There’s just something about snow geese—and what better way to muster through scorching hot summer days than talking about cooler weather while watching white birds spinning overhead?! Full-time waterfowl outfitter Mat Schauer of Northern Skies Outfitters hunts snow geese in Saskatchewan during the fall and spring, chasing them down their entire flyway and back again. Schaur and Ramsey compare hunting snow geese north of the border versus further south, and more.
Northern Skies Outfitters, Saskatchewan Canada Snow Goose Hunting

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Chasing Snow Geese 

Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere, where today I am in beautiful Saskatchewan. Son, it is May, and it is such a different landscape than it is when I drive up here in the fall. There’s mallards everywhere, just pairs of them and it’s little breeding pairs of them. There’s pairs of Canada geese all over the landscape. We’re starting to see magnificent canvasbacks on these little ponds doing their thing. When I say different? It’s not just, I’m seeing these ducks, we see them, but these ain’t big flocks like we see in the fall, this is pairs of them. The other day, a mallard jumped across the road, Matt, and he was so close, I thought, he was going to swat him like a bug on my windshield, he was close enough, I could tell he wasn’t banded, and he flew over it. But they’re dumb acting, and we’re out here chasing snow geese, spring snows. It just dawned on me the other day that Mississippi duck season ended on January 31st, that was almost 4 or 4.5 months ago, and these freaking snow geese are still clawing their way back up to the Arctic, they’ve gotten up here, and it’s just a different world. I mean, their life is still going on, and I can’t get over how fat these birds are. I say 30% of them pop when they hit the ground. Joining us today is my buddy Matt Schaur at Northern Skies Outfitters. It’s just something about snow geese, and Matt’s going to tell us what. Thanks for having me, Matt.

Matt Schaur: Oh, always glad to have you in camp Ramsey. We’ve had a lot of good hunts over the years and look forward to a lot more in the future.

Ramsey Russell: You’ve been chasing snow geese since 2000, you said, or late 90s, that’s about the conservation order.

Matt Schaur: Yeah, I started hunting in 2000 really chasing snow geese where they kind of became a passion, but only commercially, since about 2004.

Ramsey Russell: You’ve been on here before, you’re from the Dakotas. Is that where you started chasing them, just because they were everywhere?

Matt Schaur: Yeah. I grew up in Minnesota and started chasing them in Brookings, South Dakota, because I had buddies that went to college there, and it was an easy conversation or easy to convince, I guess, for me to make that 3.5 hour drive to go chase some snow geese and just got addicted.

Ramsey Russell: It is addictive. I’ll go on the record of saying I think that snow geese are probably my favorite goose in the world. You got bar headed goose, you got cape bearing geese, you got all these different goose species, but there’s just something about snow geese. I’m going to start with this morning’s hunt. There’s 20,000 to 30,000 freaking snow geese out there, we were hunting this morning, they’re everywhere. It was foggy, and my guide, Max, was just absolutely confident it was going to be that morning, and I was, too. I’ll be honest with you. You kind of hear him off in the distance when the wind blowed just right, I’m like, boy, it’s going to be this morning. And as daylight come up, it was ground fog, and first couple of bunches, just loose little flocks just dumped right into the decoys. I’m like, man, when that roost wakes up, we’re going to small them. And then it stopped. And as the sun came up, the ground fog cleared and about half a mile away, halfway between us and the roost, there was them 20,000 or 30,000 geese laying on that field over there, and there was nothing you could do. Every brown and black and white goose on earth was decoying to them, and we were out of business. And I never feel bad when the snow goose gods conspire to let me kill a bunch of them because it’s paid back for these mornings like this morning. I like to be humbled, and snow geese will freaking humble you, man. On the one hand, the reason I love hunting in Canada is because adult birds just do what you don’t typically see them do further down the flyway all the time. But there’s rare days they just all come and do it like that. I say rare, it don’t happen every day, even up here. But to see those snow geese just come right in, that just makes my heart beat. I like killing them. When did you start hunting snow geese up here in Canada?

Hunting Snow Geese in Canada

But in the fall, my favorite time to hunt with you in Saskatchewan, I’d say between mid-late September, mid-late October, when those snow geese are showing up. 

Matt Schaur: I would have to say maybe 2009, 2010 was the first time I hunted snow geese in Canada in the fall.

Ramsey Russell: In the fall. Let’s start there then, because I kind of let off talking about how different Canada is.

Matt Schaur: Sure.

Ramsey Russell: But in the fall, my favorite time to hunt with you in Saskatchewan, I’d say between mid-late September, mid-late October, when those snow geese are showing up. When they first really start getting down here, it’s a lot of juvies and it’s a lot of Ross’s and it’s 28 gauge nirvana. Hey, you all shoot dark geese, you shoot little geese, you shoot speckle bellies, you shoot ducks, I like the snows. You tell me, hey, Ramsey, we got all these options in the mornings, Canada, after all, what do you want to do? I want to go shoot whitey, I just do. How has client demand and attitude changed since you’ve been hunting? Since you’ve been outfitting for a long time, have you seen a difference in that? Are there more people like me now that want to go shoot snow geese?

Matt Schaur: Yeah, there’s more demand now to go shoot snow geese probably, than there’s ever been in the past. But the biggest difference, I would say, over the last 15 years is it used to be that everybody you talked to, they either wanted to hunt snow geese because they had heard about it somewhere, or they wanted to hunt snow geese because they heard of the higher limits and the volume of it. But now, just about everybody you talk to has been snow goose hunting. And what they want to do more than anything is they want to shoot a bunch of them.

Ramsey Russell: A bunch of them.

Matt Schaur: And that’s the addiction to snow goose hunting that everybody gets, is what keeps it fun, keeps it interesting, is snow geese are not easy. It takes a lot of things to come together right and they’re very humbling, that’s what’s kept me chasing them for all these years, is because you’re always learning, there’s always changes in them.

Ramsey Russell: Being humbled by waterfowl makes you a better waterfowl hunter, I think.

Matt Schaur: Oh, absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: I don’t like to be humbled, I want to shoot them, but being humbled, it makes me better.

Matt Schaur: Yeah, absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: Makes me want to figure out, makes me want to know more about that critter and his behaviors. And that’s where I want to start with you, Matt. Talk to me about how you’re up here mid-September, mid fall, you’ve got breeding birds coming, probably a lot. Then you got the gray birds coming, then you got the Ross geese. What’s the flow of that? And how do you all go out and determine when it’s white out here? There’s a lot of white patches out here. How do you all decide what makes a good feed versus I don’t really know if I want to chase those. And what is going to be a real winning set up to kill snow geese in the fall up here?

