Unfortunately, when hunting on public lands can get crowded and you’ll be limited and might not receive the very best spot. When you’ve decided what you would like to collect, start hunting! Your goose hunting is finished. Goose hunting is a good time for young and old dogs to acquire experience and have a little fun.
1. The Most Effective Way to Set Out Goose Decoys
Veteran Maryland call-maker Sean Mann leads early season duck hunting and goose hunting in Alberta and is one of the most successful and experienced in the business. He informed Wade Bourne from DU, in a tip for the DU Website: To finish more geese when hunting over a field spread, set decoys 10 feet apart (3 long steps), and face them in random directions. This set provides a natural, relaxed look, and it also offers incoming birds plenty of landing room inside the spread. By setting my decoys so far apart, I use half the number I used to. I can set up and tear down faster, and most of all, the geese work better. Our hunts are much more productive than when I set decoys closer together. Less really can be more.
2. How to Change Your Luck with Snow Geese
In the October ’08 Field & Stream, author Dave Hurteau, in an interview with veteran guide Tracy Northup, Up North Outdoors, hunts up north, presents a deadly method for changing your luck with those tough, high-flying flocks of snow geese. In a tip called, “Play the Wind,” Northup says. “Snow geese typically fly high and circle straight down, making it difficult to shoot them anywhere but right over a good spread. But a 30–40 mph wind keeps them flying nice and low.” Northup recommends scouting out a location of snows where there are ditches or hedgerows a hundred yards or so from the fields where you can sneak into position to pick off the low-flying snows as they pass—without spooking the main flock.
3. Birds in Flight: Looks Are Deceiving
Because they are big, Canada Geese appear to be slow in flight, compared to ducks. And because of their long tails, pheasants appear to be slower than they really are. Swing your gun properly, lead the bird, and keep swinging as you pull the trigger. Or you’ll be shaking your head, wondering how you missed.
4. Snow Geese: Playing the Numbers Game
Those large flocks of snow geese weaving across the horizon, clamoring constantly, are hard to pull into normal decoy spreads of just two- or three- dozen birds. The flying geese can see great distances, and they are looking for big groups of feeding birds. Savvy hunters have learned to cope with this by putting out decoys by the hundreds, if necessary, and to do this they’ll use all the silhouettes they can haul to the site, plus whatever “rage-type” decoys they can fashion themselves from things like baby diapers and white garbage bags attached to a stake.
5. Layout Blinds Take Getting Used To
When using a layout blind, before the birds start flying take some time to try practicing the move it takes to rise into a shooting position. It takes some getting used to. If you don’t practice it, you may not be in a good position with your face well down on the gun during the first critical seconds when it’s time to, take ’em!
6. When the Canadas Sleep Late
In below-zero weather, sleep in an extra hour or two. When it’s that cold Canadas will stay roosted and fly out to feed only after the sun has come up and warmed things up a bit. It might be 10 AM before they leave the roost. The only thing you’ll get by showing up at dawn is cold.
7. Keep Those Silhouettes Visible
When using silhouette decoys for geese, take care to position them so many of them appear broadside at every angle. When edge-on to the viewpoint of the flying birds, they become invisible.
8. Layout Blinds: You are Part of the Action
You’re lying in a field, totally hidden right among the decoys. No brushy blind, no boat, no pit blind, no elaborate box blind, no blind on stilts. As an alternative, you are placed comfortably into a well-camouflaged layout blind, made more invisible by attaching the brush to the blind’s convenient straps and holders. You’re wearing camo yourself, including a hat and mask. Even your gun is camouflaged. Unlike hunting from a brush blind where you have to keep your face down—and thereby miss part of the spectacle of flying birds on the way in—you’re seeing the whole show, from the time birds, appear in the distance until they coming right into your face. There’s nothing like it!
9. Hiding Your Boat in Plain Sight
The john-boat or canoe you can put into the water and go wherever the ducks and geese are flying has gotten a lot easier to hide with the introduction of today’s synthetic camo material. The material, imitating different shades and textures of marsh grass, comes in manageable mats you can attach to your boat, then roll up and put away after your hunt. Cabela’s, has a bunch of different patterns, including the excellent Avery, and there’s a popular one called Fast-Grass that’s available at the Knutson’s waterfowling store and site.
10. Don’t Let Those Incoming Geese Fool You
The approach of wild geese to a blind is one of the neatest optical illusions in nature. The geese just keep on coming. You think they are one hundred yards away, and they are two hundred. You think they are fifty yards away, and they are one hundred.