What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

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What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby T Man » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:16 pm

Alright guys, I want experience to speak here. I have duck hunted enough to think I have it marginally figured out. Late last season I started to branch out into goose (Canada) hunting but for all practical purposes we were hunting them like we would field hunt ducks.I want to know everyones 10 basic rules of Goose hunting. Im not looking for the "cover your face and dont move" or the "location location location" speech either. I have secured permission on approx 6k acres of good (seen them using the fields several consecutive days) goose ground. I want to know what 10 points, from setting dekes, to calling tips you would recommend to someone who wants to branch out.

Botiz630 wrote:How much does an apostrophe cost down south? Must be quite a bit, based on how sparingly you use them.
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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby Have Gun Will Travel » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:46 am

I'll give it a shot. Many of the ideals Ive put into play over the years are very similar to duck hunting.

The hide is really the most important thing if you are where they want to be.
Try to be in the right spot in the field, not just the right field.
Only call if they are heading away from you or are a good distance off heading your way. If you must call just use soft clucks as they come in to land.
Call softer over water, and much less.
If you're going to be hunting the same birds get in, get your limits, and get out before you educate the entire flock.
Shoot them in the head, a shot through the rear or even the breast can end up in a long walk or lost/crippled bird.
If they give you a passing shot and you think they are going to come around again and land, they wont, SHOOT.
Dont use letter type spreads, they can be a good starter, but instead look closely at the birds using your fields. Maybe even take pics and set the decoys as they are sitting in the field.
It doesnt take $1k/doz decoys to kill geese. Start with what you can afford and build each year from there.
Some might say this is a bit picky, but I put mostly all feeders at the front of my spread. Geese tend to "leap frog" across a field while they feed and mainly do so into the wind. (not saying I dont have feeders else where.)
I've never been able to blow a short reed call. Got a Buck Gardener Grey Ghost this year and its like there is a built in goose inside the call. Easy call to run.
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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby ICDEDTURKES » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:43 am

Ill give a few few..

1. When running traffic take the highest point in the field with adequate landing area..

2. When hunting the X and geese are spread all over the field.. Take the closest spot that geese were somewhat concentrated to the direction they will come.. You get to work every flock

3. Work a bird not the flock.. It may be the back 1 or 2 maybe the front one.. Watch each gooses body language and plead to the one that wants it.. Sometimes the others will follow sometimes not..

4. When stubble is less than adequate.. Crosswind them and set outside the bulk of the decoys.. Also crosswinding can be effective if a fencerow, tree line etc helps to ensure the geese will not circle behind you.. Back of the blind is the weak link.

5. Mimic what you see the day before and use 18 or so decoys as blockers for the wind.. We used to do the decoy shuffle if a flock did not decoy, thinking decoy placement was wrong.. But in reality if there are a 1000 honkers in a dense ball in a field and geese want in, they will get in.. Decoy placement is to ensure good shooting.

6.. Flagging is huge if you have the right person flagging.. A little way out to get attention, and than on the corner swings a flip of the flag. An overzealous flagger can ruin a hunt.

7.. Geese land the opposite end of the field or in the next one over.. Get um up, you cannot compete.

8. Cold frosty days geese will fly a bit later. Get there stubble blinds, get stakes set.. Wait for frost to quit.. Frost on the decoys when the sun pops will ruin more hunts than anything.

9. Wet rainy days most likely means no evening hunting.. Sometimes bumping birds out of a field works, but most times you are better off letting them till morning.

10.. Walk your blind a ways from where you plan to set to stubble.. No need raping the kill hole of vegetation and making it look different.
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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby imboray » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:31 am

1. Be where they want to be.
2. Get hid
3. Repeat
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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby T Man » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:33 am

This is exactly what I was looking for. Keep em coming guys, and thank you.
Botiz630 wrote:How much does an apostrophe cost down south? Must be quite a bit, based on how sparingly you use them.
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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby TomKat » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:52 am

These are all great tips!