Signaling the Start of Saskatchewan Fall Migration

When the fall migration first starts, the first snow geese that show up here in Saskatchewan at our camp, we’ll have some snow geese here opening day.

Matt Schaur: When the fall migration first starts, the first snow geese that show up here in Saskatchewan at our camp, we’ll have some snow geese here opening day, 1st September, there will be some snow geese that have come down. Those birds that are in the area, then the birds you find, you’ll look at them with binoculars, and you’ll realize real quick there’s no young birds in the flock. These first birds that have showed up are birds that went up to the tundra, tried to breed or maybe were too young to find a mate or too young to initiate a nest or they were too old, therefore it’s not possible for them to nest. They’re non-breeding birds, mature birds, but non-breeding. And those birds will be the first ones to leave the nesting grounds and come south and get into these grain fields, when the first fields are coming off, there’ll be some of those birds that show up. And for the first few days, those birds are here, they’ve kind of forgotten about goose hunters, so you can take advantage of them, they fall for some of those old tricks, get some of the rotary machines or some of the flapping decoys out there, and they still get excited about them like Canada Snow geese should.

Ramsey Russell: What’s the typical spread size?

Matt Schaur: It really depends. A lot of different guys do it a lot of different ways, and there’s different techniques for different weather, and you don’t want to put 1000 decoys out to hunt 200 geese, they’re going to be leery to it. But you just try to match the conditions and run what you need to get the job done without going too overboard.

Ramsey Russell: First time I ever hunted here with you, I never will forget this. One of the best white goose hunts I’ve ever been on. I joined a client, Chad Sumner, who still comes up here every year, it was just me and him that afternoon. And while the white trailer, we’d put out a very small spread, 2 chair, white hoodies and while the trailer was in the spread, the freaking Ross’s geese were killing that hilltop. I mean, it’s like I could almost hold my gun by my barrel and club them to death. They were piling in and the trailer backed away for the guide got there, we already had white birds on the ground, and I’m going to say an hour we were done, 40 white birds gone. It was just unbelievable. What would you say just an average number would be in a fall of decoy, 4 sacks worth?

Matt Schaur: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: 4 planter bag? 5 planter bags?

Matt Schaur: Guys running full bodies. Yeah, that would be sufficient for a lot of the fall hunts. Now, if you’re running windsocks, a guy needs more of them just because you can’t see the tree, because of the forest. So as your decoy quality goes down, you need to increase your numbers.

Ramsey Russell: I’ve never hunted with you running windsocks up here?

Matt Schaur: We have from time to time, we don’t do much of it. It’s full bodies here at our Saskatchewan camp.

Ramsey Russell: You ever put out silhouettes?

Matt Schaur: I don’t mess with the silhouettes up here, not because they don’t work, we cater to a clientele that wants the best, so we try to use the best of everything when it comes to equipment.

Ramsey Russell: Well, those decoys you all are running right now are some of the nicest ever put my hands on. They come up and down real quick and they look good.

Matt Schaur: They look good, they carry good, they transport good, they fool the geese.

Ramsey Russell: You all’s decoys have a hard life, don’t they?

Matt Schaur: They do. They get replaced frequently, especially the white ones, it’s hard to keep them clean.

Traveling for the Waterfowl Hunt

Ramsey Russell: And where do you go? You all wrap up around late October and you go south, where’s your next stop down the flyway?

Matt Schaur: Well, from here we’ve got a lodge in North Dakota.

Ramsey Russell: Okay.

Matt Schaur: Then after we get done North Dakota, we’ve got a place in Texas. And after we wrap up with our Texas hunts, our crew will shift over and get into the Arkansas spring snow goose. And then we’ll follow them back up Missouri and the Dakotas, and then again back here to Saskatchewan.

Ramsey Russell: You don’t chase snows in Texas, do you?

Matt Schaur: We do just a little bit of snow goose hunting in Texas, we’re more cranes and lesser Canada’s that kind of stuff.

Ramsey Russell: So when you move to North Dakota, you all are targeting snows?

Matt Schaur: We do. We do snow geese in North Dakota.

Ramsey Russell: Now the birds have left the staging area and they’re pushing to want to go start going south when they can. How does your strategy change and your approach to hunt snow geese? You’re scouting, what you’re looking for in terms of feeds, or does it change?

Best Decoy Spreads for Geese

And the Ross geese really like all the gadgets, as I call them. The different motion machines and stuff that’s out there, the Ross geese just eat that up. 

Matt Schaur: You’re still looking for the same thing when you’re looking for feeds to rewind a little bit, talking about that fall hunt in Saskatchewan and those birds wanting to die with the trailer and everything parked out there in the field. So those are the young of the year birds and in particular the Ross geese. When the migration comes down, the first birds, the first snow geese to leave the Arctic and show up here in Saskatchewan every year are Ross geese. And when they show up, you’re driving around scouting and all of a sudden you’re seeing snow goose feeds, fields covered in white, but it’s all white, you don’t see any blues in there at all. And when you see that, you know without even picking up the binos that it’s Ross geese.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, I lump them together. For the record, I lump snows and rosses together. When I say snow geese, I imply both of them because you see them close together. But that’s a damn good point, like right now, we’re seeing snows and blues together and a few Ross’s. The flocks that we’re seeing out there are mixed.

Matt Schaur: Yeah, there’s a few ross geese in these spots. But these are lesser snows that are here now, for the most part, there’ll be a few Ross, but it’s mostly snows.

Ramsey Russell: God bless Ross goose.

Matt Schaur: Yeah. Oh, Ross goose is my favorite for sure. It’s easy. That’s the easy revenge on snow geese is to hunt the Ross geese. And when those pockets of Ross geese first arrive in the fall, if a guy has an option to go hunt a field with 5000 Ross geese in it, or go hunt a field with 5000 snow geese in it, you better believe I’m going to go to those Ross geese, because they’re easy.

Ramsey Russell: It’s been my experience, though, where there’s one, there’s usually others and nothing lures adult snow geese into the decoys than a bunch of Ross’s geese leading away. They suck them right in.

