Radcliffe's Plantation Goose Spread
With half a million Canada geese wintering in a three-county area, Maryland's storied Eastern Shore has some of the finest goose hunting in the Atlantic Flyway. This historic waterfowling area also has some of the most intense hunting pressure anywhere.
To fool this region's highly educated honkers, Wayne Radcliffe of Chestertown has developed an innovative field rig, which he uses to hunt geese on a plantation established in 1674. "The place I hunt doesn't look like a traditional goose field," Radcliffe says, referring to the field's hedgerows and pond. And that gives him an advantage when geese become more familiar with hunters and their decoy spreads as the season wears on.
The bulk of his rig consists of GHG life-size Canada geese in active and feeder positions. But he also mixes in GHG lesser Canada goose decoys in these same postures. "We have two populations of Canada geese, residents and the Atlantic Population. The Atlantic Population geese are smaller than residents, so adding these smaller decoys to the spread provides more realism," he explains.
Diagram of Radcliffe's Plantation Goose Spread – click image to enlarge.
To further set his decoys apart from competing spreads, he places a dozen life-size rester and sleeper decoys along the edge of the adjacent pond and six Canada goose floaters just offshore. Near the landing zone in front of his blind, he positions several FFD Elite Lookers to appear like birds have just landed. "The landing zone should look like a safe place that gives confidence to incoming geese," Radcliffe says.
For concealment, he uses an A-frame stand-up blind hidden in a dense hedgerow. Decoying geese rarely touch down outside the landing zone, but if any birds veer over the pond, hunters on the right side of the blind can get a shot. And what if any geese touch down on the perimeter of the spread? "They get to live," Radcliffe says. That is his live-and-let-live code for very lucky (or wise) geese.
For more information on Greenhead Gear decoys, visit greenheadgear.com. All Greenhead Gear decoys are licensed by Ducks Unlimited, and your purchase of these products will help conserve vital habitat for North America's waterfowl.