OUTFITTER REVIEW ON:
Webbed Feet Down Outfitters
Part 1:THE HUNT
|Rocky Mountain Snow Geese|
By Dan Wennerlind
Hunting spring snow geese has become a true passion of mine ever since the inception of the conservation season back in 1995. I now enjoy hunting new regions of the country and trying out the latest set-ups and strategies to trick the wary white adversaries, as much as pulling the trigger. So when the invitation came up to hunt with expert spring snow goose hunting outfitter, Mike Adams of Webbed Feet Down Outfitters, I eagerly accepted. This would be an opportunity to hunt the north east corner of Colorado and learn from a true snow goose hunting legend.
It was just a short 2 ½ hour road trip up from the Denver area, to the far north east corner of the state, where we arrived in the small town of Sedgwick Colorado. This is where our outfitter Mike Adams has been based out of every spring for over 10 years. Our group included four eager hunters- Matt Brooks, J.P. Rooker and his son Gavin, and myself. We arrived at The Sedgwick Inn just after 7pm on February 13. There we met Mike and his crew. Mike took J.P.
and Gavin out for a delicious steak dinner while Matt and I unpacked back at the B&B, as we had stopped to eat earlier on the way up.
Later that evening we all had a chance to relax in the cozy lounge in front of the fireplace at The Inn. There Mike gave us the 411 on the next day’s hunt. We learned that this would be the inaugural hunt of the year, being February 14. Mike had just finished up a hard week of preparation to get his three spreads set up before our arrival. After a thorough description of the upcoming hunt, I knew Mike had this operation down pat.
I found through our conversation with Mike, that he runs three spreads all spring, and moves two of the three spreads every third day through the entire season. (The spring season in this region usually runs from early February to mid March annually). I also learned that Mike currently has 20 different private leased fields, with about 10 pit blinds pre-set to choose from, for his two mobile spreads. Mike also sets out one mega-spread consisting of over 1,000 decoys, which surround his “Mac Daddy” 24-foot fiberglass pit blind. This is his Cadilac set-up. Mike usually saves this spread for his larger groups of over four hunters. The mobile spreads I found, are made up of 400 to 500 Avery full-body decoys, all on motion bases. Mike also uses all of the most successful technology, including several rotary decoy machines, as well as his custom designed E-caller sound system, to give his hunters every opportunity for success. Mike has been nicknamed by his faithful clients as “The Legend” for good reason I would soon find out.
Now being an avid snow goose hunter myself, my first concern with this new region, due to the overall lack of water in the area was- where the heck do the birds roost and how consistent is the migration through this far west region of the migration path? I also wondered how hard the birds were pressured in this area by other hunters.
My first question would be answered within 20 minutes of entering our pit the next morning, as huge strings of snows lifted off the South Platte River located a mile south of the set-up. The birds quickly made their way across the skyline in our direction. That brought up my other concern, why was there no gunfire in the distance? Mike smiled and stated that most of his leases are secondary to the fall leased fields during the regular waterfowl season, so it is very difficult for the do-it-yourself hunter to just show up and gain access on a piece of prime waterfowl hunting property. To his knowledge there are currently no other outfitters in the entire region that even attempt to hunt the wary spring birds. In short, Mike has a small monopoly on the area and thus has been named Colorado’s #1 Spring Snow Goose Hunting Outfitter.
As we settled into the comfortable pit blind, I also found that Mike is quite the character. There was never a dull moment throughout the entire day.
In mid-sentence, Mike told us to “hit the deck” as he slid the pit cover over the top of us and turned up the E-caller. We had white geese on top of us! First it was just a small flock of Ross’ geese, that quickly turned into over 100 birds, and then what looked like 5,000 birds. As the closest flocks maple-leafed down closer to the spread, we had birds circling
in every direction. I quickly remembered why I enjoy this sport so much and glancing over at my rookie snow goose hunting partners, I could tell they were just as excited as I was, eagerly staring up at the cyclones of birds above.
Mike patiently let the birds work down into gunning range. Finally, a flock of five whities banked across the left side of the pit. Mike was cautious to hold off on calling the shot as only two of us had a clear shot, and with that many geese overhead, it wasn’t worth it. The small flock circled around the back of the pit and then banked back around the right side, locking in right over the rotary machine of decoys. This offered JP and Gavin a nice shot, but now Matt and I were in the back seat. Again Mike was patient to hold off on calling the shot. Unfortunately, as quickly as the birds dropped in, they swung out of the spread and moved on, taking the rest of the hovering geese with them.
