- Category: Waterfowl
- Published: Monday, 01 February 2021 22:14
- Written by Greg
Ringing in the New Year – Basic Techniques for Geese
Just when I thought our hunting trips were over for the 2020-2021 season, the winter gods smiled upon us and we got the chance to go after late season geese a few times -- and also managed to squeeze in a turkey hunt.
Soloed on his first banded bird
I don’t know about anyone else, but we made a New Year’s resolution to eke out as many hunts as possible before the end of the season as our way of ringing in the New Year. Like everyone else around the globe, Covid impacted our plans in ways that were unforeseen just a year ago. But we got creative with our schedules and decided to head out of state for a few hunts before the end of the waterfowl season. Luckily for us, driving to Wyoming and Colorado is an option since those states aren’t too far away and offer additional waterfowl opportunities.
Dropped two greenheads on ice, made double retrieve Decoy setup on frozen pond worked
Not surprisingly, the difficulty for us on these goose hunting adventures was finding fields with geese and then successfully obtaining permission to hunt said properties. While there was a lot of competition from fellow hunters who already held leases to hunt many pieces of private property, we did manage to obtain permission to hunt a few distinct fields. And that permission most definitely dictated how we planned to hunt.
Another first...Drake Hooded Merganser Decent number of mallards hit our decoy spread
Our setups varied wildly. At times we had no other option than to set up in the middle of a plain dirt field or next to a pivot or in a snow covered pasture or on the shore of a frozen pond. Each situation presented unique challenges, but with minor difficulty we adapted and came away with birds!
Hid layout blinds in brush at base of pivot, limited on geese Looks like a Dusky Goose among the bunch
I’d like to believe that we learned some valuable techniques from each particular situation encountered, but I cannot say that I have any earth shattering tips to reveal. In fact, we had an instance were we found roughly two thousand geese sitting on a field, luckily got permission, set up on the ‘X’, but maybe 50 birds total came back to that field. Those types of days are humbling to say the least -- just when you think you’ve figured out the magic, the birds behave unexpectedly.
Made the most of the birds that did visit the X Clearly shooting various species of Canada geese
The constants for our success came down to the basics: finding geese, concealment, call volume adjustments, timely flagging and decoy rearrangement for those times when the pesky birds didn’t want to finish.
Not much of a hide in dirt field, brushing-in blinds worked Success in another dirt field setup
Hunting winter wheat produced lots of geese and greenheads
Last but not least, the boys and I did get the opportunity to go after some late season turkeys. We had done a fair amount of scouting and found a few areas where the turkeys liked to feed in the late afternoon. Unlike the spring hunts where ‘love is in the air’, these turkeys were less interested in our calling and more intent upon being where they wanted to be. While the flock was very vocal at times, they certainly didn’t appear to come toward us because of our calling and/or decoys but instead methodically fed toward us.
Lousy pic doesn’t do the almost-white turkey justice Hunkered down while awaiting feeding turkeys
Interestingly we spotted three almost-white turkeys among the flock of 68, something I’d never seen in the wild before. All three of the white birds remained packed tight within the main flock as they approached. And since we weren’t about to miss an opportunity by being finicky, we picked off the vanguard once they were within range. While we didn’t get a shot at the white ones, I did manage to get a low quality picture of one of them from about 150 yards away.
Spent several cold hours going after these ones Done without much time left in the day
In the end we filled all three of our tags, due in large part to our productive scouting trips. Next up for us will be the spring turkey hunts. Yes hunts, we will be heading out of state in order to maximize our opportunity to be out there amongst those thunderous gobblers!