The answers from four longtime guides and hunters might surprise you
If you want to watch a fight, mention jump-shooting to a group of die-hard snow goose hunters, and then grab a cold drink, sit back and listen to the fireworks.
Depending on whom you ask, jump-shooting spring light geese is an efficient, ethical way to kill a bunch of birds or the dirtiest, most lowdown form of bushwhacking in waterfowl hunting. (Of course, almost everyone would agree that jump-shooting goose roosts is anathema, but some folks also look down on jump-shooting birds in fields or loafing ponds.)
We posed the quandary to four longtime snow goose guides and hunters. Their opinions might surprise you.
“Tough call there,” says Tony Vandemore, owner of Habitat Flats in Sumner, Missouri, and longtime snow goose outfitter. “At the end of the day, yes it's OK to jump-shoot snows if you have permission on the ground. We have the spring season because goose populations are out of control, and you can kill a bunch of them in short order jumping them. What I don't care for about jumping is the non-snow species — specks, ducks, little Canadas — that can get killed in the jump. I've seen it too many times driving down the road, with people out picking up geese from a field that has been jumped, and I see specklebellies or ducks lying there as well. The permission part is a big one for me, too. As a decoy hunter, I've had numerous feeds jumped by people that didn't have permission. That ruins it for everybody.”
We have the spring season because goose populations are out of control, and you can kill a bunch of them in short order jumping them.
Troy Maaser, a champion caller and longtime snow goose guide for Neu Outdoors, agrees.
“I don't have a problem with it,” he says. “Like everything, it has its upsides and downsides. The upside is it gets birds moving for guys hunting decoy spreads. The downsides are that it pushes birds out of an area and non-target birds might get shot.”
Brandon Martin, creative director for Banded and founder of DayBreak Outdoors, says his hunting group in southeastern Missouri has no problem with people jump-shooting fields and loafing ponds. He typically hunts permanent spreads over standing water, so jump-shooting can actually benefit his hunting.
“Any time there are geese sitting down to the south of us on migration days, it completely cuts our traffic off,” he says. “A lot of times, we hope there are a lot of jump-shooters out so it keeps geese up and moving throughout the day instead of having a big feed anywhere around us.”
Also, Martin says, massive concentrations of snows can be a nuisance, and jump-shooting helps alleviate that.
“With these 10-, 15- or 20-year-old geese, that's about the only way you can possibly kill them is by jump-shooting them,” he says. “Guys who might not like it are the folks chasing feeds. They finally get permission and then jump-shooters go ahead and hit that field. Their feed is now done for unless they can get permission on the next field those geese go to. It's good for some and bad for others. It just depends on what kind of hunting situation you're in.”
Graham Greseth, owner of MaXXed Out Guides, who outfits for spring snows in Kansas and South Dakota, also has no issues with people jump-shooting snows. He views it as simply another form of legal hunting.
“Snow goose hunting done right is a very large investment that's not reasonable for the average hunter,” he says. “In my opinion, it's every hunter's right to hunt how they can, as long as they are doing it ethically and legally — not trespassing, retrieving the birds and cleaning and eating them. In addition, this is a one-of-a-kind conservation hunt. The goal of this hunt is to help reduce this population, not manage it. Hunters who are doing that legally and ethically should be allowed to do that and should not be condemned for doing so, in my opinion.”