Duck & Goose Hunting Articles, Hunting Tips and Waterfowl Recipes

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Making Your Specklebelly Goose Hunts More SuccessfulThere you are sitting in your blind when suddenly a bunch of grey dots appear In the distance. As they get closer, you realize you are seeing your first specklebelly geese! The specklebelly is one of the more elusive waterfowl for goose hunters, but when you do finally bag a speck, the reward is well worth the wait.

Because the daily limit is often only one or two specks a day, this is one of the most sought after birds during hunting season. While specklebelly geese do have some of the same feeding habits as snow geese, they rarely mingle and present a significant challenge to even the most experienced of hunters. If you are going to be successful, you need to know their typical feeding grounds as well as the proper decoys and calls to use.

Typically, specks prefer marsh to open fields. You will need to find muddy fields, preferably fields that have been recently turned, providing an abundance of vegetation and some juicy leftovers for the birds. Ideally, you can find a field early on before any other birds have fed there, as the specks may idle there for some time if the feeding is plentiful.

If you are an experienced caller, you can interact with the bird to lure it in closer. Unfortunately, many hunters are far worse than their ego will allow them to recognize. Having said that, nothing is as alluring as that ongoing interaction that leads to the bird flying right into your kill zone. Practice, practice, practice, but do not risk losing the birds if your calling is not up to the task.

For everyone else, decoys will work best.  Setting out decoys for a specklebelly goose hunt is a bit different from your usual spread. Since these birds do not travel in large groups and rarely mingle with other species, your decoy spread will need to reflect this. Whereas you may usually use dozens of decoys for your spreads early in the season, using as few as a single dozen will be more effective here.* As the season goes on and the population dwindles or increases, you can begin to reduce and add  to the amount of decoys used to reflect these changes.

There are also some nice benefits in specklebelly goose hunting. Firstly, they are generally not as crowded as most of the other waterfowl hunts. Because they are a bit more difficult to bag, many hunters simply shy away from going specifically after specks. This means more for us! In addition, you can spend less money on decoys because you do not need as many to set your spread. As noted above, a successful spread can feature as little as a dozen decoys, but with a larger spread more geese can be gotten so you can use the money you save and go on a guided Missouri specklebelly goose hunt!

 *Please note, the number of decoys used will reflect the amount of hunters you are trying to hide. This number is reflective of a single hunter, so the amount of decoys would increase as the group gets larger. For instance, if you have five hunters, you would probably need about 60 decoys or more to sufficiently cover the group, less if cover that is more natural is available
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