OUTFITTER REVIEW ON:
|Top Gun Guide Service|
Part 1:THE HUNT
Snow Goose Hunting Northwest Missouri
With Top Gun Guide Service
By Dan Wennerlind
Many spring snow goose hunters have taken the opportunity through the past 10 years to get out and experience the spring snow goose migration and most likely have even bagged a few of the white devils through one method or another. But not many hunters have actually had a chance to enjoy a relaxing, successful spring snow goose hunting experience where the birds actually decoyed in closer then 35 yards. I too have spent countless days fighting the muddy spring fields after putting thousands of miles on my truck trying to locate the perfect field, in an attempt to lure these wary adversaries into gunning range, with limited success. After years of trial and error, buying and selling spreads of decoys in the hundreds to thousands each spring and then covering almost everything I own in mud, it was a much welcomed break to pull up to a field and with in minutes climb into a clean layout blind overlooking a spread of just over 2,000 decoys.
Today I was fortunate enough to spend time with one of Top Gun’s top guides- Jerry Nelson. After a few hours of hunting I found that Jerry to is a die hard waterfowl hunter as well as a snow goose hunting fanatic. Jerry has been guiding spring snow goose hunters for the past 3 seasons with Top Gun Guide Service and has been chasing the white birds for the past 10 years from Canada down into North Dakota each fall. I could tell right away that Jerry has a passion for hunting snows.
|In his opinion there is no bigger rush in the waterfowl hunting world then having the big flocks of spring snow geese working the spread. |
Not only was I impressed with Jerry’s professionalism from the stand point that he made sure the geese were fully committed and in range before calling the shot, I was also comforted by the fact that safety in the field was Jerry’s number one concern. Before we even started the hunt Jerry had all 6 hunters gather round and informed us of the Do’s and Dont's in the field for the day. He stated that under no circumstance were there to be anyone walking in front of the blinds with out prior consent from him. If that were to happen all guns were to be facing up with the actions broke. Jerry had total control during the entire hunt which gave me a sense of reassurance.
As more geese started to pour out of the refuge and make their way over our spread, more and more geese were put into gun range and on the ground. It was also nice that there were only a handful of hunters in our spread and when Jerry called the shot from the middle blind, he usually called it on one side or the other so all six guns did not take aim at a single goose. This really added to the overall quality of the hunt.
"It sure seemed to work on this day as we had multiple opportunities to take geese well in gunning range of less than 35 yards with not an ounce of wind."
When the action finally slowed down we had a few minutes to take a break, stretch our legs and round up any cripples that may have been dropped. I also had a chance to ask Jerry a little bit more about our set up for the day. Jerry shared with me that we had a spread of over 2,000 windsock decoys on 3 foot stakes with braces in each bag. This allows the decoys to spin into the wind on their own when a switch occurs and does not take valuable time from the hunt switching all of the decoys around. This also makes sure that on a no wind day the decoy bags do not hang limp and look unnatural. It sure seemed to work on this day as we had multiple opportunities to take geese well in gunning range of less than 35 yards with not an ounce of wind. Jerry also pointed out that the field we were hunting was located in a major flight path, well away from the refuge, on a hilltop with a lot of scattered grain still available to the birds. It seems to be a well known fact when hunting around the Squaw Creek Refuge that the birds will fly up to 20 miles or more away from the roost before settling in to feed for the morning. Therefore picking the right field to set up in is a very important aspect of the hunt. These guys were on their game that was for sure. Jerry also shared with me that the electronic calling system they used and how they controlled the volume also played a very important part of the day’s success. Jerry had everything on remote and was constantly changing the song tracks as well as the volume throughout the hunt. It sure paid off on this day as after the mornings hunt was over we had 32 snows and blues on the ground with several beautiful mature geese in hand. Many avid snow goose hunters know that this is no easy task.
As we enjoyed an action packed day in the field, Jerry shared with me that two of the other guides were out scouting today for fields north of our set as they were already predicting a migration movement in the upcoming days. Jerry stated that it is always important to keep up with the birds so their next clients are not left staring at empty skies all day. Overall I was extremely satisfied with the hunt and had no complaints what so ever. As the day ended I could not thank Jerry enough for all of his hard work and dedication. I am already looking forward to hunting with Jerry again next spring. Maybe I will try Kansas or possibly South Dakota for my next hunt with Top Gun.
Part 2: THE REVIEW
|OUTFITTER KNOWLEDGE / PERSONALITY: ||Score||5 / 5 |
Outfitter Matt Kostka was very easy to get a hold of and also very personable. Our guide for the day Jerry Nelson was a seasoned pro. Jerry had total control during the entire hunt and di a fabulous job. He also made sure that not only did everyone have a safe hunt but a fun one as well!
|QUALITY OF |
|Score||5 / 5 |
The boys at Top Gun rely on running massive spreads of windsock decoys. During our hunt we were overlooking a spread of over 2,000 decoys. Numbers of decoys like that definitely have drawing power and the fact that all of the decoys had a bracing system in the made for a great hunt even with out any wind. We also hunted out of very comfortable and clean lay out blinds and were seriated by a top notch Ecaller system throughout the hunt.
5 / 5
On our hunt the group of 6 hunters and myself harvested 32 snow geese in what turned out to be only about a ½ day of quality hunting due to the weather. We experienced a massive rainstorm in the late afternoon when we should have had a good evening shoot. That being said, from dawn until 11:00 am we were covered in snow geese and had a blast!
|QUALITY OF MEALS |
|Score||3 / 5 |
Although meals and lodging are not included in your daily rate, Matt and Jarrad are able to recommend several local motel lodging options in the immediate area. There are also several quality restaurants as well as a grocery store available in town for your meals.
HUNT PACKAGES AND
|Score||5 / 5 |
The standard daily fee during the spring snow goose season is $150.00 for a ½ day hunt, $250.00 for a full day hunt and they also offer a package of $500.00 for a 3 day hunt. There will also be a maximum of 8 hunters per field. Meals and lodging are not included in this rate and guide tips are much appreciated. I found this to be a very reasonable rate for the hunt provided.
|OVERALL QUALITY |
OF THE TRIP:
|Score||5 / 5 |
In the morning all of the hunters met in one meeting place and everything was well organized. The hunt was well put together and a lot of effort seemed to have been put into all aspects of the hunt. We hunted with a seasoned guide who did everything he could to make sure everybody had a positive experience. Overall I thought the guys did a great job!
Overall Top Gun Guide Service Scored 28 Out Of 30 Giving Them An "A" Rating. We Would Not Hesitate To Refer Them For Their Spectacular Spring Snow Goose Hunts!
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Part 3: Booking Information
|Contact Information For Top Gun Guide Service|
Outfitter: Matt Kostka
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 3640 Livingston Ave Wayzata, MN; 55391
|Additional Hunts Offered:|
Top Gun also offer fully guided Fall Waterfowl hunts in Saskatchewan Canada, Rochester, Minnesota and Squaw Creek, Missouri in addition to their spring snow goose hunting in Squaw Creek Missouri and South Dakota.
Click here to read an article on Top Guns Fall Canada Goose Hunts
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