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Close-Range Canadas

Four experts share their secrets on how to decoy wary late-season geese 
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4. Give Geese What They Want to Hear

Defending world goose calling champion Mitch Hughes pursues Canadas on Maryland's tradition-rich Eastern Shore and in Canada. Through trial and error and by listening and watching, he has learned that geese cannot be counted on to behave the same way day in and day out.

"On sunny days, with not a breath of wind, I use very little calling—just enough to keep the birds interested in me," Hughes says. "On very windy days, I use a much higher-pitched call and do a lot more calling.

"Most of the time on high-wind days, you have to aggressively call geese until their feet hit the ground. But every day is different, and you have to see how the birds are reacting. Then adjust your calling and decoy spread accordingly."

"On sunny days, with not a breath of wind, I use very little calling—just enough to keep the birds interested in me." —Mitch Hughes

Hughes recommends that hunters learn how to read geese. That is, watch how the birds react to the sounds you are creating. "You can tell what they want to hear by watching them," Hughes says. "The geese will tell you what's working. I'll read the birds, and if they're not liking aggressive calling that day, I'll keep it simple and do just a little bit of calling.

"You often have to adjust," he continues. "I'll try a bunch of different things—different notes—with every group that comes over if that's what it takes. I change it up a lot."

No matter your calling prowess, too much calling can be detrimental to your success. "I see, or hear, a lot of people out there going a hundred miles an hour on a goose call," Hughes says. "Sometimes everybody in the blind is blowing their calls like crazy. That can work. But too much calling can also flare a lot of birds, and it can make geese call shy."

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