N.C. snow geese — the Wild West of waterfowling

snow geese

Snow geese hunting is prime in eastern N.C.

Where’s the best place to kill snow geese? You might think Canada, the Dakotas, or Nebraska. You can kill your share in those locales, but you can kill just as many in eastern N.C. during February and March.

Eastern North Carolina is one of the biggest overwintering grounds in the world for snow geese, thanks to the expanse of agricultural fields in close proximity to vast wetlands. According to the USFWS, upwards of one million snow geese travel the Atlantic flyway. These birds make short stops in New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia before making it to North Carolina, the southernmost point of their travel.

Once in North Carolina, snow geese stay put until it’s time for them to fly back up north as the weather warms up heading into spring.

Waterfowl hunters looking to extend their hunting seasons — or just those wanting to shoot something different than wood ducks, mallards and Canada geese, will find an eye-opening experience in the Elizabeth City area. According to Charlton Thornton a/k/a Capt. Froggy of Captain Froggy’s Guide Service, hunting snow geese here is like the Wild West.

“The numbers of snow geese here is unbelievable to hunters who’ve never been here. The sky is just littered with them. And in the late season, shotgun plugs are not required. And there’s no limit. Being able to shoot geese all day long with an unplugged gun is a waterfowler’s dream. That’s especially true right now, when other waterfowl are so highly regulated,” said Thornton (252-661-7222)

Late season means no limits, unplugged guns, extended shooting times

The late season he’s referring to is coming up fast. Feb. 15 – March 31 is the latest season in the Carolinas, and it’s only open for snow and Ross’s geese. And according to NCWRC regulations, hunters can use electronic calls and unplug their shotguns. The season has extended shooting hours to 1/2-hour past sunset. And hunters are bound by no daily big limit — and no possession limit.

Even right now through Feb. 13, hunters can kill 25 snow geese per day. Shotguns must be plugged through the 13th, but hunters aren’t complaining, thanks to the large numbers of geese in the area.

So what’s a hunter that’s not from Eastern N.C. and has no contacts in the area to do? How can they get in on such a “Wild West” style hunt? Capt. Froggy makes it easy! He has all the connections with land owners. And he also has thousands of snow goose decoys — and this is imperative to killing these birds.

“If you have a field with less than 500 decoys, these geese won’t even consider landing. You need a minimum of 1000 in an area to get a look from them,” he said.

You might think such a hunt would cost thousands of dollars — because where else in the Carolinas can you even see snow geese? But it’s one of the most inexpensive outdoor outings available to hunters.

All you have to do is show up and hunt

And the best part is, everything is taken care of. You don’t have to ask landowners for permission, you don’t have to scout out the areas. Capt. Froggy takes care of all that. You just have to show up ready to shoot, and prepare to give your shoulder a workout.

“We are currently taking bookings for the late snow goose season. The cost is $150 per gun, with a six-person minimum. And if you don’t have a big enough group, we will make up groups. Our current open dates are March 2, 4, 9, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, and 26,” he said.

These hunts book up fast. And if you’ve never been on one of these hunts, you truly don’t know what you’re missing. It’s an absolute blast in more ways than one. Call 252-661-7222 to book your hunt now. Turkey hunting season is still months away. Blast an unlimited number of geese before then.

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About Brian Cope 2087 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of CarolinaSportsman.com. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@sportsmannetwork.com.

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