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Q:
I'm going goose hunting tomorrow. I will be hunting one of my favorite corn fields but like most days I hunt I don't have the luxury of hunting where the birds have been using. I am semi under the flyway. There are a couple major flyways. The major one skirts my spread by about a mile. The second one comes right over my field but the birds are high. Both flyways lead to the same field. I will be taking a guy with me tommorow who does a bit of waterfowl hunting but mostly for ducks. His neighbor gave him his hole snow goose spread made up of sillosocks the other day cause he doesn't hunt anymore and didn't need them. Should I put out my 70 Canadian decoys and try to traffic geese with only them or should I put out a crap load of these snow goose decoys and try to get there attention and pull them my way. There are a ton of Canadians in the area and a few snows but not nearly as many. I will be targeting the Canadians but any unfortunate snows that float in are toast. Will the Canadians flair at the snows or will they help?

Question by Ncarl. Uploaded on January 02, 2013

Answers (12)

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from Ncarl wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Correction, they are Texas rag decoys not sillosocks so they don't look all that realistic at close range.

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from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Good Question. If you are a mile off the main flyway a big spread of white decoys will show and may draw some Canadas your way. I would put the rags on the upwind side behind you and your 70 Canada decoys in front of the blinds. It might work. On the other hand, it might not, and then you have a lot of extra work putting out and picking up rags. I don't know how much success you usually have in that spot. If the Canada decoys work stick with them.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Hopefully you have a flag. That would help a LOT in this situation and I think Phil would agree. Seventy honker decoys is quite a few! I think you should stick with those. Put a few of the snow goose decoys (three or four) out quite a ways away from the honker set to help catch their eye. See if that works. If it flares the honkers then you don't have such a mess to try to pick up. Unless you are actually TRYING to bring down big flocks of snows/blues I would never put out a big mess of the white decoys.

Also, keep in mind that honkers as often as not will prefer to land on the outside of a decoy set, especially if they have been shot up and are spooky. The larger your setup, the greater the probability that they will land or only circle for a look out on the edge where they'll be out of range.

Having said that, I will add that I think your situation is going to require a lot of decoys (which, fortunately, you have). I have traditionally only hunted with sixteen decoys (just added another dozen late in the season this year). But I have quite a bit of land accessible to me (and everyone else!) and the honkers are fresh from the barren, hunterless tundra. It's not too hard to pull in family groups, singles, pairs, etc. (I prefer not to shoot up the big flocks). You are going to have a much tougher time.

What kind of honker decoys are you using (sillouttes, full body, shells, etc.)?

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

I should add that it has been my experience that the morning flights will approach decoys with the sun to their backs. This seems to me to have been a more of a rule than wind direction. So, if you are using layout blinds (which I don't use), I suggest that you set them on the east side of the deeks for early morning flights and then move to center of the spread later. Anybody else have thoughts on that?

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from Ncarl wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Ontario, I'm not going out till 1 in the afternoon because the birds haven't even been flying till 4 around here. To answer your other question, I have 26 full body GHGs, 8 full body hard cores, 6 magnum shells and the rest are just regular shells. The full bodies are super visible and so are the magnums but the shells sit pretty low in the corn stalks and are only really visible from above. It sounds like a lot of decoys but this late in the season the birds are all bunched up in big groups and really don't pay any mind to a smaller spread. I too only use a few decoys in the early season when I'm hunting ponds and there is mostly small groups of resident geese. my best shoot this year was on opening weekend when I was only hunting over 24 of my GHG full bodies. Personally I think the smaller the field or pond the better it makes just a few of your most realistic decoys look.

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from Ncarl wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Phil, I have pretty good success in this field but the main flyway is usually right over my field. There is a big pond in the middle of a corn field about a half mile behind my field and the landowner doesn't let anyone hunt. So naturally the birds are there every season all season. Its hard to compete with the live birds but i can usually pull a few flocks down and scratch out a limit. But currently the birds are using a different field that puts me about a mile from the main flyway. I suspect once the birds feed out of that field they will go back to their regular habits.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

My shells are on stakes. If yours are set too low, try using pieces of grey plastic counduit pipe cut about fifteen inches long (or longer if needed) with a point on one end. Pound those into the field and put the decoy stake inside the conduit. That way you can get them up above the cornstalks better and still keep them anchored firmly. In wind they'll sometimes rotate a bit as well. This works with T-stakes. Wouldn't work with the G&H's newer spike stakes but I tossed those useless damn things anyway and converted all my new decoys to old-style T-stakes. If your shells don't have stakes I strongly suggest that you make some. I can give you some instructions if necessary.

