Flagging Dos and Don'ts
Guide Tony Vandemore has experimented with goose flags for years. During that time, he's seen both the upside and downside of flagging for Canadas.
"A flag is either your best friend or your worst enemy. Still, it's very much a necessity every day in my spread. When geese are at long distances, it's hard to go wrong flagging—the more the merrier. I just try to give the geese a glimpse of motion, something to get them curious enough to head in our direction," he says.
"As geese get closer, maybe 400 to 700 yards out, I adjust my flagging to mimic a landing goose. I start with the flag high in the air and then pump it and bring it down to the ground. I do this repeatedly until the geese are about 400 yards away.
"Inside 400 yards is where a flag can be your best friend (if it's in the hands of somebody who knows how to use it), or your worst enemy (if it's in the wrong hands)," Vandemore continues. "At this range, only one or two people—the most experienced hunters—should have a flag in their hands. When geese are approaching the decoys, I try to mimic a bird that is already on the ground and stretching its wings. I'll make just a few short fast pumps with the flag close to the ground. If geese are coming and start to slide to the side, skirt the decoys, or even start landing wide, two or three short fast pumps of the flag will give them enough motion to key on. Then they will come right to it."