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With the nuisance early Canada goose season coming up around the corner I asked Brian Meredith of LetEmWork custom game calls, a Show Me Snow Geese guide if he would go over some of the most important issues that can often be over looked causing that perfect hunt to become less than perfect quickly.
Scouting this is with out a doubt the most important thing with resident Canada goose hunting. At this time of year geese tend not to fly very far or for long periods of time unlike late season goose hunting, making this a time sensitive and critical job.
Finding the roost where the majority of geese in your area tend to spend the night at and gaining permission to hunt on. After gaining permission to hunt a roost pond, as soon as the birds head to the fields in the morning with out any hesitation get in and set up your decoys and blinds and just like in the regular season make sure your blinds are brushed very good concealment is crucial.
Find a loafing pond in close proximity to the feeding areas. These are ideal for running traffic as geese will fly by both going to feed and back from (In our opinion ponds are easiest to decoy birds too.)
Expect the unexpected Geese at this time a year are so hard to predict because it all depends on fields opening up as the early season goes forward. (Farmers getting their crops out). Around here we have a few fields that are cut for silage which is only good if it is a freshly cut only a couple of days before because they will most likely go to the freshest field if it is upwind of the roost area because I swear geese can smell a fresh field over one picked a few days before that and will choose that fresh field every time if given the choice!
If you can not find the X You need to get under their flight path in order to shortstop the birds. Short stopping Canada Geese is easiest when using large quantities of realistic decoys, more than you think you need and by calling more to get the birds fly over to you. Then you need to get real with the birds and let them settle in to the decoys. This is when all those months of practicing in the car on the way to work and driving your family crazy with your goose calling really pans out.
Pasture areas don’t rule these little gems out of your thought process. Geese use these areas for loafing this time of the year and because of the grass. (Geese are grazers!) Many times there is a pond close by and even a shade tree for protection from the hot sun at this time of Year.
Decoys here are where realistic motion based decoys like the Dakota X-treme honker full body decoy and others along with flags come in to play. When hunting roost ponds a few well placed realistic goose floaters and motion based decoys along with flags are worth every penny. These are also a valuable asset when hunting pastures , loafing areas and running traffic but generally larger quantities are needed in order to gain there attention.
Blinds much advancement has been made to the sport of hunting and this is a big one. The layout blind has brought us to the pinnacle of concealment and mobility. Key in preparing your layout for the hunt is mudding the blind. This accomplishes two things first it helps eliminate any shine the blind material may have and secondly it provides a base for the natural vegetation that you will need to add in order to blend in to the surrounding area.
Calls this is where having more than one tool in your pocket can really pay off. Having more than one call and more than one caller will help out tremendously in duplicating the many different sounds that a real group of birds would make. Having your call tuned for speed and a high pitch really works in the early season as does being able to call and flag at the same time to draw attention to your spread. This is really important if you are not on the X.
Team work is always the best if you have guys that will work together instead of trying to out call one another. One hunter can flag while the others draw attention with all different Canada goose sounds to help draw attention to your spot in the field and giving the impression of many geese on the ground. Once they are headed towards your spread, you need to listen to your birds as they approach and react to what they are saying. Watch their body language because that will let you know whether you need to slow the rhythm down or pick up in speed and get aggressive with the young birds in that flock. The young birds seem to call a lot more during the early season, just like kids in the car always with the (are we there yet!) The more they talk the more aggressive you can be in your calling.
LetEmWork Custom calls has a call designed with a professionals needs in mind but in the working mans price range allowing you to flag and call at the same time. His insert was designed to be used one handed if need be, it is small enough to still get that crisp clean Canada goose sound out even if you have to flag with your other hand at the same time so always remember to LETEMWORK so you can Kill Em Clean!
Guiding clients from beginning of the regular season all the way to the end of March when the spring snow geese have left Missouri has allowed all of the Show Me Snow Geese guides the opportunity to hone the ability to read birds. Although this ability really does give us some advantages every day is a new day and we all continue to learn, so keep these tips in mind and remember not to get frustrated and keep up with your scouting and calling practice and everything will fall in to place.