Matt Schaur: They get them excited. And the Ross geese really like all the gadgets, as I call them. The different motion machines and stuff that’s out there, the Ross geese just eat that up. Especially in the fall, those young of the year Ross geese, I think their brains are a little slow to develop. I’ve seen it lots of times where you start shooting into a bunch and half of them will land despite the gunfire, just because they’ve never seen a person before, never been shot at before. Like you said, coming in with the trailer still parked there because they’ve got no reason to be afraid of a trailer.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, gosh, I love them. See, down in North Dakota, same pattern, you’ll find those pockets of Ross geese and target them?

Matt Schaur: So once they get into the Dakotas, snow geese kind of catch up with the Ross geese right here, we only have those pockets of Ross geese for a short period of time. And then they kind of start getting mixed together and as more snow geese come, they get more mixed up and you see less and less of those pockets of just Ross geese. Now, you’ll still see flocks that have a lot of Ross geese with them, but it’s less and less. And once you get down to the Dakotas, they’re pretty thoroughly mixed at that point.

The Best Hunting Guides for Spring Snow Geese

Each guide has a portion of that grid, that’s his responsibility, it’s his responsibility to scout it, to find the geese, but also to maintain farmer relationships within the area that he is in.

Ramsey Russell: The times I’ve hunted up here in the fall in Canada, you’ve got 5 or 6 guides out there beating the bushes, man. I mean, they’re going in different directions, everybody’s looking for the good feeds and when they find a good feed, they double as a guide because they found a good feed like that. I guess they all get together and say, well, you’ve got this and I got this, let’s go here. But that crew follows you down to North Dakota, that same staff. I’ve noticed a lot of your staff work with you most of the year. These aren’t like a guy working for you a month or two and then going back and doing something else, they follow you pretty much 10 months out of a year, a lot of your staff. That keeps them sharp, doesn’t it?

Matt Schaur: Well, to have really good employees, really good guides. The same people that are great hunting guides are great at just about anything they want to do. And if they want to be a hunting guide, they need year around employment. And that’s kind of how we expanded our business over and over, it was out of the necessity that to have the best guides in the industry, we have to keep them employed, otherwise they’re going to go build houses or they’re going to do any other of a million possible jobs because people with a great work ethic and great people skills can do anything.

Ramsey Russell: How many of those guides beat your door down wanting a job? Because, I mean, a lot of young people especially want to be in this. Everybody wants to be a duck or goose guide to the time to do real duck or goose guide shit. And we’re going to come around that like spring hunting in Canada. That’s a tough sleep schedule there, but is it really hard to find them? How many shake out a course of your career? I bet you find it good when you hang on to him.

Matt Schaur: The guys you get to meet here in Canada are the most elite, they’re our best guys. Anybody that works for us is going to start for us in the states on spring snow goose season, it’s kind of a low expectation hunt in comparison. And throughout that season, we’ll weed out the guys that can’t do it.

Ramsey Russell: That’s the proving grounds. That’s the bottom rung in your organization for a snow goose guide, let’s start them in Arkansas.

Matt Schaur: Yeah. And they start as an apprentice, they work a full season as an apprentice and if they make it through that season as an apprentice, and we feel they’ve got what it takes, then the next year they’ll come back and they’ll be a guide. And some of them might guide down there for their guiding career and never come to Canada. And the ones that really excel not just at being able to kill snow geese, but having the people skills and having all the other parts of it that make a great guide, those are the guys that we bring up to our camp in Saskatchewan and to our other camps.

Ramsey Russell: I like all you guides, I like all your staff. And think about the average 3 or 4 or 5 day hunt up here, you may hunt with all of them.

Matt Schaur: Yeah. There’s a good chance. Because like you said, we’ve got a very big area to hunt, we break it out into a grid. Each guide has a portion of that grid, that’s his responsibility, it’s his responsibility to scout it, to find the geese, but also to maintain farmer relationships within the area that he is in.

Ramsey Russell: They kind of got their own little precinct or own little beat, don’t they?

Scouting Hunting Locations

At the end of the night, they come back and everybody gets together and everybody puts on the table what they’ve got, and we look at it and we pick the very best hunt option for tomorrow. 

Matt Schaur: Yes. And every one of them is going out there and going to find the best possible hunt they’ve got in the area that they work with day in and day out. At the end of the night, they come back and everybody gets together and everybody puts on the table what they’ve got, and we look at it and we pick the very best hunt option for tomorrow. And that in itself is decided based on what kind of birds are in the field. Is it Ross geese? Is it snow geese? How many of them are there? How many days have they been there? Have they been consistent morning and night? Are they jumping around a lot? What kind of a field is it? What’s the crop? How much food? Is there? Is there somewhere to hide? What’s the wind direction? There’s so many factors that go into picking what is the best spot tomorrow morning. But when you try to hash it out –

Ramsey Russell: Do you all go, the guide shack? Like tonight, you all go to the guide shack, everybody comes in.

Matt Schaur: Yeah, everybody comes in.

Ramsey Russell: And you all start sitting around pow wowing?

Matt Schaur: Yes, everybody comes in, has a little pow wow, get it hashed out, and we’re communicating over the phone throughout the night. Our lead guide, Jake, does a real good job of getting everybody organized, collecting everybody’s intel as the scouts going on. So we’ve got a pretty good idea, well before everybody gets back what the plan is going to be. But there’s always some last minute change ups. Unfortunately, you never know what the field looks like until your geese have gone to bed. Yeah, it might look like the perfect hunt, perfect wind, perfect spot and you think they’re going to go roost on this lake that they’ve been roosting on for the last 2 days, and then they all go to this pond that’s 200 yards from where you want to hunt tomorrow morning that ain’t going to work.

Ramsey Russell: And sit over there and flip you the middle finger all day.

Matt Schaur: So these guys put in some long days because you don’t know where they’re going to sleep till the geese go to bed.

Ramsey Russell: It’s a young man’s job, isn’t it, really? I mean, normally to paint with a broad brush, snow goose guiding is a young man’s job.

Matt Schaur: Yeah, I’d agree with you there, but –

Ramsey Russell: I heard a great story. I ain’t going to say his name, even though I love him, I do, I love this guy, because all day yesterday I’m thinking to myself, this guy ain’t young, but he’s got the energy of a 25 year old and running. But you told me a story last night at supper about an older guide you hired. Do you mind telling that, sharing that story? I don’t want to say his name because I don’t want to throw him on the bus or embarrass him. But he’s an amazing guide for an older guy.

Matt Schaur: Oh, absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: But how he got the job to work with you was a great story. And somebody listening, and somebody probably is, think they want to do this for a living, ought to hear that story.

