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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm curious what spreads are working for ya'll right now field hunting geese? Any particular pattern and/or how many dekes are being used? Don't have to give up any trade secrets if you hold this information close. I've just recently gotten back into goose hunting with limited success lately.

This past weekend I scouted a field and found the X where they were landing. We set up Sunday morning with about 2 1/2 dozen dekes, set them relatively close together in groups and hid the layouts among them. The geese started flying directly for our location but would flare before presenting a shot. We adjusted the spread and separated the dekes out a bit and that gave us a few shot opportunities bringing down a pair, but no groups fully committing to the spread.

I realize other factors could be the cause such as the calling or blind locations/detection. But since we saw an improvement after an adjustment in the spread I figured I'd see what other more experienced and successful hunters were running. Thanks for any advice provided.

Edit to add: I'm hunting private land only in the Southwest corner of the state. So any tips or tricks shared won't be showing up at any of your local public land or reserve spots. I got the birds, just need some help with technique. Thanks!
 

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Like you said many factors come into play. When hunting geese your hide is the most important thing next to getting a field to hunt. When you think your blinds look good, make them look better.

If the birds are pressured over calling will hurt you more than just throwing out a cluck here and there and a moan. We utilize flagging more and more when birds are pressured. Don't flag too much where you give up your location. Hit em hard on the corners with the flag(s) and calling. When they are lined up, tone it down. When calling transitioning is key. You don't want to go from super fast and loud right to being subtle. Think of a stair case. Going from high to low, take your steps down . If you jump down the staircase you are going to fall on your face.

If I was running 2.5 dz decoys I would run a V or U pattern and put the blinds off to the side of the pocket. So you are shooting left to right or right to left. Put a bigger group of decoys on the upwind side(this will be the head of your spread). Put a couple smaller groups trailing down wind.

Having your blinds off to the side and not right in the decoys should take a little attention off you. Especially if you have more than 2 blinds with 2.5 dozen decoys.

The birds should try to work right up to the pocket or try getting to the head of your spread. Bigger the pocket(kill hole) the better especially you are dealing with big flocks in your area.

Another tip for calling is when the birds are gliding/flying over the top of the blinds I lay off the call. I also lay off when a small group touches down in the pocket and you have more following. If you get some to land let em land and hangout the birds approaching usually follow suit.

Hope this helps! Post some pics and feel free to ask more questions.
 

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Sounds like it was your blinds. I almost hate running layout blinds on pressured geese. I dont care how well they are stubbled in the geese know them very well. If I can hunt a ditch line or weed line running into a middle of a field then I set up A frames. Even field edges in A frames. I try very hard not to run layouts. Best of luck. Don't be afraid to get away from the X. If you can call good and flag and run several dozen decoys then hunt the good hide. Geese can be persuaded quite easily.
 

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Imitate what the geese are doing the day before. If the geese aren't there the day before I don't hunt. When it doubt make a big X. If you know exactly which way they are coming from the Nike swoosh works for us
 

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Some very good advice above. A couple things I’ve noticed here in the SW part of the state in the last week -
It’s time for a bigger spread as the family groups seem to have merged now. We ran 80 decoys last Friday, a mix of shells and full bodies. No question these birds have been pressured a bunch. The layouts don’t seem to be an issue at all.
Seems quite a few birds have moved out the last couple days hopefully this cooler weather will bring new ones in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Like you said many factors come into play. When hunting geese your hide is the most important thing next to getting a field to hunt. When you think your blinds look good, make them look better.

If the birds are pressured over calling will hurt you more than just throwing out a cluck here and there and a moan. We utilize flagging more and more when birds are pressured. Don't flag too much where you give up your location. Hit em hard on the corners with the flag(s) and calling. When they are lined up, tone it down. When calling transitioning is key. You don't want to go from super fast and loud right to being subtle. Think of a stair case. Going from high to low, take your steps down . If you jump down the staircase you are going to fall on your face.

If I was running 2.5 dz decoys I would run a V or U pattern and put the blinds off to the side of the pocket. So you are shooting left to right or right to left. Put a bigger group of decoys on the upwind side(this will be the head of your spread). Put a couple smaller groups trailing down wind.

