The Canada geese (Branta canadensis), or Canadian geese, are large wild geese with a black head and neck, white under their chin, white cheeks, and a brown body. They travel in a large V formation which makes them recognizable even high in the sky.
Over the years, Canada goose hunting has become a highly specialized sport. It requires a combination of good equipment, hunting savvy, and persistent effort to consistently outwit these challenging game birds.
If you have hunted Canadian goose before, then you know that it is a fun and exciting experience. It is really exhilarating when you see a large flock dropping fast, right toward your decoy spread. In this article, we will mention some Canada goose hunting tips to help you bag more geese this hunting season.
Canada Goose Hunting Tips
Find a Location
For a successful hunt, you have to be in the right place at the right time, which means a lot of driving and scouting ( but make sure you ask permission from the landowner).
Smart hunters use farmers and other people who work the land to accomplish some of their leg work. Many farmers know exactly which fields are hit by the Canadian geese. And with the increased population of Canadian geese, they will be more than happy to guide you to them. Many landowners and farmers do not want the geese for many reasons, such as crop damage.
How many geese are using the field? What time are they coming to feed? And What is the direction of the approach? Once you are armed with those answers, it is time to get more familiar with your hunting area.
Search for places where you can set up. Knowing which field geese are using is no longer enough. You need to find out which corner of the field or which dip or hump or swale the geese prefer.
The grain field’s north end may have more waste grain than the south. So when scouting the area, you have to pay close attention and set up exactly where the geese want to be. Keep in mind that things appear different in the dark and you have to set up perfectly as a big part of your success depends on it.
If possible, use the day before hunting to watch the geese come into the field. Notice their time of arrival and the size of the flock. In general, early-season geese arrive at daylight, while late-season geese may not show up until 11:00 am.
Decoys with a natural look are important. There is a simple rule you need to follow: if the decoys do not appear natural to you, then they probably will not look good to the geese either.
There are several styles of Canada goose decoys that includes full-body decoys, silhouettes, floating decoys, shell decoys, rag decoys, magnums and specialty items like motion decoys and goose flags.
It is important for the hunters to use some variety in the decoy spread and choose decoys that are appropriate for where they are hunting. For instance, you will want some floating decoys when waterfowl hunting in the river, along with some standing decoys to put along the banks.
The number of decoys you will use is largely based on the time of the season when hunting takes place, the type of area being hunted, and the hunter’s budget. For instance, early in the season, small spreads of 6 to 24 decoys may work well. Wary late-season geese may respond best to bigger spreads.
Place the decoys in loosely designed J or U patterns. The closest decoys can be 5 yards from your blind. Make sure there is enough space between decoys for the geese to land. If your set is believable, the geese might come in extremely close.
You should separate these decoys into family groups of 5 to 7 decoys. Set them facing the wind since geese land into the wind to slow down their decent
The bigger the decoys, the better. Flying geese can easily see the Magnum deluxe versions from the air. Geese can only see other geese on the ground more clearly, but they can not judge size from the air.
Making sure that your decoys are clean after hunting in muddy fields is a job, but it’s worth the effort. After all, since geese are constantly in the water, dirty ones don’t work. So Keep them clean and hunt more geese.
Blinds have many forms and sizes. If you have the needed money and time, you can make your blind as comfortable as you want. Blinds can be created from willow branches or anything else available. The key is blending in.
The ability to hide and mobility are critical for success in goose hunting. The blind must mesh with the whole natural surroundings. The geese have sharp eyes, so a good cover is important to prevent them from seeing your hands, faces, movements or anything human.
Pit blinds and Box blinds can be effective for executing a hunt, but without the perfect circumstances, they might spoil everything.
Today’s geese have been affected by changes in both food and environmental factors along their routes of migration. So predicting what fields they will use each year is increasingly difficult.
For goose or duck hunting, you should set up where the birds want to go. This is a very helpful rule and also a good argument for portable layout blinds. Layout blinds are an excellent way to hunt wherever there are geese. They are lightweight, blend in with natural surroundings, are easily transported, and are also perfect for hunting without altering farmer’s fields.
Hunters who want to hunt geese with a virtually invisible blind will appreciate sloping angles and adding vegetation to the grassing straps. This one-man blind can blend in perfectly. While using high-profile silhouettes around layout blinds can help to hide the hunters from incoming birds. It’s not uncommon for geese to touch down within the decoys when these are used properly.