Matt Schaur: Well, he called me near twice a week for almost a year asking for a job, and he was older than any of the staff we had –

Ramsey Russell: Twice as old, maybe.

Entranced by Snow Geese

And I said, well, you’ve about taken away all my excuses, so we’re going to pay you, but come on, let’s just see what you can do. And, man, he picked it up and ran with it.

Matt Schaur: And he had been on one guided goose hunt. So he was wanting the job so he could learn how to hunt snow geese and I turned him down. I said, you’re too old for me to invest a bunch of time teaching you how to kill a snow goose, because you just won’t be able to do it. Well, I didn’t doubt that he could do it. I just didn’t think the longevity of his goose hunting career, because it’s hard on the body.

Ramsey Russell: Yes, it is.

Matt Schaur: And the hours are extreme, and you just really have to love it. But I kept turning him down and turning him down. Well, he ended up driving across the country.

Ramsey Russell: He lives out on the east coast.

Matt Schaur: He lives out on the east coast, drove all the way to Missouri, Mound City, Missouri area, and showed up at a field we were hunting. And was parked on the road, we were shooting some geese and shooting some taller geese down there, not too far from the refuge, a lot of pressure, and we got Geese sailing off to the edges of the field. All of a sudden, there’s this guy out there running around the field, grabbing our –

Ramsey Russell: You didn’t know him.

Matt Schaur: Didn’t know him, didn’t know who it was. He’s grabbing these crippled birds. Yeah, we didn’t know who he was. He’s grabbing these crippled geese and running around, I mean, just getting after, running after him, grabbing these crippled birds and hauling them back to his truck. And the clients, they had shot a lot of geese, and they were starting to debate what they were going to do with all the geese they had killed over the several days there and they’re cheering them on, they think this guy’s stealing all our geese and they’re like, all right, we can keep shooting geese, he’s taking them. Well, we stopped for lunch, and here he had all the geese sitting there at the truck waiting on them and he introduced himself.

Ramsey Russell: They talked fresh with you.

Matt Schaur: Yeah. He said, I’d like to talk about that job. I’m here.

Ramsey Russell: Drove 20 something hours to be there.

Matt Schaur: To be there. And tracked us down.

Ramsey Russell: Just to go fetch duck.

Matt Schaur: Tracked us down. And I said, man, I’m impressed. But at the time, I didn’t have any room in our budget or payroll to take on another guide, we were fully staffed for the season and I apologized, I said, I can’t do anything for you, we’re staffed, we don’t have any room in the budget. He says, you ain’t got to pay me, I just want to learn. And I said, even that, I can’t have you coming along, I don’t have anywhere for you to stay. All the lodges, everywhere we go, we’ve just got so many rooms. And he said, I’ll sleep on the floor, I’ll sleep in my truck, whatever it takes. And I said, well, you’ve about taken away all my excuses, so we’re going to pay you, but come on, let’s just see what you can do. And, man, he picked it up and ran with it.

Ramsey Russell: At one time, he was your head guide, wasn’t he?

Matt Schaur: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, he learned fast and he was completely entranced with snow geese and figuring them out and consistently killing them. He ran with it beyond what I ever would have expected. And, yeah, it wasn’t maybe 5 years into it, he was my head guide and running a lot of our crews that are operating in the US. And he retired for a few years, take care of his family and teenage boys and that stuff. But now he’s come back out of retirement to guide again and we’re glad to have him back.

Ramsey Russell: I mean, that’s just a testament. Never take no for an answer and be willing to pay your dues, if you want a job in this industry and be willing to freaking outshine the young guys. He works as hard as anybody I’ve ever met in this business. But he’s an older guy.

Matt Schaur: Yeah, absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: He is as old as my ass, but he’s old, you know what I’m saying? He’s an outlier of what it really takes to be a consistent snow goose guy.

Matt Schaur: Yeah. And I tell you, even today that he outworked near any young guy I’ve ever hired.

Evolving Decoy Spreads for Snow Geese

You see the way the geese react to it, you know the way the next geese are going to react, so you got to change it. 

Ramsey Russell: When you all hunt these geese, especially this time of year, but one thing that never ceases to amaze me when I come on to operation like you all, I think we’re running, whatever, 3 or 4 little bags, not a bunch, not a massive spread, not like what you see down the wintering grounds right now. But as a duck hunter, that’s my deal, I duck hunt, mostly puddle duck, that’s how I cut my teeth, that’s my wheelhouse, it’s puddle ducks. And I put a little old spread, it might be 40 yards wide maybe, but usually not. Use some decoys right here and kind of draw them in close. I say that’s pretty consistent to hunting puddle ducks or decoying ducks worldwide, snow goose spreads just blow that scale out of water. I mean, I would say yesterday that every day I’ve hunted snow geese up here, I’d say from the furthest decoy was just a couple of stragglers over there and a couple of stragglers way to the right, couple to the left, I’d say that’s at least a football field width. It takes a lot of energy just to put out all them decoy and cover a football field. And then you got that little pocket, you got that zone, you got that real white area, that’s what some birds are going to key in on somewhere near that electronic call. But that’s a lot of work. And the scale of a snow goose spread, whether it’s a bunch of decoys or little decoys, is massive compared to the average duck hunting spread. Wouldn’t you agree with that?

Matt Schaur: Oh, absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: It takes a lot of work.

Matt Schaur: Is does. It’s physically demanding.

Ramsey Russell: I was reminded to say that just because of thinking him last night, that guy was, he looked like Gilligan on fast forward, you know, what I’m talking about, when he walked real quick, the way he covered that ground and moved those decoys, that’s something else I’ve noticed every time I’ve hunted with you, those guys will set it up in the dark no matter what they’re hunting. Let a couple of plays go by and jump out, run the decoys, and it might not move, but 5 or 6 decoys, and it changes the game entirely on how those birds present themselves. That takes a lot of skill, a lot of experience to do that, doesn’t it?

Matt Schaur: It is. It’s a lot of time in the field. You see the way the geese react to it, you know the way the next geese are going to react, so you got to change it. If the way they react to it wasn’t right, if where they tried to land wasn’t what you wanted, you got to make that adjustment. And after seeing it enough times, having that experience in the field, watching the geese come in and what they do, you learn what needs to be adjusted so you make the change, see the next bunch, and maybe make another change or maybe you got it right in the first try.

Best Time to Hunt Snow Geese in North Dakota

And we’ve got new tricks for them every single season. Going into Arkansas, we’ve got a game plan, we’ve got ideas. 

