Molt Migration hunting has been happening since they started the early season goose hunts in the northern states. This hunting is something that is getting more and more popular with the social media exposure of it. Understanding the Molt Migration is also becoming more understood each year, and is one of the more predictable migrations in waterfowl hunting.
A Giant Canada goose, or resident goose doesn't start breeding until they are usually three years old. This leaves the one and two year old birds on their own. When the breeding geese head back north in February and March, the younger, non breeding geese will stay south. They will start returning north the end of may and first week of June to find prime molting spots. Molting is the process in which they loose flight feathers, and then grown them back. This molt process takes three to four weeks.
Studies have shown that females will return to molt in the areas where they were born while males will push further north up into Canada and sometimes far north as the Thelon River Valley. Once the first cool north winds of September happen, the birds will be on their way back south. Pretty much every north wind, or west wind you will see birds on the move back down. They will migrate as far south as South Dakota, southern Minnesota and northern Illinois.
On this hunt, we set up on about a 8 acre slough. Calling and decoy numbers help, water is good, but dry fields can also produce. Next early season, look for north wind days, you will see high birds start pushing south from 9am to 1pm, this seems to be the best time. The Molt Migration can offer some of the best hunting of the year.