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The Geese Won't Die

Discussion in 'MichiganWaterfowl.com' started by MC2, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. MC2

    MC2

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    Location:
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    I hunt geese over water, but no matter what I try, the geese simply fly away.

    A bit of background - I'm an experienced deer/small game/turkey hunter, but I've never been taught how to goose hunt and this is my first year trying. I picked up 14 floating goose decoys and a dozen floating mallards for my spread, learned basic calling, and started hunting the small, sparsely populated lake I live on out of a canoe with some burlap thrown on.

    I can call in small flocks without issue. I leave the decoys a max of 25 yards from me with an open shooting lane, and the geese touch down about ten yards from my spread and swim closer. I know enough to know that I'll get some hate for this, but so far I've been treating geese like turkeys and refusing to shoot on the wing, letting them swim closer and present a still target. I always aim for the head.

    I'm shooting 3" shells out of a 30" Remington 870. I've tried BB steel shot with modified choke and #2 Hevi-shot with full choke. During this year's early season, I've wasted several dozen shells shooting at geese and watching them fly away with only a few feathers left behind.

    I hate this. I hate the wasted time and ammo money, but I especially hate potentially wounding these birds. I plan on going out during the October to January season, but I don't want a repeat of these disasters. Any advice?
     
  2. Far Beyond Driven

    Far Beyond Driven

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    Too big of shot, too tight of choke. My daughter is a cripple swatter bar none, and she shoots IC choke with 2 3/4" 4's and on geese shoots where black meets gray at the base of the neck. 4's throw a wicked pattern at close range.

    If you spring for hevi shot, get 6's.

    Would not hurt to pattern your gun either. Shoot a round or two up close too to see if your points of aim and points of impact differ.
     

  3. MC2

    MC2

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    Well, I've patterned it with both the BB and 2, and it seems pretty dense at 40 yards. I'll try the 4's. Thanks for the advice on point of aim. I've been shooting at the white patch, but I'll try lowering the shot.
     
  4. Far Beyond Driven

    Far Beyond Driven

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    Draw a dot on a big sheet of paper, back off about 10-12 yards, and see where you hit. Also, could you be lifting off the stock? Goose fever?

    I had a buddy who I watched shoot an 80+ on sporting clays with a pump only to choke and stop his swing when a 12# honker piled in.
     
  5. MC2

    MC2

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    Point of impact is spot on. It's usually my turkey gun. I actually mounted a rear peep sight to the receiver to go with the front bead. It's part of why this is so frustrating - I've never missed turkey or deer with this gun, and these are sitting geese. Granted, I'm using lead shot when it's turkey.

    These are also pretty slow, deliberate shots. I'm going to head to the range and find the best pattern combination, but I also wonder if shooting whether they are flying or swimming would make a difference.
     
  6. WoodyMG

    WoodyMG

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    Honestly I've never had a problem shooting geese with cheap xpert #4s. And they seem to loose the ability to fly from just one pellet. Heck, almost every time cripples seem to loose even the ability to swim normal.

    I'm not trying to be rude, but if you've patterned your gun and thats fine... you're just plain old missing them.
     
  7. DecoySlayer

    DecoySlayer

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    It sounds like you are missing. I agree, too tight a choke. I shoot either IC or skeet chokes. Go with 3 or 4 steel, unless you can afford more "fancy" ammo. Spend as much time as possible on the skeet range. That will help with your wing shooting.

    The calling/decoy situation is a different story. That is going to take a lot of learning.
     
  8. walter sniper

    walter sniper

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    I shoot 2's and 3's 3" for everything but teal. 4's for teal. IC works fine. Remember steel does not compress like lead or heavy shot so an IC is more like a M. A M is more like a full.
     
    MC2 likes this.
  9. DecoySlayer

    DecoySlayer

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    I shoot either 4's, or 5's, for duck. 3's or 4's for geese.
     
  10. MC2

    MC2

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    Location:
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    It sounds like the general consensus is that I should at least move back to modified and start using size 3 or 4 shot. I'll give it a go - I only avoided it for so long because I had a hard time believing #4 steel would be able to kill past 35 yards.

    No problems calling them in. Unless it's a large flock (10+), they always change direction and land in the lane I made for them, about 5-10 yards from the decoys.

    I've never had much time wing shooting. None, in fact. Hence one of the main reasons I've been letting the birds land. Any recommendations for a decent skeet range near the Kzoo/Paw Paw area?
     
  11. DecoySlayer

    DecoySlayer

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    Don't shoot past 35 yards. Can't help with a range over there.
     
  12. Far Beyond Driven

    Far Beyond Driven

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    I've had crippled ducks at 45-50 that have taken two or three reloads to finally anchor. I would not try beyond 30 with 4's. Hevi 6's, if you gave the pattern density, you could go longer.
     
  13. aceraceae

    aceraceae

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    One trick I use, when shooting birds on the water, which is a bit similar to deer hunting, is to give them a "hey", or something to that effect, a grunt. This is assuming you are hidden and the birds are still basically "relaxed". What you get is a bird that "sits up a bit" and looks for the sound. Presents a slightly expanded impact area. Can also turn vitals more toward you. It may surprise you how much of the bird is protected by the water when they are snuggled down in it.
    Don't rush the shot.
    BTW, I've watched my pardner miss 8 times in a row on a cripple because he was aiming at the head and essentially shooting over the top. His excuse, "I didn't want to damage the meat." Good thing we shoot inexpensive xperts. ;) (we've been waterfowling for 39 years)

    Another trick: When chasing after a cripple, as you "near it", and when I say near it, I mean 100 to 80 yards; don't go directly at it. Pick a path to one side that will take you to within 40 yards. I'm pretending to miss. I try not to stare it down. The birds will/can relax just enough because you are creating a sense that you are going to miss the mark with your chase. I chase with a canoe and do this all the time. They are less likely to dive on you and tend to paddle away with a less vigor. It's like a DB choosing a good angle on a running back. I'm left handed and head toward the left side of the bird so I can have a good swing to the right when I get to a reasonable range.

    IMHO
     
    2kidshunting likes this.
  14. SL80

    SL80

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    Is it possible that your shots are a little longer than you think? 40 yards is a really long swat on a goose. Try for 25 and closer and the shot size, choke, etc. will matter a lot less.
     
  15. population control

    population control

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    I was always told to shoot a little high when their on the water. Couple inches above their head. No idea why. But that's what I do. I like 3 1/2 inch 3's for my water swat loads. That's out of a 10 gauge. You can't get anything smaller than 3 1/2 in the 10 and #3's are wicked on ducks when I decided I want to shoot this gun during duck season for fun. 6 shot steel should kill them at 20 yards no problem. Check the distance to the decoys with a range finder to be sure.