There's only so much feed at that pond and sounds like it is pretty crowded there. They gotta eat so catch them coming and going to fields, hopefully.

Yes, you're probably mostly picking up migrating birds this time of year and they will stick together in large bunches. Again, I think a flag would enhance your situation immensely. I don't have one but I'm an early bird hunter and never really have any trouble bringing down family groups, etc. Your situation is different. The flag will go a long ways towards resolving any concerns re visibility of your deeks. Just remember it should only be used a little bit when the geese are still a long ways off. Get their attention and then put it away quickly. Otherwise it will scare them off.

I cannot advise you about how to arrange various sized decoys in the same spread. I have never mixed them up. Would be interesting to hear what advice Phil or others might have on that issue.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Carl, how did you make out? What did you try?

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from Ncarl wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I put out my 70 canada decoys at the front of the spread and 50 snow decoys in the back like Phil said. It was really pointless. It was all I could do just to slow them down. The bird were coming off the roost in groups of 100+. I dont think it would have mattered whether I put out a thousand decoys. The birds had their mind set on another field. By the end of the night I bet there was around 20,000 birds in that field. Just cant compete with that. On the other hand the weather is really gonna warm up so Im hoping I will be back to the pond I shot the limit at in November. Its in a whole new area and I think the birds work better there even when even when your not in the field they are using. There is a bunch of little holes and ponds within a few miles of where I will be hunting. They all usually hold a few family groups when the weather warms up. There wont be the volume of bird but they are birds I actually have a chance of killing. It seems to be where the birds like to be when its warm, sitting on a bank of a pond and grazing. I went a couple weeks ago to this same spot when the water didnt have to much Ice on it and shot 4 ducks and a bonus goose. Duck season is closed now so Im just after geese this time. I will let you know how it goes. Im hoping to go this weekend.

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from Ncarl wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Oh, and yes I have a flag.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Good luck!

Someone needs to talk to that farmer about the damage these geese are causing everyone, not just farmers. And particularly the damage they are causing themselves. Some of the far northern nesting areas have become permanently destroyed. If he'd just let someone out there once in a while to move the birds around to someplace else then some numbers could be reduced substantially. It's really hopeless to extend the seasons, allow unplugged guns, recorded calls, spring hunts, etc., etc., if there's not enough places left open to hunt. Eventually I see it may come to the government imposing fines in the way of excise taxes on landowners (particularly US landowners) who restrict or don't allow goose hunting. I mean, how fair is it for urban communities to have their tax dollar parks, beaches, golf courses, and water supplies ruined because some touchy-feely types or game hog landowners like to see 20,000 geese floating around their place? I say hit them in their pocket book because they are hitting everyone else in theirs.

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from Ncarl wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I agree, one farmer doesn't let people hunt because the field is right behind his house, which is understandable. Other landowners are just game hogs or the land is owned by a developer.

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from Ncarl wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Correction, they are Texas rag decoys not sillosocks so they don't look all that realistic at close range.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Good Question. If you are a mile off the main flyway a big spread of white decoys will show and may draw some Canadas your way. I would put the rags on the upwind side behind you and your 70 Canada decoys in front of the blinds. It might work. On the other hand, it might not, and then you have a lot of extra work putting out and picking up rags. I don't know how much success you usually have in that spot. If the Canada decoys work stick with them.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Hopefully you have a flag. That would help a LOT in this situation and I think Phil would agree. Seventy honker decoys is quite a few! I think you should stick with those. Put a few of the snow goose decoys (three or four) out quite a ways away from the honker set to help catch their eye. See if that works. If it flares the honkers then you don't have such a mess to try to pick up. Unless you are actually TRYING to bring down big flocks of snows/blues I would never put out a big mess of the white decoys.

Also, keep in mind that honkers as often as not will prefer to land on the outside of a decoy set, especially if they have been shot up and are spooky. The larger your setup, the greater the probability that they will land or only circle for a look out on the edge where they'll be out of range.

Having said that, I will add that I think your situation is going to require a lot of decoys (which, fortunately, you have). I have traditionally only hunted with sixteen decoys (just added another dozen late in the season this year). But I have quite a bit of land accessible to me (and everyone else!) and the honkers are fresh from the barren, hunterless tundra. It's not too hard to pull in family groups, singles, pairs, etc. (I prefer not to shoot up the big flocks). You are going to have a much tougher time.

