Just the FAQ’s about hunting geese on Lac qui parle

I was fortunate enough to grow up on the west side of the Lac qui parle refuge in western MN.  I’ve seen it all when it comes to hunting geese in our area.

I grew up when Lac qui parle was in its’ prime.  As a child, LQP was truly was THE destination for anyone in the state of MN or even the Midwest, who wanted to hunt Canada geese.  Campers and trailers filled every yard around the refuge and were essentially their own communities.

Due to the changes in the flyway, stifling hunting regulations imposed on our area in the 90’s (especially when compared to the rest of the state) and a booming population of Canada geese that are hatched in state, LQP is still the best but no longer the only place to hunt geese in the state.

That being said there is still a tremendous number of people that hunt the area every fall in state blinds, pits around the refuge and with guide services like mine, Maxxed Out Guides.

The majority of clients we book have hunted the refuge in the past but has been years/decades since their last hunt on LQP.  Once they have decided they want to come back, they typically have two questions.  First, “are there still a lot of geese”?  Second, “when is the best time to come”?

These two questions go hand in hand.

Are there a lot of geese?  Absolutely.

When is the best time to come hunting on LQP?

In the 80’s and early 90’s, you could mark on your calendar that when October 1 rolled around there would be 80,000 geese on the lake.  This is no longer the case.

This fall if you show up hunting Lac qui parle on October 1st you’ll be lucky to find 2000 geese on the refuge.

Unless you are with a guide service like mine, the earliest I would recommend hunting the refuge is MEA weeknd, or even better Halloween weekend. Typically the best hunting starts when birds fly out all sides of the refuge.  The magical number for this to happen is about 20,000 geese, and we typically have 20,000 geese on the refuge in late October.

From that point the hunting only gets better as the migration picks up and the temperatures drop.  Once we get into November, typically whenever a NW wind is blowing, chances are it will bring in new geese and the population will grow.

That population will continue grow until we peak which has been around mid to late November.  Peak numbers the last few years have been anywhere from 80,000 to 120,000 geese on the refuge.

Those birds will stay on the refuge until forced out by one thing….snow.  Typically a big snow storm of six or more inches will cover the fields (their food supply) enough to get the birds to push south in search of their next destination.

But just because there is snow on the ground don’t think all is lost.  LQP has roughly 5-15k geese that will keep water open and stay on the refuge through out the winter.

This means make goose hunting on LQP part of your December hunting plans.  This fall will be the third year of December or late season hunting on LQP and the first two years have been phenomenal.  There has been a very good bird population and because of the colder temperatures and snow the birds are much more aggressive when feeding.

So what does this mean?  The best goose hunting in the state of MN happens every year at the Lac qui parle refuge…it just happens a little later than it used to.