If geese fly over your blind and leave after a couple of passes, then the blind cover might not be blending in. In this case, you should try to move the decoys far from the blind. After that, pay close attention to the geese’s reaction. They tend to look straight at the decoys. Distant blinds are less apt to attract attention. In this way, you will find out if your set frightens the geese.
Calling Canada Geese
In order to become a good goose hunter, becoming a good caller is a must. It is something that needs time to practice, you can not learn it the weekend prior to goose season.
You can buy a CD or video and try to imitate them with your calls, or you can learn from an experienced caller. There are lots of good goose calls available but make sure to get one that is made specifically for Canada geese calling.
Those calls are effective in the hands of a good caller. A snow goose or whitefront call probably will not properly imitate the Canada geese’s distinctive calls. Keep in mind that bad calling can frighten the geese.
Good goose calling requires lots of lung power. The best caller begins to honk once he sees the geese and continues calling them all the way to his decoy spread or blind.
To know if you are good enough to start calling in the field or not, you can record your calls on a tape recorder and listen to it. Try to find your weaknesses, then practice more for better performance.
A combination of an adequate decoy set with good calling can really do a great job of bringing geese to your decoy spread or blind.
No matter how good your goose blind is, good camouflage is a must. Some hunters try to block out their facial glare by wearing facemasks that are normally used in hunting turkeys.
Also, wearing gloves to cover your shiny hands has equal importance as wearing facemasks. But keep in mind that no matter how much camouflage you are wearing, it is important to be still without any movement.
Manage Your Hunting Spots
When you are in pursuit of Canada geese, instead of hitting the same goose field time after time, you should get out and scout for more areas.
Geese will only take so much pressure, and then they will leave. When you bounce between various fields, this will give geese the chance to rest and become accustomed to feeding in specific fields.
Once they become comfortable, hit the field for an amazing shoot and then leave as fast as possible. This is called Hit and Run. Once a limit has been harvested, it’s all hands on deck as you get out of the field.
Leaving the field quickly will help settle the field down as other geese will come in to feed that have never heard your calling or seen the decoys. This allows you to hit the same area a gain in the near future. However, if you hit the same field the whole day, it’s quite possible that the geese will not come back again.
While scouting for more hunting areas, do not miss the hunting opportunities that exist in small and large bodies of water. You can take advantage of those honkers as well.
No matter how you pursue Canada geese, with a guide or without, on private or public land, in a field or on a river, they provide unexpected thrills at each turn. so start now to prepare for the season ahead.
Take Care of the Meat
Executing a good early-season goose hunt can net you a lot of high-quality grain-fed meat, so make sure you take care of these birds the right way.
You have to keep geese cool and in the shade as the early-season temperature can rise fast by mid-morning. So to make sure they do not spoil, you have to gut or clean them quickly and then ice them down.
After all of your efforts from the endless scouting and setting up all those decoys in the heat, you will want to enjoy your prize.
Frequently Asked Questions About Canada Goose Hunting
Do You Need a Boat Or Waders for Canada Goose Hunting?
When hunting geese over open water, then a boat will be necessary. Also, you may need waders to protect you and avoid getting wet. Some hunting grounds only require that you put on waders.
When choosing waders, you have to make sure that the characteristics suit your hunting environment. You want to have waders that suit the temperature of the day and also be of very good quality. Waders are a must when you have to retrieve a game bird in the water.
Can You Hunt Goose Without Decoys?
It is possible to hunt geese without decoys. You can apply a lot of techniques in your geese hunt. Those techniques can prove efficient and do not require using decoys. However, hunting with decoys increases your chances of getting the geese.
Can You Hunt Geese in the Rain?
This totally depends on the hunters. They have varied opinions about geese hunting in rainy environments. Some of them enjoy this experience, others are indifferent, while some hunters are averse to it. So to decide whether or not you enjoy geese hunting in the rain, you will have to go out and try it yourself.
Those who hunt in the rain have related how the increased winds trigger the geese’s movement. This tends to move them toward their hunting grounds. But goose hunting in a rainy environment might not be a great experience, as being soaked can make for a long day in the field.
Do You Need an Outfitter to Hunt Geese in Canada?
While you don’t need an outfitter to hunt Canada Geese in Canada, it is recommended as they will have the local knowledge making your time in Canada a huge success. Finding a reputable outfitter is something you will not regret as they will take the time to make your hunt as enjoyable as possible.