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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The marsh is happy to offer geese in sizes S/M/L, grab yours today!

Seriously though, all three of these came from a group of 5, and the remaining 2 I'm 99% sure were Specklebellies, which I have only seen here one other time. Anyone have any idea what kind the smallest goose is? It's too big to be a cackler but it is tiny, about the size of a snow goose.
 

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Congrats on the nice shoot. I would call the small one a Richardson’s/Hutchie. (It’s Latin name is Branta Canadensis Hutchinsii. Or something along those lines. I can’t claim to spell it correctly, 😂)

I believe those are the smallest Canada goose subspecies that you see in the middle/landlocked flyways. I've shot Hutchies that are barely bigger than a fat mallard. It’s hard to say though. Kind of just a guess based off of size. My understanding is that true cacklers are a coastal bird from Alaska to norther California.

I have to ask though, why weren’t you gunning for the specks?

The small bird in this picture isn't even as big as a snow goose. (We killed a snow that day also...) It was more like the size of a Ross goose. Just TINY.
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The marsh is happy to offer geese in sizes S/M/L, grab yours today!

Seriously though, all three of these came from a group of 5, and the remaining 2 I'm 99% sure were Specklebellies, which I have only seen here one other time. Anyone have any idea what kind the smallest goose is? It's too big to be a cackler but it is tiny, about the size of a snow goose.
It is a Lesser, not a Cackler. I have shot many of that size. Found a dead cackler in a field, not much larger than a mallard duck. When you see a true Cackler in person you will know the difference from a Lessor goose. I saw some lessers mixed in some flights Saturday in Utah.
what I did see Saturday was unusual for Northern Utah in January was SandHill cranes. They landed in the distance. Birds were migrating north, they must sense a change in the weather.
 

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Hood Grille Wood Wall Gas

The Hutchies are different from Lessers. They’re smaller, and have a shorter neck with a short, stubby almost triangular shaped bill. A Lesser is small, but not quite as small, with more proportionate features to a typical Utah sized goose, but just on a smaller scale if that makes sense.
Kind of hard to describe, but in hand the difference is noticeable.
The thing is, there’s all sorts of crossover in flyways on subspecies. 20 years ago I was really caught up on knowing the differences. It’s based off of things like culmen length, region, etc.

These days, I kind of just lump them together into two big groups. Big swamp donkeys or little chickens. 😂

On the opposite end of the spectrum, look at this toad. Context of size in photos is always hard, but for comparison, all the other geese in this photo are what I’d call your average Utah sized goose. Maybe 8ish lbs. But look how much bigger the chest, head and neck are on the one center-right in the pic. We killed a pair that size which were just huge. Two of the biggest honkers I’ve ever seen in hand.
 

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Maybe this will help. The little cackler is next to a standard sized mallard decoy. I shot him about a month ago and he's the only the second true little goose I've ever shot.

The ross my wife shot last week, next to a mallard for size comparison.


Great job on the triple!!


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The Hutchies are different from Lessers. They’re smaller, and have a shorter neck with a short, stubby almost triangular shaped bill. A Lesser is small, but not quite as small, with more proportionate features to a typical Utah sized goose, but just on a smaller scale if that makes sense.
Kind of hard to describe, but in hand the difference is noticeable.
The thing is, there’s all sorts of crossover in flyways on subspecies. 20 years ago I was really caught up on knowing the differences. It’s based off of things like culmen length, region, etc.

These days, I kind of just lump them together into two big groups. Big swamp donkeys or little chickens. 😂

On the opposite end of the spectrum, look at this toad. Context of size in photos is always hard, but for comparison, all the other geese in this photo are what I’d call your average Utah sized goose. Maybe 8ish lbs. But look how much bigger the chest, head and neck are on the one center-right in the pic. We killed a pair that size which were just huge. Two of the biggest honkers I’ve ever seen in hand.
Nice truck, Jeremy. Love the scored windshield. Back in the day my car had the same thing.