The only thing I will add is that it is easyier to hide a blind in the snow than in the bare field.

Also, don't use a white sheet to cover your blind, spend the money and get a snow cover. There IS a diffrence.

Geese have very good vision, they are always looking for a reason to NOT land. Don't give them one!

I look for geese to use the same field 3 days in a row. I have seen them use it 2 days and not 3 many times. If they are there the 3rd day, they will be there the next day, too.

If you use a mojo, have a remote to turn it off. Better yet, dont use a mojo, use a flag. I have seen geese flagged in from a very long distance...

Listen to the geese you are working. If they are coming in silently, you stay quiet. If they are raising hell, call back in a like manner.

This one is more of an observation, BUT-

They are a lot easyier to kill when they are actually landing! Let them get about 10 yards off the deck, then let them have it. I aim for the white cheek patch, makes a good target.

You will note in these pics that the heads have been shot up. This was one flock that landed and we got all of them in one volley. Head shot.



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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby goodkarmarising » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:57 am

All of the above sounds good...for here in the midwest especially around the area I think you'll be hunting..

I'll take a cut corn field over a cut bean field.
Winter wheat is your friend.
A cut corn field leading into a irrigation pond/lake can be golden.
They seem to fly later and lower on a foggy cold morning.
Get a flag. Flagging can be deadly for geese, have turned them in from a long ways out...
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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby Blackfoot down » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:57 pm

T Man,
I am more of goose hunter than a duck hunter, but I have learned quickly that I am not any more of an expert than any other guy. Every areas' geese act a little different. I hunt in Southwest Missouri. Not exactly the duck or goose capital of flyway... Having said that, I have learned to adapt to "my" geese... So here are my lessons learned on my own.

1. If you can, dig in! I dig my blind in about 6 inches and fill my hole after the hunt and cover it back with left ovr bean stubble. Getting lower makes you less obvious to the geese. A two foot tall hunp on a flat field means death to geese!

2. Call to the geese the same way they talk to you. Cadence is critical. If they are excited, get excited. If they aren't talking, be quiet! Maybe some feed murmurs at most...

3. You can make a spread better for getting birds to land in it by opening your holes bigger. I take 5-7 big steps between birds. Sometimes I will set two or three close, but then 5-7 between the next decoy. It lets the birds land in your spread.

4. If you don't have any birds in the air, simply get out of your blind to go pee. Works evertime about mid stream!!!

5. Flagging is awesome at birds that are over 200-300 yards away. Flag high at first. Then if they get to 150-200 yards and start to turn, flag low!!! Barely raise the flag no more than two feet off the ground... If they are coming at you from 100-150 yards, PUT DOWN YOUR FLAG!!!!

6. Pick up your shells and doughnut wrappers! They are shiney and flare geese!!! My kid brother is horrible about spent brass! I went to the truck to get my camera one day and saw the brass glare over 500 yards away!

7. If you get shells (they are great) buy some Avery motion stakes and drill a hole in your shell after you find the balance point. I put the head on, balance it on a pencil with an eraser and then mark the spot, drill it slightly larger than the stake. Then I put a giant letter for what head it was balanced with. S for sentry, F for feeder, M for mid hieght, L for low...I don't drill sleepers, so they are not marked. Also, this is critical, cut your stakes to about 14 inches. The shells need to be off the ground, but only by about 8-10 inches. That way the wind doesn't catch too much and blow them wildly!

8. Full bodies should be kept in a slotted bag. They are damned expensive so protect them so they last...

9. I never use a decoy that I haven't doctored in some way... I always trim the inside of the necks so the heads fit better. I also hand paint a little extra detail on them... Lastly, I mark my decoys! That prevents me and my hunting buddies from getting into fights over who's decoys are who's.... Why ruin a friendship!?!?

10. Never hunt a letter. The geese see them all down the flyway. Don't hunt a U shape. I make a random blob and hunt to the side of the spread with the wind on my left. I am right handed so shooting is easier tracking from right to left for me...

11. Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sky carp are more addictive than crack cocaine.......
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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby Huntfish12 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:59 am

ICDEDTURKES wrote:3. Work a bird not the flock.. It may be the back 1 or 2 maybe the front one.. Watch each gooses body language and plead to the one that wants it.. Sometimes the others will follow sometimes not..

thats the best one ive heard yet! A+++ on that. So often to we get caught up in the moment, and forget the simple things. :thumbsup:
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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby rmh » Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:27 pm

Be patient.

Some more rules:

The geese will show up when you leave the blind and are standing in the open.
They will also show up when you're taking a leak.
And when you're picking up the decoys at the end of the day.
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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby Willhunt4food » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:03 pm

These are just a few of my rules for any waterfowl hunt, most being for geese.

1. Don't leave the blind. You will get busted.
2. If you do leave, always take your gun. Guns get loaded until lst. And are not unloaded until everything is packed
3. You should spend more time on your blinds then on decoys.
4. In addition to the right fields. Be there at the right time. If birds aren't showing up until 10:00. No need to show up at 4:00a
5. I like to use more actives than feeders. Placed in the right fashion, it looks like they just landed. Geese see feeders all the way down the flyway.
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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby wvugunner92 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:14 pm

Wow...some of this stuff I am reading I'm not sure i agree with BUT to each there own. Here in Easton Maryland we don't get the best duck hunting, but geese we have, and that's what I have grown up on. Few things I learned and figured out.

Geese are not as predictable as some experts might like to think. Some days, no matter how good your spread, blind, or calling, they just have something else in mind. Frustrating? Yes. But its how they are programmed. The next day with the exact same conditions you might be limited out in 20 minuets. Its happened too many times to count.

The moon does play a major part in how we hunt here. Full moon, the geese are normally active and feeding in the fields, which is when we set up on the water and ponds to kill them as they come to sit and digest in the mornings, then switch up and catch them heading back to the fields during the evening. Dark of the moon obviously is the opposite.

I have killed ducks over decoys that look more like pieces of drift wood then decoys, geese however don't fall for it. Granted Easton MD, is heavily hunted and the birds are educated easily, but still, clean well painted decoys are becoming more and more of a must when it comes to goose hunting. All are decoys are flocked and gently transported.

Motion is a big one as I'm sure you know. We mix GHG shells with motion stakes in the middle of our decoys, you wouldn't believe how just that makes the entire spread look alive.

About everyone I hunt with has a call around their neck but only a handful know even the first thing about calling. You would be surprised what knowing a few basic sounds such as the cluck and moan will do for you. Read the birds and how they react to the call. Some days high pitch non stop calling puts birds in your face, but more days then not just a few well placed sounds will work to your advantage. Of coarse that being said, there have been plenty of days I have never touched my calls and done just fine. As a side note, I'm not so sure about the "only call at birds when they are heading away" but i do know that we make sure we are quiet when the geese are directly over head or any place where the call will help them locate the blind or pit. Layouts we don't worry as much because we are right in amongst the decoys.

The flag in the field is just as important as the call. Geese see too many spreads just like yours and that quick flapping of black is more unique and spells natural and relaxed all over it.

When I kill my geese, I normally like to get out quick and let the least amount of birds possible know that i was there.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking you HAVE to shoot 3 1/2 to consistently put geese down. I own a 3 1/2 capable gun and only shoot 3 1/2s over open water rigs. I guess this is more of a preference then a tip, I just see too many people spend unnecessary cash on shells that simply are not needed on decoying birds in a field.

Bring a dummy for your dog (if you don't have a dog, a small child will suffice) :lol3: If your not seeing birds, toss it out in the rig and your guaranteed to have geese magically appear.

I haven't looked over this so i hope it is at least semi legible
I think that's only 9 but ill leave it at that. A lot of goose hunting is just getting a feel. Good Luck :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby 2500hdon37s » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:20 pm

1. adjust decoys to the situation, no need for 10doz+ decoys all the time. I love to hunt my place that has water and winter wheat planted next to it so 3doz decoys are extremely effective as i have 1doz full bodys, 1doz floaters, and a doz shells.