Ramsey Russell: So back on snow geese. You all are in North Dakota, when do you all leave North Dakota? When are those snows through Dakotas and it’s time to close shop, move to Texas?

Matt Schaur: Well, some of our guys from Canada go straight to Texas because crane season and that stuff kicks off. We don’t get done Canada till the last day of October, and we start some crane stuff already on the 5th November. So some of our guys here in Canada go straight to Texas. We’ve got another lodge in North Dakota, that lodge actually opens the beginning of October, and we’ve got a full staff there now. A few of the guys from here will go and help in North Dakota on their way to Texas. Because as Texas is ramping up, North Dakota is kind of winding down. We’ll hunt in North Dakota through about the 15th, 16th November, after that, it gets pretty dicey with snowstorms and weather in the Dakotas –

Ramsey Russell: There can be some clippers, but it’s one clipper away from every bird gone.

Matt Schaur: Yeah. So it’s pretty dicey the later hunts in North Dakota, but very consistent early November.

Ramsey Russell: You wrap up Texas, I’m assuming late January, boom, now it’s Arkansas. Now I’m on the wintering grounds chasing these snows. I know there’s no snows, but I’m chasing them right there, starting the first week of February thereabouts?

Matt Schaur: Yeah.

Adapting to Every Snow Goose Season

And we’ve got new tricks for them every single season.

Ramsey Russell: How does the spread and the decoys and the patterns and the type of decoy and all that change between North Dakota in the fall, Canada in the fall, Arkansas in the spring. What are we looking at now? More decoys?

Matt Schaur: More decoys, more competition, hunting pressure once you get down to Arkansas is extreme compared to just about anywhere else in the country. So you got everybody and their brother after these geese. You’ve got to zig, when other people zag, you got to show them something different. They’re going to fly over multiple decoy spreads near every day that they’re in Arkansas anymore. So you’ve got to always be changing stuff and adapting stuff. And we’ve got new tricks for them every single season. Going into Arkansas, we’ve got a game plan, we’ve got ideas. Watching what other people are doing and making sure to do it a little bit different. Because I drive down the road in Arkansas looking at decoy spreads all over the place and most decoy spreads, I can tell you from 2 miles away, that’s decoys. I don’t want to be able to drive up to my decoy spread and be like, this is decoys, I want people to have to stop and look.

Ramsey Russell: Do you all put your decoys out every day like in Arkansas? Or are you all putting out a new spread every morning, or a couple of days?

Matt Schaur: It really depends on the conditions and what’s going on with the birds. Our spring hunts, we’re targeting almost exclusively migrating geese down there in Arkansas versus up here where we’re hunting feed run geese. These geese here in Canada, they’re on a roost, they go out to feed, and we’re going to be in that field where they were feeding the next morning. So they come in, we get them. Down there in Arkansas, those geese, initially at the beginning of the season, they’re kind of in their wintering grounds, they can be stationary and you can have some luck hunting them like that. But it doesn’t take very long into February, and those geese are migrating, they’re moving through, there’s geese from Louisiana moving into Arkansas and Arkansas moving into Missouri. When that happens, we’re focusing on getting on migration corridors, rivers, highway systems, things that the geese have followed year after year to make that northward migration. And then you’re talking big spreads, you’re trying to get the attention of Geese that are migrating –

Ramsey Russell: In Missouri?

Matt Schaur: Getting them to stop and feed.

Ramsey Russell: Missouri, you’re talking about?

Matt Schaur: Even in Arkansas. Yeah, because you still got those geese that are down the Gulf coast and Texas, Louisiana, coming up through Arkansas. And as the Arkansas season moves on, that’s the way we target those geese. But that’s a very different hunt. You can run around and chase those feed fields down there and you can find success doing it, it’s just very expensive to do it properly.

Ramsey Russell: Do you see a lot going on from time you set up shop? I’m throwing my first bread out here in Arkansas versus this is my last spread and I know I’m fixing to yank up and move to Missouri. Do you see a lot of behavior, like if they’re hitting wheat, if they’re hitting rice, if they’re laying up on water midday, do you see a change in the way those geese, they’re fixing the haul ass? It seems to me like in Arkansas, if I start seeing a lot of geese laying up on water, they’re probably hydrating and fixing to jump. Do you ever see that?

Matt Schaur: I wouldn’t say, I’ve seen, I guess I wouldn’t say that I’ve taken a lot of notes about geese, the amount of time the geese are sitting on water on any given day, we pay attention to the moon, the moon phases, full moon cycles, move snow geese on the spring migration, absolutely. They’ve gotten to where they migrate a lot more at night. That’s stuff we pay attention to, weather, temperature, as to what crops they’re feeding in, if they’re going to be in rice, they’re going to be in beans, or they’re going to be in wheat or corn, different grains have different proteins, bring different things to the table and geese will react to that as weather changes.

Ramsey Russell: What about the difference in fall Canada versus Arkansas? There may be some young birds, but they’ve molted out a little bit, they ain’t pure gray, and certainly they’re not as dumb as they were when they showed up here in September. Do you have to change anything without giving up any game seekers? Are there any little subtle changes you have to make because now you’re dealing with a more educated bird versus coming up. I guess up here, it’s a playground when those birds first coming off the arctic, but now you’re dealing with a more mature bird man. He knows what’s what.

Matt Schaur: Canada is a special place, it is a mature bird. We shoot a lot of bands up here during the spring season. The average age of the banded birds that we shoot in the Saskatchewan spring season is around 16 years old. They’ve been around, they’ve seen a lot. But the game changer for the spring season, what makes it so special and one of my favorite spring snow goose hunts is, I like to say it’s a snow goose rut. They’re preparing for that breeding stage, they’re pairing off, some days you’ll get a big spin going. You’ve got a bunch of geese coming, there might be 1000 geese in the flock. But before they get in there and commit to your decoys, that flock will just come apart into 500 pairs, and you’ll have pairs all over the place. You won’t just have this wall of geese like you see in the fall, you will have pairs of geese everywhere, and they’re pairing off. They’re in this snow goose rut, and the hormones are driving them, they’re not thinking the way they do the rest of the year. And on top of that, we’ve got all these geese up here eating this old barley that’s been in the fields, under the snow, it’s been sitting in water, it’s starting to ferment a little bit. And as they eat it, they go back to the water, and it continues to ferment in their crop. It’s not unusual to see a few of them that are a little loaded. I’ve seen them land in the decoys, you’re waiting for the bigger bunch to get in, you have a couple come in and land, and they act like they’re going to tip over. It’s a really unique circumstance. And on top of that, they’re just gorging on this grain because they’ve got to put on all this fat to go nest. Well, it makes them heavy, makes them fat. Like you were talking about those geese bursting when they hit the ground, by mid may, these geese will have a slab of butter on their chest that’s an inch thick and they can’t fly but as high as the treetops. Even if they’re coming into the decoys and they want to flare, they know that everything’s wrong, they don’t have the muscle power to do it because they’ve just gotten too fat. They’re coming into the guns whether they want to or not.