I shot a couple of really small geese up at Salt Creek years ago, guessed they were cacklers just based on size. Anymore I just call the big ones honkers, the smaller ones lessers.

Cody, next time shoot the whitefronts. They look really cool. Some think they're the best eating, including Hank Shaw. I don't notice much difference between them and corn fed dark geese.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies, guys-after doing some research online and with your advice I'm pretty sure the tiny guy is a Hutchinson's. I've seen cacklers in person one other time and they are tiny, smaller than the one I got the other day. I'm no biologist but I'm guessing Great Basin, Lesser, and Hutchinson's for the 3.

I would have gone after the specks but these geese came in a group of 5, the front 3 were the ones I shot. The specks came in behind the others and I didn't realize they were any different until they flew off sounding that crazy call they have, I'm amazed at what a variety of geese were in a group of 5! Specks have been a bucket list bird for me, I've never seen one before in person so I was really happy just to have encountered a couple.

Speaking of size ranges in geese, earlier this season I shot this absolute hoss of a goose-one of the biggest I've ever seen! His head covered almost my entire hand-



He proably weighed 11 or 12 pounds and had a gigantic wingspan-it was amazing to see!
 

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Interesting thread. I shot a massive goose a few years back. It was banded 8 years prior to that as an adult. At the time, I assumed it was big because it was old. Hadn't given much thought to the different varieties that we might encounter around here.
 

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Back in my 20’s I shot a Lesser under 6 lbs and a 11.5 lb goose.
Mounted the Lesser. Brother took a drink trying to get a swan, and got the camera wet. I was disappointed in not having the pictures showing the size difference.

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Jeremy, that is an absolute hoss if a goose! i know there are endless varieties of Canadian subspecies, but i just use 4 to classify them - cacklers, lessers, greaters, and giants. Those giants can go 15 pounds plus and are absolute brutes. Like a flock of turkeys landing in your decoys!

Most of the lessers i've shot seem to be in that 6-9 lbs range. Cacklers are tiny - not much bigger than a fat, late season mallard.
 

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Jeremy, that is an absolute hoss if a goose! i know there are endless varieties of Canadian subspecies, but i just use 4 to classify them - cacklers, lessers, greaters, and giants. Those giants can go 15 pounds plus and are absolute brutes. Like a flock of turkeys landing in your decoys!

Most of the lessers i've shot seem to be in that 6-9 lbs range. Cacklers are tiny - not much bigger than a fat, late season mallard.
The Cackler I found was smallest goose I have seen in person, and agree it was not much bigger than a mallard. The two center geese below are lessers.
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Thanks for the replies, guys-after doing some research online and with your advice I'm pretty sure the tiny guy is a Hutchinson's. I've seen cacklers in person one other time and they are tiny, smaller than the one I got the other day. I'm no biologist but I'm guessing Great Basin, Lesser, and Hutchinson's for the 3.

I would have gone after the specks but these geese came in a group of 5, the front 3 were the ones I shot. The specks came in behind the others and I didn't realize they were any different until they flew off sounding that crazy call they have, I'm amazed at what a variety of geese were in a group of 5! Specks have been a bucket list bird for me, I've never seen one before in person so I was really happy just to have encountered a couple.

Speaking of size ranges in geese, earlier this season I shot this absolute hoss of a goose-one of the biggest I've ever seen! His head covered almost my entire hand-



He proably weighed 11 or 12 pounds and had a gigantic wingspan-it was amazing to see!
To bad you didn’t mount the neck head. I did a neck head of goose that had alot of white on its forehead.
The 11-12 lb used to be more common for us back in the 70-90,’s. I Had some 12.5-12.75 and one 13 lb.
It has been awhile early 2000’s shot a couple of geese in the 12 lb range.
 

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I love shooting greaters, and 50 or 60 makes for a decent shoot since they seem to come in small groups of between 2 to 10. The sound they make with their wings is just cool, and when they hit the ground or water, they make a VERY satisfying thud / splash!

Too bad it's been way to long since I've done the above...
 
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