Field & Stream Online Editors


Tired of watching snow fly? Head to northwestern Missouri and watch the snow geese fly instead. Home to one of the Central Flyway’s top staging areas, the Show-Me State led the nation’s spring snow goose harvest last year with more than 140,000 birds taken. Just north of Kansas City, Smithville Reservoir and the Squaw Creek and Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuges lie amid a sprawling expanse of corn and beanfields, drawing more than a million of the big white geese in spring.

“Our hunters are astounded by the number of birds they see,” says guide Tracy Northup, who operates Up North Outdoors in the Mound City area near Squaw Creek. “On our best day last year, we took 154 geese from one field. On average, though, we kill 10 or 20 geese, which is a good hunt.” Exactly when in March to visit northwestern Missouri is a toss-up. “Goose numbers typically peak here in the beginning of the month and can get spotty after the 20th,” Northup says. “However, the juvenile birds tend to fly through late, from mid-March through the end of the month. So you’ve got numbers on one hand and gullible birds on the other.”

There is limited public hunting on the Smithville Reservoir. The surrounding farmland is mostly private, but landowners are known to be willing to allow access for snow geese hunts.

Season Dates: **Open through March
**Bag Limit:
Nonresident License: $6
Guide Fees: **$190 per gun for a full day
Up North Outdoors, 563-382-0530;

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