Michigan Goose Hunting Tips

By: Mike Boyd of Coldwater Charters

goose in flightWith the lack of a prime goose season again you must take advantage of our local giant Canadian goose populations. Now this can be easier said then done as some of you may have found out. There are a few goose hunting tips that will help bring success to your hunt. Probably the biggest thing is to find where these big birds are on the feed at and I don’t mean generally. When you find them in the fields pay special attention to exact location of the field they are at. Basically set up right exactly where they are feeding if at all possible. I’ve set up 75 yards from where they were at with top decoys and championship callers and have birds make a be-line right for the same spot they were at the day before. It was as if we were not even there. So location is critical for fooling these college educated birds.

Flagging
Now if you can’t get right on the field there feeding on, here’s a few techniques we use to get them close. First you have to have them within a distance that they can see some movement in the field. Preferably in the flight path of the field there feeding in. Just put your call in your pocket and get out a black flag. We use T-Flags a couple with 3′ handles and 1 with a 8′ handle and 1 with a 16′ handle. Of course the further out the higher you need the flag for them to see it. There are to things you want to simulate. 1- is a bird stretching is wings, if you seen flocks of geese in a field you’ve seen this and the other is a bird locked up and gliding in for a landing. On very blue sky sunny days you can flag them right into the decoys but most generally I stop when there just over 100 yards. But I’ve brought them in many times without touching my call just flagging. I use a flag on almost all approaching geese, even on fields they have been feeding in.

Calling
Calling is very over rated in this early season. If you can make a cluck that will do just fine. As you refine your technique throw in some grabble sounds mixed with some clucks. The flag should turn the geese your way at a distance. To improve your technique you may want to by a audio cassette on goose calling. Tim Grounds has an excellent and step by step tape. Now the clucks and the feeding grabble should put them in gunning distance. If the birds flair you blow the comeback call which is backwards to your regular goose call. Instead of tooowit blow wittoooo over and over again as fast as you can until they turn, also pop the flag up and down as they are leaving but not until there at least 100 yards out.

Decoy Placement
Most people think a decoys job is to just attract, well your spread has a critical function other then attraction. It’s called air traffic control. That’s right, your spread must present them with a place to land with-in good gunning range. Let’s call it the comfort zone. I always set the guys flagging smack dab in the area I want them to land. Also I put my best looking decoys in that area. Any moving decoys will be deployed there, Full bodies and my Outlaw silhouettes.

goose decoys

In the diagram the black dots are decoys and the red dots would be hunters with three areas being the best spots. The middle and the very outsides. The wind direction is coming from the top to the bottom. Always place any moving decoys right in the middle upwind from the hunters. This can easily be downsized for smaller spreads. Remember to keep hunter movement to a minimum when geese are with in 300 yards. The only thing they should see moving are they flaggers and the mechanical decoys. Now these tips are by no means a guaranty, this is what works for me and my guide service to get a higher percentage of geese within good shooting range. Good luck

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