE]


        Nice write up and Congrats on the hunts!


        • #49
          Only about 100 geese came out last night. They circled a couple times and ended up landing out wide again. In the same spot they landed the night before. Maybe we should have moved the decoys a couple hundred yards to that exact spot who knows. Eventually they moved down a small knob in the field so I stood up to take a leak watching in their direction. I turned around and walked the 10 yards back to where our hide was and i heard a bark turned around and that group had gotten up and came rolling over us. I dove and grabbed my gun but it was too late. I threw up a hailmary and my buddy knocked out one juvy blue and that was our season. Saw one nice group of about 200 fly south down the river headed to only God knows where.

          Season recap:

          What a strange season it was. This would be only my 7th year of decoying snow geese. Still a rookie and I really enjoy this website and wish I could implement more of what you guys post on here but it is hard to get a group of guys to agree on the same thing when it comes to snow geese. I honestly think that is where a lot of us go wrong. We all have similar ideas on ducks and honkers and we have good results there so why are these geese any different?

          February started out really well for us this year. We got set up late January as conditions were really nice. Got the blind in a ditch and got all of the stakes out without having to drill which was a miracle. We had several decent hunts in early February when the leading edge was here. Killed a few nice adults and had mixed bags with juvies right from the get go. Opening weekend I think we put somewhere around 40 birds on the ground which was a great start. February 11th we had a good shoot where we bagged around 30 birds 95% juvies that we pulled out of high migrating flocks. After that day the weather turned and the hunting for us did too. It basically went to a handful every day feeders of a morning and feeders in the evening. Winter storms pushed the birds back down south of us to the Carlyle area and when they started migrating back north they didn't want to stop for the most part. Also to note the south wind days did not produce much if any migration and a majority of the big migration days came on 7-10 mph North winds. Several cloudy days in a row you better be there when the sun comes out. If the clouds broke they rolled. Tried setting up on a big feed the 22nd of February. It was maybe 40,000 birds. The weather for the next day was going to be snow starting at daylight and lasting most of the morning so we thought this could be great. Lots of adults so we thought if the weather was bad we would have a chance. Well it snow 5 inches over night and had the birds feeding next to the roost and we only killed 6 i think. But, we found a great looking spot and ended up setting up some windsocks decoys in a cornstalk field next to 40 acres of sheetwater which I hunted a handful of times throughout the remainder of the season with some success. One or two guys could shoot a handful there everyday up until the last weekend which we did for the most part. Probably should have hunted it more. The last of the migration came in the end of the month of February had a couple decent shoots and one that was close to 50 birds.

          March was slow like it can be just had to pick and choose when you went out. The late juvy migration never seemed to happen. Long days in the field with little to no action other than the feeders that hang around forever. The first full week of March looked great sunshine 60 degree temps and wind but we didnt see any migration at all those days which was weird to me. There seemed to have been a little migration the 13-15th of March but I was not hunting as work called. Didn't hunt as much as I would have liked the last couple weeks because of work but thats part of it. Had two good hunts to close the year out which was rewarding.

          2020 was better than 2019 by a long shot but I would say as a whole it was very average. The migration is different every year. It seems most of the birds come up the Central and East part of the state farther north every year before turning west. Most of the migration was on North winds and more in the mornings than the afternoons. If I could have 3 hours to hunt migs it would be from 1pm-4pm. Not this year. A lot of morning movement followed by dead afternoons. I personally think one of these days in the next two weeks we will have a big migration through here again.

          Thats my final thoughts for 2020 bittersweet but glad its over. On to turkeys now!


          • #50
            Thanks for sharing, good recap.



            • #51
              Anything good to report in central/southern illinois??