Field hunting geese can be overwhelming if you’ve never hunted them before. Many aspects can play into having a successful hunt. Here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. Hunt the hide
This is by far the most important aspect of fielding hunting geese, especially later in the season. Geese have a tendency to flair and not fully commit when they see something they consider out of the ordinary. For example, if you are hunting in a layout blind, make sure to grass it with foliage found in the field you are hunting. If the field is white with snow, use a snow cover and the surrounding snow to cover up imperfections. The key is to blend in. Good cover will allow you to finish birds feet down.
A successful trip can be determined by a lot of different factors, but if you want to harvest birds consistently you will want to scout. Just like big game hunting the more you know about the birds’ habits, the more successful you will be in the field. Find out their flight patterns, feeding and roosting locations. When are they flying in the mornings? What fields are they landing in? Where are they roosting at night? These are just a few things to consider before picking a field to hunt.
3. Pay attention to the wind on set-up
Geese will typically come into your spread with the wind at their face or side. When setting up the decoys pay attention to the wind because this will tell you how the birds will make their final approach. Always know the weather forecast and what the wind is “supposed” to do for the day. Ideally, set-up with the wind at your back or from the side depending on what the field layout looks like. Try not to set-up with the wind in your face. This will typically give you butt shots, which are less than ideal when hunting waterfowl.
4. Use your decoys wisely
Decoy set-up can be determined by which subspecies of geese you are targeting and the location you are hunting. When hunting large geese, such as the Greater Canadian, later in the season you will want to try a smaller spread. Most of the time, three dozen decoys or less is all you need for large geese. If you are hunting lessers or snow geese and running traffic, a large spread can be very beneficial. Know the birds of your area and watch the size of the flocks when scouting to help determine your spread size.
5. Practice calling
You don’t have to be a world class caller to harvest birds, but you should know a few simple vocals to harvest geese regularly. There are a ton of videos online to help with different types of honker vocals. The more you practice these sounds the more birds you will fool. The big advantage to calling geese is visualizing and knowing how the birds will react to your call. Knowing the difference between a single cluck, double cluck and that of a full sequence calling cycle will help you know what the birds are doing. If you find something they seem to like stick with it and if there is a tone that doesn’t seem to be working that day, quit calling with that particular vocal.