Discover Nature: Snow Geese Populations Peak in Missouri's Wetland Areas

Oct 20, 2019

October 25 - October 31

Discover Nature this week as Snow goose populations peak at Missouri’s wetland areas.

Snow geese travel through Missouri during their migration from the subarctic and arctic tundra breeding grounds to the coastal marshes, bays and southern wet grasslands where they spend the winter months. These medium sized, gleaming white geese make a great subjects for nature photography. Though most snow geese are white, they do have other color phases, too.

Because the young travel with their parents in their first winter, snow geese skeins are extremely large, which makes their swirling descent on a field very dramatic.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, Northwest Missouri, near Mound City, historically has the largest concentration of snow geese in the state.

In west central Missouri, Schell-Osage, Montrose and Four Rivers conservation areas are likely snow goose locations. And recently, large numbers of snow geese have appeared in southeast Missouri in the vicinity of Otter Slough and Ten Mile Pond conservation areas. Though snow geese were once rarely seen in southeast Missouri, a half million or more now winter in the area because of the undisturbed open-water refuge areas that provide roosting and resting opportunities.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, typical goose behavior involves two feeding flights each day, in the morning and afternoon, which might be as short as a half mile flight to as far as 20 miles in search of food.

In 1916, populations of Snow Geese were so low that hunting was stopped and not allowed again until 1975. However, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Snow Geese population has now exploded and they’re threatening to wreck the nesting places for many kinds of ducks and other wildlife.

Hunting regulations regarding the Snow Goose and other information (like goose recipes!) can be found online at