Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

On Heels of Fine Duck Season, Good Goose Hunting Expected

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

On Heels of Fine Duck Season, Good Goose Hunting Expected

Article excerpt

With the best duck season in decades winding down, it's time to start goose hunting.

The duck season, in which many area hunters had their best shooting since the 1970s, is apparently about over, even though the season locally runs through Dec. 16. The freeze of early last week, though, all but closed Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa to the birds and greatly reduced the open water available around here.

Reports from Louisiana indicate that's where most of the flyway's ducks are - 3.8 million at last count. The birds remaining here are mostly late-migrating mallards and large divers.

Though the goose hunting season has been open for weeks in this area, the real hunting is ahead. Last week's cold and heavy snow apparently started the migration out of Wisconsin toward southern Illinois. Those Canadas, which eventually will winter in Missouri, apparently are still hanging on in western Minnesota.

Good, but not great, hunting is expected this year in southern Illinois, where Canada geese are important in the tourist industry. The flock of Canadas that historically winters in southern Illinois and environs is huge this fall, about 1.32 million. Whether that big flock translates into good hunting remains to be seen because most of the birds are adults and are usually hard to hunt.

Here's how to find goose hunting in southern Illinois:

Public areas

Union County, near Ware, has 35 blinds (70 hunters), some of which are filled by reservation holders who applied in August. Most days, though, pit space remains available to hunters who show up at the headquarters by 5 a.m. and enter the standby drawing. Blinds cost $30 a day and decoys are available for rent. For information call (618) 833-5175.

Horseshoe Lake, near Olive Branch: The 23 pits are filled each day with a drawing one hour before shooting time. Hunting is free, but hunters must bring at least a dozen decoys. Call (618) 776-5689.

Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, near Marion: The 46 blinds (26 land, 20 water) are allocated each day at a check station on Crab Orchard Lake about two miles south of the Carterville crossing on new Route 13 between Marion and Carbondale. …

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