Over the second weekend of February, Mack’s Prairie Wings in Stuttgart, Arkansas will host the 2019 World Championship Snow Goose Conservation Hunt.
Open to the entire state of Arkansas, each team of 10 will pay an $1,000 entry fee. All geese turned in to the competition will be donated to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited and Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
Additionally, the winning team will score a grand prize package of gear that amounts to over $60,000. Each winning team member gets a set of impressive hunting accessories and gift cards along with the opportunity to help feed hungry Arkansans amidst the biting February cold.
But why a goose hunting competition?
At the end of Arkansas’s duck hunting season – which this year falls on Jan. 27, 2019 – the attention of many waterfowlers turns to the light goose conservation season. Thousands of snow geese canvas Arkansas rice fields as the fly south from the Midwest and Canada over the month of February. The Conservation Order Season kills two birds – or should I say geese – with one stone, relieving farmers whose crops are decimated by these geese while granting a few more weeks in the timber to waterfowl hunters with a box of shells and jitter left over from duck season.
Chuck Lock, Vice President of Mack’s Prairie Wings and coordinator of the event, said that he is excited to educate people about waterfowl hunting that extends beyond mallards.
“I want people to understand that just because duck season ends, doesn’t mean that hunting season is over,” Lock said. “Conservation goose hunting is another feather to put in Arkansas’s hat with respect to the opportunity for hunting and fishing in our state.”
Can’t make it to the 2019 World Championship Snow Goose Conservation Hunt but want to extend duck season and experience this Delta phenomenon before its close in late April? The Outdoor Trip has you covered. Here are some of our favorite goose hunting guides in Arkansas.
One such Arkansas goose hunting outfitter is Top Gun Guide Service. Senior Guide Billy Austin said 15 years of experience is what makes Top Gun a premier goose hunting outfitter in the state of Arkansas.
“We’re blessed to have the time, equipment and resources to put our clients in the best possible scenario for Arkansas goose hunting,” Austin said.
Jabber Hodges, the owner Heavy Shot Guide Service, said that his location in the heart of the grand prairie in Stuttgart gives way to a perfect set up for a fun, successful goose hunt.
Hodges has been guiding for 20 years, and he said his favorite part of the hunt is seeing the young ones come out with their parents to learn about the outdoors. Hodges is well-known for his amazing goose calling skills. When he was younger, he practiced in his pick up while riding around, because he wanted to be the best, he said.
Hodges’ advice for new goose hunters was to “call me for a fully guided trip!”
Dustin Hart with Fully Committed Outfitter said that their elite guides are what separate them from other outfitters. The guides of Fully Committed scout more and put more hours into their program than do most people, he said. Hart cited his favorite part about goose hunting as calling the birds. He said that his advice to new goose hunters would be to stay patient and keep at it.
“Don’t hold your expectations too high,” Hart said. “You’re not going to figure it all out your very first time.”
Another one of Arkansas’s premier goose hunting guides is Ryan Henderson of Duck Down Guide Service. Henderson said that their location, 18 miles from Stuttgart, puts them in the middle of the action for goose hunting trips.
Henderson said that his favorite part of goose hunting is, “sitting in the middle of a big spin of snow geese and watching them fall.”
Our final premier goose hunting guides is Fred Gibbs of S&B Outfitters. Gibbs said that his experienced staff is what sets S&B Outfitters apart from other goose hunting experiences.
“I hire the best guys I can find, and they all have great experience,” Gibbs said. “It’s no coincident that my youngest guide is in his 30s.”
Gibbs said that the best advice he could give to new waterfowlers is to do their homework before booking a trip to make sure they choose a quality outfitter.
During the Light Goose Conservation Order Season, daily shooting hours are extended from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset. There are no daily bag limits or possession limits on the geese from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1 and Feb. 3 to April 25.
Hunters looking for a goose hunting trip can possess a hunting license from any state, but hunters must obtain a free permit from Arkansas by visiting agfc.com.