Photo by Brian Grossenbacher
An upstate New York wildlife manager and hardcore goose hunter, Rick Murphy is so fanatical about concealment that he’ll spend an hour making his layout blinds invisible before setting the first deke. “Find birds, then get well hidden,” he says. “Geese know to avoid any inconsistencies in a cornfield, so building a proper hide is worth the extra time.” Here’s how he does it.
Whenever possible, take advantage of natural cover in the terrain, like field edges or rolling low spots. Dig a 3- to 6-inch-deep trench the same size as your layout blind, parallel to the rows of corn. “Lowering the blind’s profile helps reduce shadows that stand out to geese on the wing,” says Murphy.
When you’re pulling up corn to brush your blind, Murphy advises that you move 15 to 20 yards away from where you’re hunting, so you don’t trample a bald spot or mud ring around the blinds. Don’t work outside of that range, though, or the stubble color might vary from your section of the field.
Pack stubble straps with cornstalks and leaves from the husks, spaced about as far apart as stalks appear in the field. Pay special attention to the foot bags. “Run the stalks through multiple stubble straps, so you can’t kick them off,” Murphy says. Cover the top of the blind and pile fluffed-up husks and grasses behind it to soften the hard back edges and prevent shadows.
If you have a 20/20 view of the spread, the geese have a view of you, so cover the area over your face completely. “If you’re not calling the shot, you don’t need to see,” says Murphy. If you must, clear spaces in the corn to peer through once birds are coming in. At that point, you’ve done everything you can.