Goose Migration Patterns 

What else is it why those geese seem to change their behavior when they cross that border up here? Because they do. 

Ramsey Russell: When you run traffic back down to Arkansas, Missouri, when you run traffic like you’ve gone from Arkansas, now you’re in Missouri, and that’s pure on traffic. Man, those birds are flying through. Are you all trying to put out multiple spreads or static spreads just to catch those migration days coming through?

Matt Schaur: Yeah. Hunting in Missouri, you’re just big spreads, you’re on prime migration –

Ramsey Russell: Big spread, now you probably are throwing a lot of windsocks.

Matt Schaur: Thousands, and you have to go to the windsocks to get the numbers. Because you might be off the line a little bit one day to the next. You’re on a river system, you’re on a highway system, you’re on something that is going to drive that migration in your way. But if you got a strong east wind or strong west wind, that migration path can shift a little bit. And you need to be visible to those birds if they’re not on your exact path. And you need lots of speakers, lots of sound, you need to get their attention and that’s where the big decoy spreads come into play.

Ramsey Russell: And then do you all leave Missouri and come straight to Canada or do you all back to North Dakota?

Matt Schaur: No, we go first to South Dakota.

Ramsey Russell: South Dakota. Okay.

Matt Schaur: Yeah. And the Dakotas is all very similar, similar to Missouri.

Ramsey Russell: Running, traffic.

Matt Schaur: You’re still big spreads, you’re hunting migrating geese.

Ramsey Russell: Do you all ever do water sets?

Matt Schaur: We do some. We do some, like pasture ponds, things like that. Flooded sheetwater in any kind of field is always a nice place to be if it works out, other than it’s generally muddy in the spring.

Ramsey Russell: What’s it like, now we’re back up to Canada, I’m here. And why do those geese, you talked about, the Otis Campbell effect, I call it. What else is it why those geese seem to change their behavior when they cross that border up here? Because they do. It’s just a totally different critter here in the fall and here in the spring than hunting snow geese back home. It’s totally different.

Matt Schaur: It’s reduced hunting pressure is a huge thing that pressure comes off of them and they react. Snow geese react to pressure, and they react quick. Snow geese are just a bird that reacts fast to whatever the conditions, whether it’s food, weather, hunting pressure, snow geese react, and they react quickly. So as soon as that pressure comes off, they get it substantially easier to work with.

Ramsey Russell: What’s going on with Canada this year? First week of May, I know yesterday afternoon, tons of migrators coming in, your lake down here below the camp, which is kind of your barometric pressure of snow geese is practically void. What’s going on? Why is migration late, and how’s that changing your hunting strategy?

Matt Schaur: Well, this spring, we had a real late winter in the Dakotas. We held snow in South Dakota all the way through the month of March, that kind of set them behind schedule, and the snow in North Dakota was record setting levels again, kind of held them up even longer. So they were late to get into Canada this year and because they were held on that snow line for so long, they can only move so far in a day without recharging, refueling, feeding again, and it’s kind of put them behind. Even though the weather has been clear and nice now for a little bit to migrate, they’re behind on nutrition, so they got to catch up so they can make that next leg on the flight. So I would guess just from my notes and looking back, that they’re running about a week behind their normal schedule.

Ramsey Russell: Really?

Matt Schaur: We’ve got geese in the area and more geese showing up every day, but they’re definitely running a little bit behind schedule.

Ramsey Russell: It’s different up here, I’ll tell you that, it’s real different coming up here, there is less hunting pressure. There aren’t, the birds maybe a week behind. I told a buddy of mine coming up here next week, I said, you all are hitting it just right I got a feeling because the last few days, wind’s been out of South, moon’s pretty full, freaking birds piling in. And they might be hitting down this feed here, that feed there, that feed there, but they may not be stuck, they may just be bouncing around and just kind of browsing at the buffet and see what’s what. And of course, there ain’t no pulling them off 20,000 birds nearby on a roost, they’re not yet fractured into real make them pay rent flocks. That’s my observation, would you agree?

Matt Schaur: Yeah. When they first start arriving in any area, they need to find the food. And as they find the food, they go to this field, they’ll sit there for a little bit and they’ll hop to the next field and they sit there for a bit and they’re just hopping around till they really find the food. Where’s the most waste grain? When they find that food supply, then they’ll key in on it. And you give them a day or two on a spot, and they’re going to hitting that same spot every day. You know, they found the food and that’s when they get real predictable and that’s where the great snow goose hunting lies, is in those birds that you can count on to come back to that spot. And it takes a little bit for them to settle into that groove.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. And that’s just part of it. Nobody knows to the day when they’re going to hit that, this year they’re a week behind, next year they’re a week early.

Matt Schaur: Yeah.

Snow Goose Hunting Essentials

And that’s how you hunt snow geese with a 28 gauge, that’s how you hunt snow geese.

Ramsey Russell: But, boy, what a show they put on. Because whether you absolutely blister them or not, one thing I love about hunting in Canada in the fall and spring, I’ve never seen one of your staff or anybody call the shot at 80 yards. And Jake, that boy got nerves of steel. Yesterday, we had birds working us, we were covered up and I mean, buddy, they were starting to get that tight circle. There was 5 times I wanted to flinch and jump up, think he’s going to call the shot and he put his hand on my shoulder and say, be patient. Just be patient because they’re coming. And when he called a shot, they’re right there. Everybody gets a lot of good shots. You already got bird landing and walking in the decoy, it’s still the top, starting to spin real tight and come in. And that’s how you hunt snow geese with a 28 gauge, that’s how you hunt snow geese. The heck with a 3.5 inch magnum and super full choke, like, you might shoot further down the flyway, here, no they’re decoying, they’re coming in good, aren’t they?

Matt Schaur: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. And that’s all about just reading the birds and knowing what they’re willing to give you and the body language of the bird, the noises the birds are making, but it is. I know exactly what you mean. It’s hard, especially for a guy that hunts snow geese a couple of weeks a year versus a guy that hunts them all year. When those birds come over and they’re right there at 20 yards and they just look like cupcakes waiting for you to reach up and snatch them. But just by the feedback you’re getting from the birds, the guys have seen them do it enough times that we know that we don’t have to take them at 20 overhead because they’re going to make that loop around and we’re going to have them backpedaling. And that’s a shot you want.

Ramsey Russell: It’s all about the show. Jake said something to me, you were talking about bands earlier, 16 years old, and I asked, Jake you all shot any bands yet? And he said, man, we shoot a lot of bands in the spring. I said, I wonder why that is? He goes, because we’re targeting adults, because it’s adult birds. And he said, there’s more adult birds banded than juveniles and he said, this time of year, we really bring into bands. And I can see that because, like, in the fall, you probably shoot bands because you’re shooting waterfowl, but at the same time, if most of your bands are on adult birds and there’s a whole lot of gray birds mixed in because they’re dumping in, chances are you’re going to have to shoot way more geese to get a band than this time of year. I think he told me it’s like, 1 in 100 geese have a band on it or something, that’s a high percentage, man.

Matt Schaur: Yeah, I would say in fall, a group of 6 guys goes out and you shoot 120 snow geese, out of that 120 snow geese, you’re probably going to have 100 juvenile birds, young of the year birds. So those birds have had 3 months to encounter a biologist and get a band wrapped around their ankle. You come up and do the spring hunt, well, go out and shoot 120 snows on a hunt, you’re going to have 120 birds that are 15, 16, 17, 18 years old. Think of all the time that those birds have had to encounter that biologist and get that band wrapped around their ankle. I would say one in 100 adult snow geese wears a band, that’s a pretty accurate number, just going back through our records.

If You’re Not Early, You’re Late

Ramsey Russell: Max made a great observation this morning. Boy, he showed up fired up son, he was fired up this morning. And I can see why, when I saw those geese out there across the road. One thing I’d forgotten about Canada is, look, man, if you’re not early, you’re late. I don’t mind getting up early, I ain’t saying that, but it gets daylight at 5:00 up here, I mean, it’s daylight, broad daylight at 5:00 and it don’t get dark till 10:00, that’s a long day. I said something about and everybody was kind of quiet and the truck was first getting in there at 3:00 AM this morning. He says, well, one thing you learned as a guide up here, you nap at night and you sleep during the day when you can.

Matt Schaur: Yes, sir. That’s the best way to do it.

Ramsey Russell: It’s a long day, isn’t it?

Matt Schaur: Yeah, it is. Like you said, it’s leaving at 3:00, and the guys that are out there putting them birds to bed at night, they’re not back by 10:00, 10:30, 11:00 some nights.

Ramsey Russell: We’ll get up there and get set up, and we’ve been in the blind 2 hours, I’m out of coffee and my thermos and everything else, I look at my watch and it’s 7:00, feels like 10:00, it’s 7:00 in the morning. I’m like, it’s crazy being up here with that long daylight like it is. And I’m going to say it takes at least 3 hours from a time, the sky in the west kind of starts to sort of color up, make a pretty picture. 3 hours later, it’s over horizon. I’m like, I ain’t never seen such a long sunset in my life up here is this time of year.

Matt Schaur: Yeah, it’s pretty wild. The sunsets and sunrises last forever.

Goose And Crane Recipes

Oh, she’s probably got 50 different snow goose recipes.

Ramsey Russell: They sure do. One thing I think that you all really do good here, really do good, Jen’s cooking. Because you can’t control the migration, you can’t control the weather, you can’t control, there’s so many things in waterfowl, waterfowl especially snow geese, it’s just something about them, you know what I’m saying? They’re going to screw you every chance they get, they’re going to humble you. But a successful outfitter controls the controllables. You tell us, hey, you’re going to leave at X time and that truck’s right there, that van’s waiting on us, right there. I mean, it runs like clockwork, you know what I’m saying? So I applaud you all on that part of it. Jen, I showed up for about the 2nd or 3rd consecutive year, I said, where’s the cookbook? She’s working on it, isn’t she?

Matt Schaur: Oh yeah, that cook book is on it’s way.

Ramsey Russell: I was thinking she’s going to have a cookbook kind of like a church supper club, just one of little spiral bound Kinko’s copies, nah, this is going to turn into a production, isn’t it?

Matt Schaur: Oh, absolutely. We’re dealing with photographers and everything else and, yeah, we’re going to do it right.

Ramsey Russell: How many recipes do you think, if you had to guess, how many snow goose and crane recipes might Jen have developed over the years?

Matt Schaur: Oh, she’s probably got 50 different snow goose recipes. The big hits that we having, there’s a dozen that are the big hits, I would say.

Ramsey Russell: Like what are they? Give me some of the big hit. I know tonight we’re having Goose Oscar.

Matt Schaur: Yeah, we’re having Goose Oscar, that’s a big hit.

Ramsey Russell: That’s a big hit. That’s crab and shrimp topping. Hollandaise crab shrimp on top of goose.

Matt Schaur: Yeah. Crab, shrimp and a hollandaise glaze on there. I think maybe a little grilled asparagus or something in there as well. But that’s a big hit. Steakhouse Goose you had last night, that’s a hit.

Ramsey Russell: Boy that son of a gun. That was a good piece of goose meat.

Matt Schaur: One of the new ones she had last season, I’m not exactly sure where she came up with it, she calls it Fancy Goose.

Ramsey Russell: I think I have had fancy goose. I think I was up here this fall. What is fancy Goose?

Matt Schaur: I don’t know. There’s little bits of bacon and a little bit of potato and there’s some kind of a sauce and it’s amazing is what it is. That one’s probably my favorite and I couldn’t even accurately describe it.

Ramsey Russell: I like some better than others, but I’ve never had a bad one. The other night she cooked one, never in a million years would I have come up with this combination. First off, she’s tenderized the meat, so it’s not just a goose breast, it’s flat and it’s tenderized and she rolled it around, I think spinach and blue cheese.

Matt Schaur: Yeah. So she did blue cheese crumbles in there and some spinach that she fried in bacon grease.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, that’s why it was good.

Matt Schaur: And then a pepper, yeah, it was pretty unreal. And that’s a brand new one, you were a test subject, it doesn’t even have a name yet.

Ramsey Russell: Really? What are some of our other favorite ones? I can’t remember, I mean, you all cook goose every night or crane.

