Snow geese require special shot choices, sizes and shotgun chokes

Full-choked shotguns and large, heavy loads of non-toxic shot are the norm when targeting snow geese.

Snow geese travel thousands of miles to reach their southern wintering grounds. After hunters study the flocks and finally get a group to creep into shotgun range, the hard part is over, and hunters need to use their equipment to bring them to the dirt.

While some aspects of hunting snow geese are hard to control, making the right load and choke choices is simple.

Snow geese are fairly tough birds to bring down because of their feathers and a thick layer of down, but a heavy load of steel, bismuth, tungsten or other non-lead matrix will blast through any protection a goose has.

Unfortunately, the majority of the shots on snow geese are not exactly in improved-cylinder range; most may be at 50 or 60 yards. A full choke specifically made to handle steel shot should be used to keep the pellets congregated for as long as possible.

Shot type and size are big topics. Back in the time of lead shot,  shell cost was never an issue, but since it was outlawed for hunting waterfowl, manufacturers keep cooking new alloys that fly and have the same properties as lead. Specialty loads, such as bismuth and tungsten are very expensive and can make a hunter think twice about taking a shot.

As far as shot-shell loads, penetration is the most-important factor; it’s basic physics. Bigger shot penetrates deeper and is more effective, no matter what the alloy.

Hunters should always use large shot for snow geese, with BB the smallest acceptable size and BBB, T and F very acceptable sizes. And steel shot is more than adequate to take down a snow goose at 68 yards in the sky. At the end of the day, if the shotgun is pointed at the right spot to a target in range, the pellets will do their job.

Geese don’t come into range very often, and hunters need to have faith in their shot choice and go with it. They should always commit to utilize the right loads and proper choke long before they enter the field.

About Jeff Burleson 1310 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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