OUTFITTER REVIEW ON:
Part 1:THE HUNT
HUNTING SNOWS NEAR MISSOURI’S INFAMOUS
SQUAW CREEK NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
WITH SQUAW CREEK HUNT CLUB
by Brandon Jensen
Departing for Mound City, Missouri in late February with my two hunting pals, we were on our way to meet up with professional snow goose hunting outfitter Scott Croner of the Squaw Creek Hunt Club. On the way down all I could think about was the fact that there were already over one million Snow geese currently staging on the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, per their weekly refuge count. The Squaw Creek Hunt Club lodge is located just a couple miles outside of Mound City and just off of the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge.
After a long drive from western Wisconsin, we rolled into town and made a much needed stop at the Kwik Zone. This is also where Scott suggested we stop to get our non-resident hunting licenses as well. It was refreshing to see that the spring conservation license in Missouri was only $40. From there we headed over to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge to take in a site that you only ever see in pictures. The view from where you pull into the refuge was absolutely phenomenal. There were literally Snow geese everywhere. After we took some pictures and drove around the refuge, I contacted Scott. He invited us to meet him at a local restaurant in town for dinner.
A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE OF THE SNOW GEESE STAGING ON SQUAW CREEK NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE WITH A FIRE IN THE BACKGROUND
At dinner that evening we had a chance to meet Scott and went over what the plan was for the weekend’s hunt. Scott shared with us that this was actually quite early in the season for these types of numbers of Snow geese to be staging in the area and thought we should have a very good hunt. From the restaurant, we took off for Scott’s lodge, located just a few short miles out of town. We got settled in for a much needed good night’s sleep after the long trip down. Scott offers his hunters the option to stay at his lodge for only $25 a night, a price that can’t be beat.
When we awoke in the morning, we found out that we were going to be hunting with Scott, along with one of his guides- Brian, and a local kid from town. We set off for our field and upon arrival found the field also had a pond in it, which made for a most attractive set-up. After we pulled into the field, we unloaded all of our hunting equipment next to Scott’s very nice A-frame blind, that we would be hunting out of for the day. We then helped Scott and Brian get the rest of the spread set as they had to set up the flyers and the rotary machines.
It was a slow start to the morning, although it must have been slow everywhere as we didn’t even hear any gunshots anywhere around us. We finally started to see a few flocks of Snow geese wandering the skies above and then all of a sudden we had a flock that wanted to work us hard. Scott was hoping that we would get some flocks that wanted to land in the water early, but the first few flocks set the mood for the day and everything seemed to want to land up behind us on the hill. One of the benefits of being in the A-frame blind was that we could stand up and shoot at any geese that were behind us.
The first flock of the day finally worked into shooting range and we dropped five out of the group. After that it was consistent with about every hour or so that we would get another group to work in for us. We stayed out in the blind all day and continued to shoot Snow geese throughout the day. We had multiple flocks come in from every direction and many different sized flocks throughout the hunt. We also shot a lot of pairs as well.
As the day was starting to wind down, we had more singles start working in.
One single Ross’ goose in particular gave us a perfect opportunity right out in front and we dropped it stone dead. As Brian’s dog retrieved the bird back to the blind, we all noticed the glistening band in the sunlight on the Goose’s leg. We were all ecstatic as we found out that the bird had been banded 10 years ago way up in northern Canada. The day’s hunt finally came to an end, after a couple more singles worked great, right in the kill hole. We ended the day with a bag of 18 Snow geese.
After the hunt was over, we headed back to the Hunt Club where Scott and the other guides prepared a fantastic meal for us. For the rest of the evening, we then sat around and traded hunting stories with the rest of the guys in camp that were also staying with Squaw Creek Hunt Club. Before we all went to bed, Scott gave us the plan for morning and our departure times from the lodge. Scott told us that we were going to be going to the other spread he had that was up on a very large hill in a corn stubble field.
As morning approached and our alarms went off, we were excited to get out to the field and see what the day had to bring. On Day Two we were going to be hunting with another group of 4, as well as one of Scott’s other guides- Dan. The guides had already been up for some time when we awoke, and had already been to the field and set up the layout blinds for the day’s wind. Scott also had a third spread of all full body decoys set up in another location, for those hunting a 3 day package.
As the sun came up, we had a group of Snow geese work right in just about perfect. But instead of committing, as Snow geese do, at the last second they flared up right before they got into shooting range. The next group however worked in very well and we ended up dropping four out of the flock!
Professional Snow Goose Hunting Outfitter Scott Croner With HuntTheNorth's Brandon Jensen
By late morning the wind really started to pick up and they said we had 35 mph winds, with gusts over 40. This definitely added a new dimension to the hunt. The Snow geese seemed to die off at that point and the skies were bare.