Matt Schaur: Yeah. We’ve always got goose there on our supper menu. Now we always have something else, we do all sorts of steak, we do all sorts of brisket and chicken, there’s always something else on there, you get the odd person that just ain’t going to eat a goose.

Ramsey Russell: That’s fine but she’s always got something else to compliment it. Like the other night, for something so simple, bacon wrapped meatloaf, that was good. I couldn’t eat no more by the time I got away from the table.

Matt Schaur: Yeah, I believe that. Well, and the crazy thing is the goose is what gets cleaned out on the buffet before anything.

Ramsey Russell: That brings up a point, that’s kind of, sort of what I’m getting at is, you have been at the snow goose game since conservation order, practically, either personally, but for most of that as an outfitter, it’s amazing to me that first week of May, late, here we are the first week of May, and you got truckloads of folks pulling up just like in the fall to come shoot snow geese. It hasn’t always been that way, has it?

Matt Schaur: There’s been demand for snow goose hunting for a long time, and we have huge demand for snow goose hunting now. I would say the difference really over the last 10 years is you meet less and less people that have never snow goose hunted.

Ramsey Russell: Right.

Matt Schaur: Everybody’s now just looking for the perfect snow goose hunt, looking for a better snow goose hunt.

Ramsey Russell: But I can remember in 1998, sitting into some meetings with Fish and Wildlife Service where they were canvassing, they’d go to Lafayette and managers would come in from around all that area down there just to brainstorm on trying to get the American public on board with conservation order season. And one of the specific little things on the whiteboard there for an idea we need to fix them is how to do is how to cook. That’s why I brought up Jen’s cooking. But you hear all this stuff, snow geese ain’t no good, a bunch of sky carp. I disagree, I disagree entirely. I think especially these spring birds, but also the fall birds, I think they’re some of the best eating thing on the prairie. I truly believe. I would rather have, I’d give you 5 Canada goose for one snow goose in terms of just table fair. Would you agree with that?

Matt Schaur: Yeah, absolutely. We eat snow geese, we cook snow geese. If I have to have my pick of the waterfowl world and a lot of people say, oh, you got to have speckle belly. Well, I’ll pick a snow goose.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. They’re very different up north, especially here in Canada, Matt, where you all are, they’re very different because once they get down, they’ve migrated all the way across continent down to Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and their physiological demands, they’ve got to have protein, they’ve got to rebuild that muscle and they lose a lot of fat. I think of a snow goose breast in January in Mississippi as being kind of triangular shaped, wedge shaped and when you get up here, it’s like a big old cinder block. And it’s like you pick these birds up, Char brings them in, you take hold of it, it’s like he’s wearing a down coat, just that fat layer. When you pick it up, it’s just solid skin and fat that’ll come off as easily as a sweatshirt. It’s unbelievable. It’s all fat, flavors in the fat.

Matt Schaur: Yeah, absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: Let me ask you another way, has Jen been able to convert, have you all been able to convert a lot of people on to, hey, this is good eating. I can imagine.

Matt Schaur: Yeah, absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: One fall I came up here with a guy from Mississippi who is in the restaurant business. And he told me one morning, he said, Ramsey, there is not a single thing she cooks, talking about snow geese, not one goose recipe that I wouldn’t serve at my restaurants. She said, it’s that good. That’s got to be the ultimate compliment.

Matt Schaur: Oh, yeah, it’s fantastic. And it’s a big part of what we set out to do when we first got going with lodges and the whole package deal where we supply everything. We had talked about what should our menu be? Do we want steak? Do we want pork chops? All this stuff. And me and Jen talked about it and kind of decided that we want to have some of that on the menu and have that option. But we’re never going to prepare you the best ribeye you’ve ever ate, we’re never going to make you the best pork chop you’ve ever ate. But I know for a fact we can give you some of the best snow goose you’ve ever ate.

Ramsey Russell: I agree.

Matt Schaur: There’s a lot less competitors in that marketplace.

Ramsey Russell: When do you all wrap up your spring snow goose hunting here in Canada?

Matt Schaur: Around the 18th to 20th May.

Ramsey Russell: Do you take bookings all year long?

Matt Schaur: Yes, we do. I encourage guys to try to plan a year in advance. A lot of our dates fill up well in advance. The fall dates in Canada especially, we’ve got a waiting list and just give us a call, talk about it, figure out exactly what you want to hunt, where you want to hunt it, and we’ll let you know what you need to do to get in.

Ramsey Russell: Folks, you all been listening to my buddy Matt Schaur, Northern Skies Outfitters up here in Canada. Get all the information on and contact him directly. He’s always available, trust me. You call, he’s going to answer, you email, he’s going to reply back promptly. There’s something about snow geese, if you don’t believe me, come up here to northern skies in the fall and come back in the spring to heck. What else are you going to do in the month of May but come up here and shoot snow geese? Thank you all for listening to this episode of Duck Season Somewhere, we’ll see you next time.



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Tom Beckbe The Tom Beckbe lifestyle is timeless, harkening an American era that hunting gear lasted generations. Classic design and rugged materials withstand the elements. The Tensas Jacket is like the one my grandfather wore. Like the one I still wear. Because high-quality Tom Beckbe gear lasts. Forever. For the hunt.

Flashback Decoy by Duck Creek Decoy Works. It almost pains me to tell y’all about Duck Creek Decoy Work’s new Flashback Decoy because in  the words of Flashback Decoy inventor Tyler Baskfield, duck hunting gear really is “an arms race.” At my Mississippi camp, his flashback decoy has been a top-secret weapon among my personal bag of tricks. It behaves exactly like a feeding mallard, making slick-as-glass water roil to life. And now that my secret’s out I’ll tell y’all something else: I’ve got 3 of them.

Ducks Unlimited takes a continental, landscape approach to wetland conservation. Since 1937, DU has conserved almost 15 million acres of waterfowl habitat across North America. While DU works in all 50 states, the organization focuses its efforts and resources on the habitats most beneficial to waterfowl.

It really is Duck Season Somewhere for 365 days. Ramsey Russell’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast is available anywhere you listen to podcasts. Please subscribe, rate and review Duck Season Somewhere podcast. Share your favorite episodes with friends. Business inquiries or comments contact Ramsey Russell at And be sure to check out our new GetDucks Shop.  Connect with Ramsey Russell as he chases waterfowl hunting experiences worldwide year-round: Insta @ramseyrussellgetducks, YouTube @DuckSeasonSomewherePodcast,  Facebook @GetDucks