“They acted just like snow geese,” I said to Mike, giving him a little jab. We both laughed knowing this is the way snow geese are. It wasn’t long before we had another mass of snows making their way in our direction. However being such a large flock, they didn’t give us much of a look. It also didn’t help that we were working with a "No Wind" day, which most experienced snow goose hunters know is usually the kiss of death for decoying the elusive birds.
"The Legend" Outfitter & Snow Goose Expert~
Another aspect of this particular hunt that I really enjoyed was the fact that being in a dry climate, we were actually able to drive right out to the pit blind in our vehicles and we were not completely covered in mud, as is the norm when hunting The Dakotas and Nebraska most spring seasons. This had to be the cleanest spring snow goose hunt I have ever been a part of. Around 10am Mike waved the white flag and we called the morning hunt in trade for a hot lunch at the local favorite- Lucy’s Cafe.
After lunch we headed back to the B&B for a mid-afternoon break. There I had a chance to get caught up on the very unique history of this particular building. Interestingly enough, The Sedgwick Inn originally started out as The Farmers State Bank back in the 1920s and still has many of the amenities of the building from back in the day. Owner and caretaker~ Lupe, took over the property 12+ years ago and takes great pride in offering a cozy and comfortable lodging experience, catering to the area hunters. Only charging a nominal fee of $30 per night, per person this was also a great value and yes dogs are more than welcome at The Inn. It was quite a nice change from the standard Super 8 style motel accommodations I am used to on these type of hunts.
Around 2:30pm we made the trek back to our set-up for Round 2. With high hopes riding on the high winds that came up that afternoon, we were all in good cheer and full bellies. With a late winter storm expected to move in the next day, the birds were again one step ahead of us though. Most of the geese, we found, had stayed in the fields all afternoon to fill up before the weather system hit. We had birds in the air in all directions throughout the afternoon, but most were slowly making their way back to their roosts, like us, with full bellies.
Having plenty of experience with “these days” of snow goose hunting, and for every spring snow goose hunter who has spent more than a week in the field knows, when days like this happen the birds are virtually undecoyable. I had to laugh, as much as Mike wanted the birds to cooperate, he knew it too. However, being the first hunt for my partners, Mike did his best to offer an explanation regarding our current situation, with the lack of decoying birds.
Mike shared that he learned long ago, when the birds refuse to decoy like this there is absolutely nothing you can do. He went on to share that these are the hardest species of waterfowl to hunt and in fact these birds have been hunted hard for over six months straight at this point in the season. In addition, many of the adults have made the trek back and forth for over twenty years. They know the game.
Mike went on to say that they are not unkillable by any means though. His strategy is simple. First, he has leased 20 of the best field locations in the area, that have proven to be successful for over 10 years. Secondly, Mike has invested big money in his equipment. Simply stated Mike has purchased the best full-body decoy spreads on the market today and has added the best accessories to enhance the realism of his spreads. From there Mike has installed pit blinds in over half of his leased locations for the best concealment possible.
Mike says that on any given day his standard groups of four hunters can expect to harvest upwards of 40 to 80 geese in a day, throughout the season. There are however many days when his hunters only take in a handful of geese. It really just depends on the day. After all of these years, Mike refuses to make excuses for “those days” where the
birds just won’t decoy and in fact he is very straight forward with his customers up front that this is what spring snow goose hunting is all about.
I had to admire Mike’s candor, as I have been on both sides of this crazy game numerous times. I know first hand how hard it is to decoy the white devils, but I also know that the next day can bring shooting as fast as you can load your gun, when nothing has changed but the bird’s attitudes. By the end of the hunt I was pleasantly surprised at the overall enjoyment of the day. Even with the lack of shooting it was a very entertaining and educational experience and I am truly looking forward to another opportunity at matching wits with these birds again with Mike “The Legend” Adams.