What kind of honker decoys are you using (sillouttes, full body, shells, etc.)?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

I should add that it has been my experience that the morning flights will approach decoys with the sun to their backs. This seems to me to have been a more of a rule than wind direction. So, if you are using layout blinds (which I don't use), I suggest that you set them on the east side of the deeks for early morning flights and then move to center of the spread later. Anybody else have thoughts on that?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ncarl wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Ontario, I'm not going out till 1 in the afternoon because the birds haven't even been flying till 4 around here. To answer your other question, I have 26 full body GHGs, 8 full body hard cores, 6 magnum shells and the rest are just regular shells. The full bodies are super visible and so are the magnums but the shells sit pretty low in the corn stalks and are only really visible from above. It sounds like a lot of decoys but this late in the season the birds are all bunched up in big groups and really don't pay any mind to a smaller spread. I too only use a few decoys in the early season when I'm hunting ponds and there is mostly small groups of resident geese. my best shoot this year was on opening weekend when I was only hunting over 24 of my GHG full bodies. Personally I think the smaller the field or pond the better it makes just a few of your most realistic decoys look.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ncarl wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Phil, I have pretty good success in this field but the main flyway is usually right over my field. There is a big pond in the middle of a corn field about a half mile behind my field and the landowner doesn't let anyone hunt. So naturally the birds are there every season all season. Its hard to compete with the live birds but i can usually pull a few flocks down and scratch out a limit. But currently the birds are using a different field that puts me about a mile from the main flyway. I suspect once the birds feed out of that field they will go back to their regular habits.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

My shells are on stakes. If yours are set too low, try using pieces of grey plastic counduit pipe cut about fifteen inches long (or longer if needed) with a point on one end. Pound those into the field and put the decoy stake inside the conduit. That way you can get them up above the cornstalks better and still keep them anchored firmly. In wind they'll sometimes rotate a bit as well. This works with T-stakes. Wouldn't work with the G&H's newer spike stakes but I tossed those useless damn things anyway and converted all my new decoys to old-style T-stakes. If your shells don't have stakes I strongly suggest that you make some. I can give you some instructions if necessary.

There's only so much feed at that pond and sounds like it is pretty crowded there. They gotta eat so catch them coming and going to fields, hopefully.

Yes, you're probably mostly picking up migrating birds this time of year and they will stick together in large bunches. Again, I think a flag would enhance your situation immensely. I don't have one but I'm an early bird hunter and never really have any trouble bringing down family groups, etc. Your situation is different. The flag will go a long ways towards resolving any concerns re visibility of your deeks. Just remember it should only be used a little bit when the geese are still a long ways off. Get their attention and then put it away quickly. Otherwise it will scare them off.

I cannot advise you about how to arrange various sized decoys in the same spread. I have never mixed them up. Would be interesting to hear what advice Phil or others might have on that issue.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Carl, how did you make out? What did you try?

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from Ncarl wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I put out my 70 canada decoys at the front of the spread and 50 snow decoys in the back like Phil said. It was really pointless. It was all I could do just to slow them down. The bird were coming off the roost in groups of 100+. I dont think it would have mattered whether I put out a thousand decoys. The birds had their mind set on another field. By the end of the night I bet there was around 20,000 birds in that field. Just cant compete with that. On the other hand the weather is really gonna warm up so Im hoping I will be back to the pond I shot the limit at in November. Its in a whole new area and I think the birds work better there even when even when your not in the field they are using. There is a bunch of little holes and ponds within a few miles of where I will be hunting. They all usually hold a few family groups when the weather warms up. There wont be the volume of bird but they are birds I actually have a chance of killing. It seems to be where the birds like to be when its warm, sitting on a bank of a pond and grazing. I went a couple weeks ago to this same spot when the water didnt have to much Ice on it and shot 4 ducks and a bonus goose. Duck season is closed now so Im just after geese this time. I will let you know how it goes. Im hoping to go this weekend.

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from Ncarl wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Oh, and yes I have a flag.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

Good luck!

Someone needs to talk to that farmer about the damage these geese are causing everyone, not just farmers. And particularly the damage they are causing themselves. Some of the far northern nesting areas have become permanently destroyed. If he'd just let someone out there once in a while to move the birds around to someplace else then some numbers could be reduced substantially. It's really hopeless to extend the seasons, allow unplugged guns, recorded calls, spring hunts, etc., etc., if there's not enough places left open to hunt. Eventually I see it may come to the government imposing fines in the way of excise taxes on landowners (particularly US landowners) who restrict or don't allow goose hunting. I mean, how fair is it for urban communities to have their tax dollar parks, beaches, golf courses, and water supplies ruined because some touchy-feely types or game hog landowners like to see 20,000 geese floating around their place? I say hit them in their pocket book because they are hitting everyone else in theirs.

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from Ncarl wrote 1 year 14 weeks ago

I agree, one farmer doesn't let people hunt because the field is right behind his house, which is understandable. Other landowners are just game hogs or the land is owned by a developer.

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