Snow Goose Hunting: Tips to Gear Up for the 2024 Season


February 9, 2024


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Snow Goose Hunting

The snow goose is a type of migratory bird that halts in the province of Quebec every year. This species, which breeds in the cold climate of the far north, can be hunted in the fall, as well as during a brief period in the spring. You missed out on trying or practising snow goose hunting in 2023? Get ready for 2024. Whether you’re just starting out or have already logged a few seasons of this exciting hunt involving calls and decoys, check out these tips from Michel Bouchard, FédéCP member and Director General of the Association des Sauvaginiers du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. You want to know how to hunt snow geese in the best possible conditions? You’ve come to the right place.

In this article, you will explore the techniques and equipment you need for successful snow goose hunting:

  1. Essential Facts About Snow Geese
  2. Necessary Equipment for Snow Goose Hunting
  3. Snow Goose Hunting Techniques
  4. Where to Go Snow Goose Hunting
  5. FAQ

Essential Facts About Snow Geese

The first step when you take an interest in snow goose hunting is to get to know the species well. Michel shares with us the most important facts to know about the snow goose.

Snow geese breed in the far north, giving birth to three to five young per brood. The species is considered overabundant, which is why hunting quotas have been increased to reduce the overall population and preserve breeding sites and habitats of other species.

In the far north, the snow goose population is strongly linked to the lemming population. When there are many lemmings, Arctic foxes, which are major predators of the snow goose, have enough to feed on and do not go after the young geese.

Snow geese migrate in March. They leave the Arctic lands and move to the regions bordering the St. Lawrence River. The first ones arrive in early April. In December at the latest, the geese leave the river banks to spend the winter on the east coast of the United States.

Snow Goose Hunting Regulations

Snow goose hunting happens in the fall. It runs from September to late December. In Quebec, a conservation hunting period also opens in May due to the excessive population of snow geese. This is a great opportunity to start snow goose hunting in the spring of 2024!

The harvest limit is set at 20 birds per day, with no possession limit. Michel notes that most of the hunters’ catches are usually young geese born in the year. Juveniles are indeed more likely to be attracted by the decoys used by hunters.

Of course, in addition to observing hunting seasons, you must also have a valid migratory game bird hunting permit. This federal permit also allows you to hunt during the spring conservation snow goose season.

Refer to the summary of migratory bird hunting regulations to find the specific open season dates for snow goose hunting.

Necessary Equipment for Snow Goose Hunting

Whether you’re just starting snow goose hunting in 2024 or have many seasons of experience, equipment is always a crucial factor to consider. Here, Michel shares his recommendations so you can maximize your chances of harvest.

Snow Goose Hunting Regulations

Let’s start by discussing firearms, and shotguns in particular. Michel reports that about 90% of hunters use 12-gauge shotguns. Semi-automatic, pump action, or over/under shotgun – the choice is yours to make and depends on your preferences. Just remember to bring interchangeable choke tubes so you can adapt to different hunting situations and shooting distances.

The use of rifles for snow goose hunting is prohibited by regulations, as it is for all migratory birds. Regarding ammunition, it is prohibited to use lead shot cartridges; look for cartridges with steel or tungsten pellets. Michel recommends carrying a good supply: at least two or three packs for each hunting trip.

Clothing and Boots for Snow Goose Hunting

Clothing for snow geese hunting

Aside from the short conservation hunting period in the spring, the action mostly takes place in autumn. Because it’s a field hunt, it’s important to pay attention to your camouflage outfit in order to blend in as seamlessly as possible with your surroundings. Choose colours that match the environment and the season, with a predominance of beige and brown tones. Important note: you don’t need to wear an orange bib to hunt migratory birds. That’s all the more reason to perfect your camouflage! You should also cover your face with a mask to be as concealed as possible.

Fall hunting also means waterproof hunting clothing. You want to be prepared in case it rains during your hunting trip, so you don’t have to cut your day short. Wear a jacket warm enough for the season, but avoid overly warm parkas (keep in mind that it’s a fall hunt, not a winter one). Still, make sure you have sufficient coverage: snow goose hunting involves long moments of stillness.

Calls and Decoys

According to Michel, most hunters who use game calls for snow goose hunting opt for electronic calls. Some also use mouth calls as a complement. If you choose the first option, place the call about 10 metres from your hide.

When it comes to decoys, quantity matters. Michel points out that it’s common to use dozens (or even hundreds!) of decoys. Ideally, you should combine your decoys with those of your fellow hunters to replicate a flock of snow geese in your target field. If you’re just getting started, you probably don’t have six dozen decoys to place in the field to attract your prey. Michel recommends having at least two or three dozen and adjusting your strategy accordingly (more on that later).

