1. Vance Stolz's Canada Goose Spread
Vance Stolz of Johnstown, Colorado
, is an Avery Outdoors pro-staffer who hunts big Canada geese along the northern front range of the Rocky Mountains. Honkers swarm over this area's grainfields, and Stolz often pursues these birds with a small spread of three dozen flocked full-body decoys. He also mixes in several shell decoys on motion stakes to provide movement when the wind blows.
"Most big concentrations of feeding geese start out as small groups that just build up, so you're not really handicapped by hunting over a small spread," Stolz says. "You just have to be where the geese want to be and hide effectively, and you should pull in plenty of birds."
Stolz's first consideration is concealing his layout blinds
. "We rarely set our blinds among the decoys," he says. "Instead, when we find where geese are working, we look for nearby cover or a depression in the field, and we put our blinds there. We line them up almost touching each other, and we use artificial camo [Avery KillerWeed] and natural vegetation to make one big mound of cover."
Next he arranges his decoys to look as natural as possible. "I set some close together in little family groups, and I spread others apart. But there's no uniform pattern," Stolz says. "I think many hunters make a mistake by spacing their decoys the same distance apart. That's not how real geese look on the ground."
He positions his decoys so the downwind edge of the spread is centered in front of the blinds, leaving plenty of room for incoming geese to land. "I set a big group of decoys on the upwind edge of the spread, and then taper the numbers down toward the downwind edge," Stolz says. "My goal is to have incoming geese land right in front of us, 15 to 25 yards from the blinds."