Having your blinds off to the side and not right in the decoys should take a little attention off you. Especially if you have more than 2 blinds with 2.5 dozen decoys.

The birds should try to work right up to the pocket or try getting to the head of your spread. Bigger the pocket(kill hole) the better especially you are dealing with big flocks in your area.

Another tip for calling is when the birds are gliding/flying over the top of the blinds I lay off the call. I also lay off when a small group touches down in the pocket and you have more following. If you get some to land let em land and hangout the birds approaching usually follow suit.

Hope this helps! Post some pics and feel free to ask more questions.
Thanks, lots of good information there. My calling is laughable at best, but I'm practicing in the truck to and from work and whenever I can get out to the garage at night, as not to upset the boss :eek:.

I'm using a $30 call from Cabela's, I think it's called a Goozilla or something like that. My buddy is a much better caller and has a call that cost $140. I'm sure like most equipment, you get what you pay for. Should I bite the bullet and invest in a better call? If so, any recommendations?

I just picked up a flag as well. Was unable to use it Sunday as we were socked in with fog and the geese were wanting to be where we were anyway. But looking forward to using it as the season continues.

Sounds like it was your blinds. I almost hate running layout blinds on pressured geese. I dont care how well they are stubbled in the geese know them very well. If I can hunt a ditch line or weed line running into a middle of a field then I set up A frames. Even field edges in A frames. I try very hard not to run layouts. Best of luck. Don't be afraid to get away from the X. If you can call good and flag and run several dozen decoys then hunt the good hide. Geese can be persuaded quite easily.
Thank you for the advice. The field we hunted Sunday is straight corn, no fence rows or ditches, and field edges would put us too close to houses or the road to legally hunt. We are going to do a quick hunt tonight in another field that has some apple trees running along it, we'll be hiding in those and running a smaller spread of dekes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Imitate what the geese are doing the day before. If the geese aren't there the day before I don't hunt. When it doubt make a big X. If you know exactly which way they are coming from the Nike swoosh works for us
I watched the flock land, but I didn't have my binos and it was tough for me to determine how exactly they were positioned in the field. After the first two flocks flared, we moved the dekes into more of a nike pattern and that did yield us better results. Thanks for the input!

Some very good advice above. A couple things I’ve noticed here in the SW part of the state in the last week -
It’s time for a bigger spread as the family groups seem to have merged now. We ran 80 decoys last Friday, a mix of shells and full bodies. No question these birds have been pressured a bunch. The layouts don’t seem to be an issue at all.
Seems quite a few birds have moved out the last couple days hopefully this cooler weather will bring new ones in.
Between the three of us that hunt, we only have about 4 dozen decoys. I'll be going to the Cablea's black card member event Sunday, and another 6-12 dekes are on my list.

Tonight we were going to try the opposite and go small as I watched a double land in the field last night followed by a flock of 8. So trying to mimic the size of those first birds arriving and hoping to pull them in close enough for some good shots. We'll see what happens, but we're definitely seeing the difference between these birds and the ones we hunted 3 weeks ago. Thank you
 

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You gotta start somewhere. At least you are practicing when you aren't hunting and trying to better yourself. I wouldn't say you HAVE to have a $150 call to be a better call. If you are looking to invest the money check out Molt Gear, very user-friendly calls, they sound down right goosey and deadly.

If 2.5 dozen is all you have available put them all out when you hunt tonight.
 

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I watched the flock land, but I didn't have my binos and it was tough for me to determine how exactly they were positioned in the field. After the first two flocks flared, we moved the dekes into more of a nike pattern and that did yield us better results. Thanks for the input!



Between the three of us that hunt, we only have about 4 dozen decoys. I'll be going to the Cablea's black card member event Sunday, and another 6-12 dekes are on my list.

Tonight we were going to try the opposite and go small as I watched a double land in the field last night followed by a flock of 8. So trying to mimic the size of those first birds arriving and hoping to pull them in close enough for some good shots. We'll see what happens, but we're definitely seeing the difference between these birds and the ones we hunted 3 weeks ago. Thank you
I think the best advice along with the most simple I DO NOT put decoys too close together. I do 5 paces between every decoy, it make the landing geese in your pocket much more comfortable. From a distance it may look like a flock is bunched up but they do enjoy their space unless it's super cold.