Snow goose hunting blinds

Snow goose hunting typically involves using a blind. The goal is simple: you want to hide from your prey as effectively as possible. A good method is to cover the blind with straw or hay that matches the colours of the field where you’re hunting. Some blinds have elastic bands to make this easier.

Michel, for his part, likes to install his blind on small fence lines or in wooded areas between two fields. There are several possibilities for the orientation of a blind. Some are more elevated, others more “horizontal.” You can choose to sit or lie down, depending on your preference.

Any Other Essentials?

Who has never realized they’ve forgotten something in the middle of a hunting trip? What else do you need to consider once you have your decoys, game calls, and hunting clothing ready?

Not much more than that, in fact. Michel reminds us, however, that it’s important to pack a water bottle and a small lunch or something to nibble on for those long hours of waiting. We’ve mentioned this before: don’t forget to bring several choke tubes to adjust to the conditions.

Snow Goose Hunting Techniques

Snow Goose Hunting Techniques

During both the fall and spring hunting seasons, snow geese travel in flocks of hundreds (or even thousands) of birds. When it comes to hunting techniques, Michel insists on one thing above all else: scouting. The action really begins the day before the hunt, when the hunter scours the target area to spot geese feeding in the fields. Don’t forget to ask for permission before setting up on private land!

On the big day, set up when it’s still dark, and remember that you won’t be able to take your first shots until thirty minutes before sunrise. Return to the scouted area well in advance to give yourself time to install your decoys. Later in the fall, it’s best to set up as early as possible, as snow geese may spend the entire day in the fields.

As far as weather conditions go, what you want is a fair wind. Geese are more mobile when it’s windy. On windless days, they’re more likely to stay in the water, under the sun, and only go to the field for a few short hours during the day.

Method #1: Attract Geese to the Front of the Blinds

This is the most widely used technique for snow goose hunting. The idea is simple: hunters place their decoys in a field to attract flocks of snow geese. Good placement of the decoys is essential. Snow geese land facing into the wind; factor this in when laying out landing zones and position yourself accordingly, within thirty metres, for effective shooting. Place your decoys around and in front of your blind to encourage the birds to land there.

If there is no wind, snow geese can land almost anywhere, which won’t make your job any easier.

Method #2: Attract Geese to Fly Above the Blinds

This technique is called “pass shooting.” Similar to the first method, it also consists of arousing the geese’s curiosity with decoys, this time placed behind the blind. The birds then fly over the blinds to land, and hunters can shoot while their targets are in the air.

This option is suitable for hunters with a limited number of decoys (two or three dozen) or those who are unable to set up in a field, and therefore stay on the outskirts.

Method #3: Hunting Along the Edge of Feeding Areas

The idea here is to attract the more curious geese, without necessarily attracting the entire flock. Your goal is to lure a few birds closer to the decoys, which are typically positioned behind the blind.

When hunting along the edge, hunters are positioned on the perimeter of a field where snow geese come to feed rather than directly in it. This allows them to target the adventurous geese that move away from the fields and towards the decoys.

Good to know: Michel notes that ducks and Canada geese tend to stay close to the field where they feed. This is less true of snow geese. If shots are fired in a field, the birds may not come back the next day. That’s one of the advantages of hunting along the edge; taking a shot at a single curious goose that has wandered off has less chance of scaring the rest of the flock away from the field.

Method #4: Stalking

Stalking requires the least equipment, but it is far from being the most popular technique for white goose hunting. It’s also not a favourite among hunters who use decoys. The reason is simple: when stalking, the slightest shot can send the whole flock fleeing, or at least make the geese warier. Besides, this type of hunting is far from being the most fruitful.

And remember, stalking does not exempt you from asking for permission to hunt on private land either.

Where to Go Snow Goose Hunting

Snow goose hunting can take place in the spring during the conservation period, and in the fall. In both cases, hunting is usually carried out in a field, after obtaining permission to be on private land. You can also book a hunting trip at an outfitter.

To hunt snow geese, you need to go to their migratory corridor in central Quebec. The province boasts a number of outfitters where you can hunt migratory birds in ideal conditions. This is a great option if you’re just starting out and want to learn the ropes with a guide!


Firearms, clothing, techniques… With Michel Bouchard’s valuable advice, you now have the basic knowledge to start hunting snow geese in the spring or fall of 2024, or to maximize your catches if you’re already a hunter. You’ve got the theory, now it’s time to put it into practice. May your season be fruitful!


1. Where can you hunt snow geese?

2. When is the open season for hunting in 2023 and 2024?


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