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Banding Together for Waterfowl

The Big Chill

A group of veteran waterfowlers shares advice on hunting Canadas as the season winds down
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Story at a Glance

Tips covered in this feature:

  • Sound like contented geese
  • Get out of your comfort zone
  • Find or create open water
  • Keep your spread realistic

Taylor has hunted geese over everything from old tires and homemade silhouettes to stuffers—and everything in between. Decoy numbers and detail are important, but so is presentation.

"I like to constantly change what I'm doing with decoys," Taylor says. "Some hunters will go out with the same rig and set it up the same way every time. If geese see the same thing all the time, trust me, they will get used to it quicker than you think. The message here is to try different things.

"Late in the season, goose hunters often want to go with bigger rigs, and maybe they'll get together with friends and pool their decoys. That can be very effective. But, if I go that way, I do so only when I know our spread is going to be bigger than anybody else's in the area because that huge rig is probably something the geese aren't used to seeing.

"Pay close attention to what others around you are doing. If a lot of hunters are going with a bigger decoy spread, sometimes I do the exact opposite and go smaller with my spread. I like to put out a small family group and make it look like it's the first bunch that has hit the field."

Temperature, precipitation, and wind also help Taylor decide how he's going to set his decoys. "If it's really cold and there is snow on the ground, I like to bunch my decoys close together, and I set a lot of sleepers. The geese will huddle up to help keep warm, conserve energy, and ride out a front. I take the feet off my full-bodies and set them on their bellies. I also use shells with sleeper heads," Taylor says.

"Some hunters will bunch their decoys together too close and right up around their blind with a little landing zone out front," Taylor adds. "I don't think this looks very natural, and it puts too much focus on your blind. Don't be afraid to spread your decoys out and have some confidence in your calling."

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