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12 Tips for Hunting Geese

An all-star lineup of professionals share their secrets to goose-hunting success

8. Flagging, not calling, may be the answer in the fog.

"On calm, foggy days a lot of guys want to get really excited on their goose calls and make a lot of noise. Often, I do just the opposite. When it's foggy, listen closely and try using a flag instead of a call when you first hear geese, not necessarily when you first see them. This can be particularly effective when you know that the geese are close and they're coming toward your spread. I owe a lot of my success in foggy conditions to this technique. Try it, and I guarantee that you'll agree." —Tim Grounds, Johnston City, Illinois timgrounds.com

9. Land-and-water spreads are a productive combination.

"When 'running traffic' for Canada geese, I like to set up land-and-water spreads whenever I can. Water seems to 'soften up' geese and they tend to work really well. A combination spread of sleeper shells, full-bodies, and floaters can be deadly. During times of freezing temperatures I like to run an 'ice eliminator' to ensure I have open water in traffic areas. Having access to open water when it's really cold can make a big difference in your success." —Tony Vandemore, Kirksville, Missouri habitatflats.com

10. Communicate with geese through decoy placement.

Collared Canada goose landing
Photo: Ryan Askren

"You want to set your goose decoys to deliver several messages about the flock on the ground. These messages include where the food is located in the field, where the food is not located, and where the safe spots are. Feeder decoys obviously speak for themselves—they suggest that there is food at that goose's location. A group of active decoys indicates there is no food available in that area. This is important because geese typically land as close as possible to the food source. So set up 'actives' in areas where you don't want the geese to land. Rester and sleeper decoys can be used to show geese where the safe areas are. Sleeping geese signal that the area has been checked out and is safe enough to drop in and take a nap. Rester and sleeper decoys are my favorite confidence decoys. It's the hunter's job to learn how best to use these tools." —Field Hudnall, LaGrange, Kentucky fieldprovenproductions.com

11. Practice shooting in natural hunting situations.

"As a professional guide, I hunt with a lot of different people. The number one thing I see that would make guys more successful would be spending a little more time practicing their shooting. When hunting is tough and opportunities are few and far between, you need to make every shot count. Go out and practice shooting in a natural hunting situation, shoot your normal waterfowl load, practice shooting coming out of a pit or layout blind, and get out on those wet and windy days and practice in some 'fowl' weather. All these things will make you more effective when you say or hear 'take 'em!'"—Bill Saunders, Kennewick, Washington billsaunderscalls.com

12. Stand out from the crowd.

"When hunting in areas with intense hunting pressure, don't try to match every decoy spread out there, especially during the late season. When everyone is using bigger spreads, downsize to only one or two dozen decoys and go with very little calling. What you are trying to do is stand out from everyone else around you. You can do that by giving your decoy spread a different look. Remember, curiosity kills geese." —Hunter Grounds, Johnston City, Illinois timgrounds.com

Early Birds

Many states now offer early season Canada goose hunting opportunities. These seasons offer generous bag limits and focus on resident birds. Check your state's waterfowl hunting regulations for details.

Do you have a goose hunting tip to share? Go to www.ducks.org/yourgoosetips to share your secrets.


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