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Thursday, October 18, 2018
Hunt clubs offer up great options

White geese expected to make timely arrival in Imperial Valley
Snow and Ross’ goose hunters should enjoy another successful season of hunting on the south end of the Salton Sea. Last year produced pretty good gunning at Wister Wildlife Refuge, and the Union Tract also had a couple of good days of goose gunning.

Western Outdoor News checked in with wildlife biologist Tom Anderson, who heads up operations at the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge (760-348-5278) to get his take on the upcoming white goose season that begins on Nov. 3 for all of Imperial county. The late white goose hunting season will begin on Feb. 2, 2019 and run through Feb. 18.

SNOW GEESE HEADING SOUTH — Huge flocks of snow and Ross’ geese are now beginning their southerly migration to wintering grounds in the Imperial and Sacramento valleys. This flock of some 10,000 mixed white geese were just moving out of Canada during an early October trip into Canada with master guide Don McCrea of Saskatoon Waterfowl Outfitters. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

“Last week there were only about 100 white geese on this refuge and this week another 500 geese arrived. I would believe that after this month’s full moon phase that bunches of white geese will arrive on the refuge. Last year the final count on white geese stood in excess of 30,000 geese and I would have to think that will be about the same number that will be staying on the refuge over this winter,” said Anderson.

Anderson went on to add, “Our fields are in great shape, the ponds are already flooded with fresh water and there is plenty of feed available in the ponds to feed the hungry birds as they begin to arrive in the valley. The Union Tract should shoot pretty good this season again, as we have farmed around blind sites and the fields look good. With a steady irrigation system and the right amounts of fertilizer, feed has really come up strong this year. There should be plenty of green crops available to hold the geese right up to the start of their northerly migration, which traditionally kicks off towards the middle of February.”

Next on WON’s contact list was Rick Francis, Wildlife Habitat Supervisor I, for Wister, who filed the following report.

“There are very few snow geese on Wister at this time. Even over this past week’s full moon phase, we are only seeing a couple dozen white geese on this refuge. The refuge staff has planted 50 acres of the Y14 closed zone with rye grass and they are currently planting another 50 acres, which should be completed by the end of the week. In addition, hunt unit 115B2 was planted with rye grass and hunt site T10 has wheat coming up as its main food source for waterfowl, and is scheduled for additional planting of rye grass. Other hunting sites that are on target for planting rye grass are: U10-2 and U10-4 was also planted with wheat and then these two sites will also be planted with more rye grass,” said Francis.

Francis went on to add, “As to where the best white goose hunting might take place, based on last year’s production and the status of hunt sites, hunters should consider the above list of crop planted fields and hunt site S10, as the dominate goose hunting sites early in the season. By late in the season the best goose hunting should take place in hunt units 413 west, 312B, 115B, as the bulrush is heavy in these areas and will be used daily by both snow and Ross’ geese.

Word from Cibola Valley is that only a few white geese have showed up on the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge and some Canada geese are finally starting to trickle in. Bob Corbett, co-owner of the Cibola Sportsman’s Club (702-835-0529), called in to report that he hasn’t seen much in the way of newly arriving geese yet, but expects there should be a huntable population in the valley by the first week of November.

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