As I set the last decoys and was giving the guys the plan, the rush of a honk broke the air. “Geese Geese Geese get covered up”. A pair of giant Canadians were out scouting for the hot field. A flag shot up like a frantic signal for help, a couple long and loud honks rang out of the spread as the geese hooked and made a be-line for us.”they’re on a string boys be still” a few clucks from my call kept them on course as I flipped the flag and the landing gear came out, at 70 yards they were headed for the center. As I grabbled on the call and made a few more clucks, 30 yards and “Take em” 2 shots and 2 in the bag “center punched us, Classic boys”. At that point it was just after shooting hours and already had a great hunt going. Flock after flock did the same thing that day with small and big groups till I called the hunt at 10:00. We had continuous shooting opportunities all morning and I did not want to ruin the field. We had geese wanting in while we pulled decoys so another hunt there was in the near future. Michigan late season goose hunting can be very productive if you do your home work.
First and most of all you can’t enjoy the hunt if your feet are freezing or you’re just plain cold. Michigan winters can be cold and you need to be prepared with the proper clothing for any kind of weather. If you got blinds that completely cover you up like Goose busters or eliminators take a sleeping bag and get in it this will definitely keep you warm. If you have goose chairs or just layout in the field then you need to have something under you also. Plus lots of layers of clothing. When you got 500 geese coming off the water in flocks of 3 to 40 at a time you may have to be still for a long period of time so be prepared for the worst [ or the best ] .
Now that your going to stay warm!!!!
The best scenario is to be where they want to be. The old location theory. Although geese tend to jump fields more when it cold and are constantly looking for a food source, still location can be the difference. Scouting, scouting and more scouting can only pay off in the end. Find where they want to be.
OK now you’ve got the hot field!!!
Decoys, More is better. Geese in late season are sometimes limited to fields that have sufficient grain in and some field are just pain covered up with snow. When they find them, they all seem to go there. I prefer full bodies and silhouettes over shells. I also set a dozen or two of rags [ wind socks ] placed mainly where I want them to focus. I also set a few silhouettes up with a piece of 1″ conduit about a foot long so they move with the wind, it gives more realism. We also have at least 2 people that flag to get there attention. The flaggers are probably the most important part next to the spread. So they need to know what they are doing big time. A flag up at the right time will put them in the pocket, at the wrong time will, well you know. Calling is also very important but more to secure and to entice then to use to attract. Usually though we do allot more calling in the late season. The birds seem to be a lot more vocal.
Decoy selection is done!!!
Now where and how to put your spread?
This is where the scouting pays off again. Always try to place decoys right where the geese have been feeding. Most usually on top or the side of a the highest spot in the field. There are several shapes for the spread, it is best though to simulate how the live geese looked when you seen them in the field. If they were all over then set a big X out with longer legs on the down wind side with winds less then 10 Mph. For real windy days set the short end down wind and the windier the shorter the X should be down wind. The geese take a long time in strong winds to get within shooting range and they can figure things out on the best spreads. So you’ll get your shots before they figure it out. Always set a pod of decoys directly right and left of the middle of the spread at the edges of the X. So basically you have 2 V’s with both the open parts facing to opposite ends of each other and the closed ends touching each other. The middle is where they touch.
The spread is set!!!!
The hunters should be placed by assignment. Flaggers need to be in the center. The main calling should be close to the flaggers. You should also place hunters on the outsides of the spreads for the wary birds because you’ll have em. Calls to use and most generally in this sequence. First the greeting call. Blow tooowit tooowit. Then use clucks as they get closer. Clucks blow twit twit twit then when they are just out of range but online use Grabbles blow da da da da da da da da da just say da in your call and you’ll be doing the feeding grabble. Speed it up and slow it down. If they flair and some will, use the double cluck to make them think one or more of the birds in the flock decided to land. Blow to-wit-a, to-wit-a,
To-wit-a as fast as you can and still sound like excited goose landing Goose. If you get no response and as they are leaving hit the flag and blow wittoooo witooo witooo you’re basically pleading to the geese that it’s Ok come back. If they start to turn then just start at the beginning and this time if they come close take em. These tips are what works for me, on any given day things may change be prepared to change whatever to gain there confidence. Hunting Michigan’s late season Geese can be a rush you’ll not soon forget.
For guided goose hunting go to my web site for more info.
Thanks Mike Boyd