Hunting; the thing that jolts you out of bed at 3am, convinces you anything remotely close to 32 degrees is warm, and keeps you wired even though you haven’t moved in 3 hours.
Snow goose hunting is one of the most challenging and exciting forms of hunting, offering an opportunity to pursue one of North America’s most elusive birds. Recently, the GForce team had the opportunity to embark on a snow goose hunting trip with a group of friends in Redfield, South Dakota. We joined forces with the Waterfowl Assassins team, a group of experienced guides who specialize in hunting the Central and Mississippi flyways.
Day 1: The Journey Begins
Our story starts in the small town of Redfield, SD located in Spink County. An area known for its excellent hunting opportunities, especially with waterfowl and pheasant hunting. Navigating the journey from Reno, NV to Redfield, SD was an adventure in itself. We flew into Omaha and drove the monotonous five hours to Redfield.
Our team consisted of myself, Travis, the COO of GForce, Jim, a friend that guides in Alaska for big game, and Clay, a long time friend that guides waterfowl in Colorado. It was our first time meeting and working with the skilled team at Waterfowl Assassins, including JR, Cody, and Chasen. They provided us with valuable insight into how the birds were moving and what we could expect in the upcoming days.
Over the next few days, our goal was to put the new GForce One models to work under real-world conditions to test our design improvements before our upcoming release to the general market. That evening, over a few beers, we spent a few hours getting to know each other and making a game plan for the following day.
Day 2: The Hunt Begins
We woke up early at 3:30 AM and drove two hours south to the town of Armour. We had permission from a local farmer to hunt on his land and quickly got to work setting up the decoys and layout blinds. South Dakota showed its true colors with a temperature high of 10 degrees. Electronic calls are only legal during the spring season, and we wasted no time getting them setup. There was no shortage of birds moving around on this frigid morning. Unfortunately, they were flying very high due to crystal clear weather.
We spent the morning sitting in the blind, watching the birds fly overhead but not coming close enough to shoot. Nonetheless, it was awesome to see bands of thousands of birds flying overhead. Afterwards, we decided to grab a quick bite at a roadside diner in town before moving to another location 10 miles north of the last spread. When we arrived, we were thrilled to see snows everywhere, flying low and setting in. We quickly moved into the spread and got ready.
The GForce One performed exceptionally well, right out of the box without any oiling or cleaning. We shot 80 birds at this location and even jumped some birds on the way back to the lodge to total about 150 birds on the day. Once we got back, we spent three hours cleaning all 150 birds.
Beer and bloody clothes was the theme of the night. We turned in quickly after the work was done to be rested for the next day.
Day 3: Mother Nature Isn’t Always on Our Side
Hoping for another epic day, we set our alarms for 3:30 AM to make the drive south to our previous location. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side with conditions similar to the previous early morning. We laid in the blind and watched as the birds flew too high to shoot. As much fun as birdwatching was, we opted for a warm restaurant and some hot food instead.
We decided to end our day early and head back to the lodge as all the birds were hunkered down due to the blizzard expected to come in the next day.
We spent the rest of the afternoon and into the early evening sharing hunting stories over a few rounds of drinks. With years of big game guiding experience in Alaska, Jim won the award for the wildest stories. He kept the evening interesting by sharing everything from wolf encounters, bear attacks, and amazing trips. Later that evening, we were joined by the next group coming to stay at the lodge, a father son crew from Minnesota. In addition, they arrived with the Final Flight Outdoors team consisting of Luke and Troy. Both are experienced waterfowl guides based out of Minnesota. It was great to see new faces which added some excitement and energy for the next day.
Day 4: Final Day
With a blizzard rolling in and icy road conditions, our treacherous 3:30am drive south was slow and steady. Luckily, we arrived without incident. The clouds were low and so were the birds with the strong winds moving them around. We were thrilled to see a large variety of birds buzzing around; pintails, shovelers, gadwall, and luckily some snows. With the moisture and freezing temps the GForce One was wet and frozen in the blinds, but when it came down to pulling the trigger it performed perfectly. We shot a couple birds, but the quantity of snow geese flying was a lot less compared to the past couple of days. After a few hours, we decided to call it a day and headed back to town for some food and warmth. After a warm cup of cheeseburger soup and a hot reuben, we said goodbye to our new friends and wished them luck on the rest of their trip in South Dakota. The Minnesota crew and Waterfowl Assassins team pushed on while we made our journey back to Omaha for our final trip back to Reno, NV.
Snow goose hunting is a thrilling adventure that tests your skills and endurance as a hunter. Our trip with the Waterfowl Assassins team was a memorable experience, filled with camaraderie, laughter, and of course, plenty of birds. We were delighted to see that the GForce One performed exceptionally well, even under adverse weather conditions. We returned home with great memories, new friends, and a newfound appreciation for the challenges and rewards of snow goose hunting.