Part 2: THE REVIEW
|OUTFITTER KNOWLEDGE / PERSONALITY: ||Score||5 / 5 |
It was very evident from the first minute we first met with Mike Adams at The Sedgwick Inn the night before the hunt that he has put a ton of investment, effort and strategy over the past decade making sure every aspect of his Colorado spring hunts are first class. It was also very evident during the hunt that Mike knows how to hunt snow geese. We had a blast just hanging out with Mike and overall felt Mike did an exceptional job giving our group a fun and exciting hunt. His regular customers have deemed him "The Legend" and I would agree the name fits!
|QUALITY OF |
|Score||5 / 5|
The equipment Mike uses on his hunts is the best money can buy. Hunting over a spread of close to 500 full body snow goose decoys is as good as it gets, and the aspect that Mike moves fields every 3 days on his mobile spreads, really makes the anticipation of the hunt and the overall success much higher for his hunters knowing a particular field has not been overhunted towards the end of the season. Mike also incorporates high end pit blinds on most of his leased fields to make the overall hunt much more comfortable and enjoyable for his hunters and doesn’t hesitate to field test the latest new equipment each spring, to make sure he is on the cutting edge of technology in his battle against the white feathered adversaries.
4 / 5
Although we did not harvest any geese on this particular hunt, we did have over 10,000 snow geese work the spread throughout the day. And having personal experience hunting spring snow geese, I felt that Mike did everything right. He put us on the "X" with a high quality spread of decoys, in a well camoed pit to offer us the best opportunity possible to be successful. It was just “one of those days”. I also always recommend to hunters new to the sport to book a minimum of 2 to 3 days to assure a success trip. I have no problem offering Mike a score of 4 out of 5 since there was ample opportunity to harvest large flocks of unpressured snow geese over a high quality spread.
|QUALITY OF MEALS |
|Score||3 / 5|
The overall quality of the meals and lodging were very adequate. Several aspects that I enjoyed most about staying at The Sedgwick Inn were that: Luca, the owner of The Inn caters directly to hunters, so we were more than welcome to bring our hunting clothing and gear into The Inn. Also each hunter was given his own personal room to spread out in and our dogs were more than welcome to join us inside the rooms. We were also only 10 minutes from Mike’s leased fields and it was only $30.00 per night, per hunter. In addition kitchen facilities were available for breakfast and lunch as needed and they had coffee, cereal and toast available at no additional charge. For a small town community there was also ample restaurants available for both a delicious lunch and dinner.
HUNT PACKAGES AND
|Score||5 / 5|
We felt Mike’s pricing was very reasonable at $200.00 per day, per hunter. This does not include meals, lodging or guide tips. For the overhead and hard work that Mike puts into each hunt, I don’t think you can find a better deal! Also for groups of four or more hunters Mike offers a private field for the day, so you are not mixed in with another group of hunters. Mike prefers groups of 4 if possible and again works very hard to ensure a positive experience throughout the stay. Personally I recommend staying for at least 2 – 3 days if possible to ensure at least 1 – 2 days of high success decoying the snows.
|OVERALL QUALITY |
OF THE TRIP:
|Score||5 / 5 |
Overall we all had a most enjoyable overall experience with Mike Adams. As most hunters know, there is a lot more that goes into a successful hunt than how many birds you shoot, although that is important. Mike has perfected the total experience. From very clean and reasonable lodging for his hunters to stay, very close to the hunting fields, to the top notch decoy spreads and strategies for hunting not just a few days out of the spring, but for being successful the entire season. In addition to Mike’s personal experience as an expert and experienced outfitter, Mike is also a very fun and light hearted individual to spend time with in the pit. We would not hesitate to highly recommend Mike Adams to anyone looking for a First Class spring snow goose hunting experience in north east Colorado!
Overall Webbed Feet Down Scored a 27 Out Of 30 Giving Them An "A" Rating. We Would Not Hesitate To Refer Them For Their Fantastic Colorado Snow Goose Hunts!
|27 / 30|
Part 3: Booking Information
Contact Info For Webbed Feet Down Outfitters
Outfitter: Mike Adams
Email Address: Click Here To Email Mike
Website Address: bucksbullsbeards.com
Additional Hunts Offered~
In addition to Mike's fantastic Colorado Spring Snow Goose Hunts, Mike also offers World Class caliber hunts for:
- Colorado Fall Waterfowl Hunts
- Kansas Whitetail Deer Hunts
- Kansas Spring Turkey Hunts
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