It's not always about the numbers of decoys. You can get away with 2/3 dozen AS LONG as they were in the same field location as they were when you saw them landing.

Oh and don't over cal when your on the X if you know you're where they wanna be. Sure when they are far away but shuuush when they see your spread, maybe a few moans or clucks.
 

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You gotta start somewhere. At least you are practicing when you aren't hunting and trying to better yourself. I wouldn't say you HAVE to have a $150 call to be a better call. If you are looking to invest the money check out Molt Gear, very user-friendly calls, they sound down right goosey and deadly.

If 2.5 dozen is all you have available put them all out when you hunt tonight.
For cheap calls the Canada hammer works well it if you want to widen your range and be able to moan and groan and honk it many tones I like GK and they runs some good deals at shows
 

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I would hold off on buying an expensive call until you have the fundamentals of goose calling down because if you can't sound like a goose on a $40 call you will not sound like a goose on a $140 call. You should be able to make all the sounds of a goose on one of those less expensive calls if you can properly blow a short reed goose call. My advise would be the get the basics down on your current call (honks, clucks, and moans) then decide if you want to upgrade to a higher end call. Also there are a lot of good instructionals out there on how to blow a goose call and a lot of different techniques. Find what works for you and then practice, practice, practice...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Appreciate all the feedback and recommendations. I'm surprised I was even able to kill a goose years ago now after getting back into it and really getting serious with it.

I've watched a ton of YouTube videos on calling, and I can do a honk and cluck, but getting into those double clucks and running them all together is where I fall short. Just going to take time on the call I'm sure. I did look at GK calls as they run an ad here on the site, but I think my next investment will be more decoys as I see that being more beneficial over a more expensive call at the moment.

And I have to admit that some better wing shooting would have yielded us a few more birds :(:D
 

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Imitate what the geese are doing the day before. If the geese aren't there the day before I don't hunt. When it doubt make a big X. If you know exactly which way they are coming from the Nike swoosh works for us
So you’re saying you only hunt the X then? If I only hunted fields where geese were the day before I wouldn’t be hunting much lol.
 

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So you’re saying you only hunt the X then? If I only hunted fields where geese were the day before I wouldn’t be hunting much lol.
For me yes otherwise I'll go duck hunting. Especially if it's across the state. If you have enough fields and a network of guys scouting it is obvious you will stack em up in a good rotation. Otherwise go to a duck hole or try luck in a draw.

If you know they are flying by in large numbers and the art of decoying, calling and dedication come into play (especially during a period of heavy migration) that always makes for a fun time but I've gone to many morning where the birds have their locations picked out (when they are getting ready to hightail) and you wind up empty handed and have dream of ducks in the marsh.

Opportunity cost, my friend.
 

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So you’re saying you only hunt the X then? If I only hunted fields where geese were the day before I wouldn’t be hunting much lol.
I agree. We usually have at least a couple X’s each weekend but i love running traffic more than hunting the X a lot of time. Much more rewarding.

OP to answer your question I’ve been running 10-20 dozen full bodies the last couple weeks. In your scenario I’d run what you got but set your layouts off to the side of the decoys and set up for a 20 yard crossing shot. Personally I don’t even like layouts and I’d just hunt the edges of the field or fence rows etc out of an aframe if that’s an option for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No luck last night, the only flock that came over before shooting time ended was a flock of 4. They gave us 2 circles up high and then continued toward the field we were hunting this past weekend. We just didn't have enough time last night to get setup for that field.

Looks like it's going to be mostly morning hunts now as the birds aren't getting in the air and into the fields until after shooting time has ended. We saw multiple large flocks once we were back in the driveway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Shot of cold weather tomorrow might change that up. Not sure what to think.
I certainly hope so. These fields are close to the house, one right across the street, so I'm able to get out for some quick afternoon hunts. But, obviously it's pointless if they aren't flying until after shooting time has ended.

I'll keep working on my calling and will put the recommendations to work this weekend and see what we can get done.
 
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