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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Five Great Spreads for Geese

Expert tips for decoying Canadas, Snows, Specklebellies, Cacklers, and Brant
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2. Kevin Addy's Snow Goose Spread

Avery pro-staffer Kevin Addy of Morgantown, Pennsylvania, has several years of experience hunting greater snow geese in fields around upper Chesapeake and Delaware bays. He rates adult snows among the smartest and most difficult of all waterfowl to hunt, especially in areas with heavy hunting pressure. 

Late in the season, when geese become extra-cautious, Addy adjusts his tactics by scaling down his decoy spread. "I use a lot of decoys early on, but when the geese start getting spooky, I reduce the size of my spread," he says. "The more decoys you use, the greater the chance the geese can tell they're not real. So during the late season, I put out just three to six dozen decoys."

Though Addy goes light on decoy numbers, he doesn't skimp on quality. "I use the most realistic decoys I can find," he says. He takes special care to conceal his layout blinds for the same reason: "If one goose spots something suspicious, he'll take the whole flock away, and you can't call or flag them back."

Addy and his hunting partners often conceal their layout blinds along a hedgerow bordering the field. They set their decoys downwind from the hedgerow with the upwind edge of the spread about 30 yards from the blinds. "Snow geese are greedy," he explains, "and incoming birds will usually land upwind of a flock on the ground so they can get the freshest food. The idea with this spread is to pull the birds into the gap between the upwind edge of the decoys and our blinds."

The upwind edge of the spread forms a feeding line that trails off in a loose triangle downwind. "We want it to appear like a flock that's just landed, and we try to make it random-looking, not symmetrical. 

It's a very simple setup," Addy says. "We rarely get geese to land. Instead, we just try to lure them to the upper edge of the spread into close shotgun range."

Over the years, Addy and his hunting partners have used these tactics to decoy huge flocks of snow geese. "If you're in an area where a lot of snow geese are flying, and if your decoys look natural and your blinds are well hidden, you're probably going to get some shooting. These birds are tough to hunt, but they can be had," he says.

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