About Speckle Belly Geese
Greater white-fronted geese are 25–32 inches in length, have a 51–65-inch wingspan and weigh 4.3–7.3 lbs. They have bright orange legs and mouse-coloured upper wing-coverts. The greater white-fronted goose is larger than the lesser white-fronted goose. It also lacks the yellow eye-ring of that species, and the white facial blaze does not extend upwards so far as in lesser. The male is typically larger in size, but both sexes are similar in appearance—greyish brown birds with light grey breasts dappled with dark brown to black blotches and bars. Both males and females also have a pinkish bill and orange legs and feet. The term speckle-belly comes from the blotches seen on the belly of the goose, which is something unique to the North American species.
Why Specks in Arkansas?
Specklebellies are just a different bird. Growing up in Texas the limit was one. It was almost a given that you were going to shoot a limit everyday. They were almost a nuisance. You would get your one and then it was a chore not to shoot another one. The limit raised to two in the 90s and it was still too easy. It was often easier to shoot your two than it was not to shoot three.
Fast forward to Arkansas 2018, where the limit is three! The same hunting techniques used in Texas work with the Arkansas specklebellies. Specklebellies that were in unbelievable numbers in Texas have shifted their migration east to Arkansas. These are the same birds that I previously hunted in Texas and are just as fun to hunt, if not more fun in Arkansas. This bird responds to calling like a mallard, decoys in ranges of 10 yards or less and may be the best eating of all waterfowl.
Another thing that's unique about the white-front goose, is the migration is out of Alaska and starts earlier than other goose species. We start seeing Specks in Arkansas about the mid to late part of October. By the time the season starts, there are many more Specks in the area than snows. There is a weird season in Arkansas in October, but we don't hunt the birds then. We wait until November where the hunting is better.
These birds are off limits during the conservation season. The best time to hunt them is in November and December. The season dates this year are November 16th-December 2nd, then December 4th-January 29th.