2. make sure you are hidden, I always try to find something natural that allows me to hide my layout blind better.

3. hunt the evening and morning if you can, I love evening hunts!

4. if the birds are going to land let them! have every body pick one out then jump them up and shoot!

5. The wind is your friend use it as so, have the wind blowing at you're back if you can or cross ways in front of you.

6. watch the geese and find out what they are like when they are at ease in a field.

7. find out where the geese in your area are going to come from, makes it easy to find them and sucker them in.

8. learn how/ when to call, I find that soft moans really work well to sucker the geese into finishing!

9. never put duck decoys close to your goose decoys, and never use a mojo or spinning wing decoy when hunting geese.

10. always load your gun first! (got screwed by not doing this on my last hunt!)
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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby A-Bomb » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:27 pm

Goose hunting

1. Scout,Scout, And scout some more
2.Set up where the birds wanna be when they wanna be there
3. Brush your blind in well, you can have the best spot in the world, but if you hide sucks anything else you do will be a wasted effort. Be thorough or they will pick you out
4. Make your spread look natural. Use numbers of decoys in comparison to what your seeing. If you flocks are huge, you probably want a big spread. If theyre in small groups, use just that.
5.Buy quality decoys..Geese get smart, get realistic looking decoys
6. Dont get hung up on a "set" decoy spread. Put the blinds out and put the decoys out in a natural looking manner. Meaning family groups. I like to put out pairs and singles for added realism...just simulate the look of a real flock. You dont have to have a "U" or "J" or an "X" pattern. Just leave em an ample size hole to land in. Ive foudn wide spreads with large landing holes work well for geese.
7.Use a flag. Its a very effective tool. It can pull birds from very long distances and if used correctly is a great finishing tool. Forget mojos geese/ducks for goose hunting. They are geese flaring machines...leave em at home unless your gonna shoot ducks in the same field. And if you are,have a remote or keep it close so you can turn it off. I just dont like em out at all when im hunting geese.
8.Calling geese is a small part of killing geese. Its used to turn geese from afar and to give your decoys that final touch of realism to seal the deal. It can affect your hunt in a positive and negative manner. Too much, not enough, unrealistic all factor in.
9.Take your calling seriously and become a proficient caller. Learn to sound like real geese. A few realistic sounds delivered in a realistic manner can be deadly. Geese get excited and then settle down. If you listen to real geese youll realize this. Mimicking that in your calling is very beneficial. When you sound like geese youll notice the difference right away. Geese will be turning towards your spread instead of away from it. Tying into this is calling as much as is needed. You have to read the birds, and figure out what they want. Do they want a few clucks, quick spits and moans or do they want aggressive clucking and double clucking speed sequences. Personally, a few clucks and moans or quick spit and moan sequences usually does the trick. I may incorporate a hiccup sequence like some birds got riled up and then settled back down...just be realistic.
10. Think outside the box. Geese get very smart. Hunt smart, get your geese and get out. Always try and think of ways to do it better so your impacting them as least as possible. The dumber they are the better your hunt is gonna be.
11. Have fun. Your gonna mess up. Learn from your mistakes, theyll make you a better hunter. And dont get discouraged. Some days they just dont want it even if youve done everything right. In my scouting ive seen geese pass up real geese in fields. Theyll make you wanna pull your hair out at times.

Good luck, i hope this helps ya smack a goose!!!
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Re: What are your 10 Basic rules of Goose hunting?

Postby dduckman » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:57 pm

i like to set up on the face of a hump or the back side not right on top, you will be hidden better that way.

we concentrate a bunch of motion coys in one area where we plan on the birds finishing.

flags are a must.

if its really cold and clear sleep in, birds will sit tight till late morning typically.

also even when hunting with a large bunch of guys we usually do not like more than 3 layout blinds in the field unless there is some serious cover.
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