Just before lunch there was a very strong flight of Snow geese heading back towards the refuge from the north. There were multiple flocks that wanted to work in but they couldn't quite make the final commitment, mostly due to the strong winds. We were able to pick a few birds off here and there. The guys we were hunting with made some very good shots in the strong winds.
The day progressed on and finally the group of four hunters we were hunting with had to take off and head back home. This left myself and my two hunting buddies, along with our fearless guide Dan, to man the spread. It was a relatively slow afternoon. Then things really started to pick up late in the day, as the Snow geese finally decided to get up off of the refuge to go out for the evening feed.
We ended up bagging several more Snows and a Blue or two to finish up the hunt. After everything was said and done, we finished up the day with a total of 15 birds in hand, which we thought was very good with the strong winds that we had to battle.
Back to the lodge, we cleaned all the geese we shot that day and grilled up some burgers on Scott`s grill, while exchanging some good stories with Scott and his crew. After that it was time for bed as we were getting up early to make to trek back to western Wisconsin.
On the trip back to Wisconsin I reflected on the hunt and could not have been happier with the services that Scott and his crew provided us with. Scott definitely runs a first class operation from start to finish at the Squaw Creek Hunt Club and I would highly recommend his services to any hunter who is interested in a once in a lifetime spring snow goose hunt to Mound City, Missouri.
Part 2: THE REVIEW
|OUTFITTER KNOWLEDGE / PERSONALITY: ||Score||5 / 5 |
We really enjoyed every aspect of Scott's operation. Scott and his crew were very knowledgeable on how to make proper adjustments to the spread every morning, to give us the best opportunity to finish the birds in range and in the proper position for a clean shot. Scott was also very fun to spend time with in the field. Both he and his guides were very friendly throughout the hunt. It was also evident that a lot of preparation and scouting went into the hunt before we arrived to ensure a most memorable experience. We give Scott a 5/5 in this category.
|QUALITY OF |
|Score||5 / 5|
The size of the spread that we hunted over both days was quite impressive. The first day with over 200 floaters in the pond, 800 5/8 body shells, and close to 800 Sillosock Decoys in the field, it was a great set up. In addition we hunted out of Scott's comfortable and easy to shoot out of A-Frame above ground blind. On the second day the spread consisted of well over 1,500 Sillosock Decoys set-up on the hill. On this hunt we used Scott's traditional layout blinds. Scott also told us that he had a third field that has a pit blind in it and that is where they usually put a very large full body spread later in the year. It was very evident that Scott takes very good care of his equipment and takes pride in all of his spreads. For that we gave Scott a 5/5 in this category.
|Score||4 / 5|
It was very evident that Scott and his crew put in a lot of time and effort in scouting and picking the right spots prior to our hunt. We felt that even though we didn’t see a huge number of Snow geese throughout the two days, we were given the opportunity to harvest an ample amount for a 2 day hunt. For that we gave Scott a 4/5 in this category.
|QUALITY OF MEALS |
|Score||3 / 5|
Scott provides an opportunity for his hunters to stay at his lodge for $25 a night. Though it is not a five-star Hilton, it is still a very nice and comfortable place to stay for what we thought was a very reasonable rate. It was evident that Scott takes pride in his lodge and makes every effort to have his hunters stay at his lodge with multiple rooms with bunk beds in them. Scott and his guides also prepared a meal for us on Saturday night which was very much appreciated but not expected as part of the lodging package. It was one of the best meals I had ever had. We gave Scott a 3 / 5 in this category as meals are not normally included and the lodging is not a standard package deal.
HUNT PACKAGES AND
|Score||5 / 5|
Scott offers his full day hunts at a rate of $175 a day. We feel that this is very reasonable for the services that were provided for us. Scott also allows you to stay at his lodge for only $25 a night as long as there is room. We also felt this was very reasonable. For that we gave Scott a 5/5.
|OVERALL QUALITY |
OF THE TRIP:
|Score||5 / 5 |
Overall we felt that every aspect of Scott’s spring snow goose hunts were top notch. Scott’s operation out in the field and his overall knowledge of hunting these wary spring Snows is extensive. It is evident that he and his crew love what they do. That shows in the fact in the effort they put in day in and day out. Overall we all felt it was a great hunt with a top notch outfitter. Another score of 5/5!
Overall Squaw Creek Hunt Club Best Scored 27 Out Of 30 Giving Them An "A" Rating. We Would Not Hesitate To Refer Scott To Any Hunter, For Their Spectacular Missouri Snow Goose Hunts!
|27 / 30|
Part 3: Booking Information
Contact Information For: Squaw Creek Hunt Club
Outfitter: Scott Croner
Additional Hunts Offered
In addition to Scott’s fantastic Missouri spring snow goose hunts. Scott also offers:
For more information on any of these hunts be sure to give Scott a call ASAP as many of his hunts are pre booked each year from his repeat customers.
COPYRIGHT 2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED