I love to hunt Canada Geese and the opening of the regular season is not too far off. I have gotten several reports that the early season goose hunting went very well this year. Hunters are starting to understand that Goose hunting in the early seasons is mostly for regional geese that might stay around their area year round. But the big dance is almost here. As the weather starts to change and the temperatures continue to slowly drop the hunter is going to look up and start seeing those familiar V’s of honking and cackling geese on their way to the southern wintering grounds. Here are a few thing to remember before you go out after a limit of geese. It is so important to put in the time and effort to scout the geese so you are prepared when opening day finally comes around. Pre-season scouting will pay off the first and every day of the waterfowl season. The best time to scout the honkers is during the morning and afternoon feeding flights. They will let you know right away were their preferred feeding holes are. Geese take in around seven to ten pounds of carbohydrates a day, so that should tell you they are going to move from location to location to find the best feeding habitat they can during the season. Don’t be surprised if you are hunting one location in the morning and another in the afternoon. Every state has different bag limits for waterfowl. Make sure you find out what the rules for your area are before you go out hunting. One of the most important things you can do is prepare yourself for the various weather conditions you will face. Sunrise is usually the coldest part of the day you will face, unless a front is headed in your direction. Either way, you want to dress for the conditions you are going to face. Your local weatherman can be your best information resource during waterfowl season. Garrett Lewis, (5News weather guy) is my hero during waterfowl season. Watch the next day’s weather predictions closely, the morning, noon, mid-day and evening highs and lows. This will give you an indication on how to dress the next day. If it is going to warm up in the afternoon, then wear you cloths in a layered fashion so as the day begins to warm, you can shed clothing and stay comfortable. On the other hand if a storm is going to roll through during the day, you will know to take an extra coat. There are so many blinds on the market it is almost unreal. It takes more than one blind for me to hunt geese during a season. If the wheat is up real good around our pit blind, then that’s where we start hunting. Our pit blind is twenty feet by eight feet and is five feet deep. Pit blinds are awesome when the food source around them is plentiful and not depleted. Once the food source is gone, the geese are not going to land to eat dirt and rocks. At that point the pit blind is pretty well useless until the next year. But all is not lost. It is time to get out the layout blind and a decoy bag full of a couple of dozen decoys and start relying on all of that scouting you did in the pre-season. No matter what kind of blind you are using, a pit, layout, hay bales, or trees along a creek bank, just remember to stay concealed, quiet and still. By following those simple rules your cover should work.
That brings us to decoy set-up. Make sure you set your decoys out according to the wind direction. Remember that geese land into the wind. For this reason I put my blind on the edge of my decoys, with my back to the wind. I create a “Landing Zone” right in front of my blind. That is the spot where I expect those honkers to land. . I have interviewed some of the best goose hunters in North America on my radio show, “Spirit of the Outdoors”. We are talking men like Jase Robertson, Buck Gardner, Jeff Foiles, Brad Albeck, Phil Robertson, Wayne Betts and John Godwin. These guys agree on one thing, there is no perfect decoy pattern. You have to be flexible when it comes to your decoy pattern. I have used all kinds of decoy patterns. The J pattern, the U pattern, the group pattern, and combinations in between. Believe me; they all work in the right conditions. You might set out a certain pattern and get ready to go get you some geese, but all they are doing is flying over your decoy spread. If you are concealed well, you’re calling is good and is not squeaking over the top, then between flights you better run out to the field and change up you decoy pattern and give the geese a different look.
Hunting geese is an art. Those geese up in the air are hungry and looking to fill their bellies, but they have been shot at since they left Canada so they are watching for anything that shines or moves. Your job, the hunter’s job, is to stay motionless and concealed while convincing that flock of geese that the field you are set up in is just the spot they want to have breakfast at. Follow the steps, do the dance just right and you should have a goose or two to roast for supper. Good Luck with those honkers!