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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Back to the Basics for Geese

In this era of decoy trailers and competition calling, some goose hunters have returned to a back-to-basics approach
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  • photo by Avery Outdoors
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Story at a Glance

Goose Basics:
  • Decoys: Think Small
  • Calling: Less is More
  • Concealment: Keep it Simple

by Matt Young

Goose hunting, it seems, has always been one of the most labor-intensive forms of waterfowling. Legendary outdoor writer Nash Buckingham wrote extensively about the trials and tribulations of goose hunting along the lower Mississippi River before the advent of the outboard motor. To reach goose loafing areas on sandbars exposed by fluctuating river levels, he and his hunting partners rowed a boat loaded with heavy plywood "profile" decoys long distances across backwaters and up and down side channels, in some cases against heavy current. Once they reached their intended hunting area, they dug chest-deep pits in the heavy, wet sand for concealment.

All in good fun.

Such backbreaking physical labor has largely become a thing of the past, but goose hunters remain an extremely hardworking and innovative group. Many "serious" goose hunters invest hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars in decoys, blinds, and other equipment, and they spend years mastering the intricate language of Canada geese with high-tech acrylic calls.

While recent advances in gear and tactics have undoubtedly made today's goose hunters more effective than ever before, the sport has also become so complicated and gear-oriented that those who don't know any better could easily conclude that goose hunting is too difficult and expensive to get into. Which raises the question: How much time, money, and effort are really needed to hunt Canada geese?

Three expert goose hunters—Darrel Wise, Matt Wettish, and George Lynch—say it's a lot less than you might think. Read on to learn how you can get into goose hunting the easy way.

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