4 Canada Goose Hunting Tips for Winter

4 Canada Goose Hunting Tips for Winter

Late-season geese have seen it all by now, from every kind of decoy spread to all the latest and greatest blinds offered by your favorite outdoor retail shop. Canada goose hunting is challenging in the late-season, but thinking outside the box and like a goose instead of a goose hunter, will drastically improve your odds at success during late-season.

It was over almost before it started. Hardly had I crawled into the Power Hunter and poured myself a cup of coffee when I heard the first chorus of honks from the west.

Sliding down into the layout blind, I peered out from underneath the cockpit. A small group — six birds, maybe eight — was just clearing the riverbank cottonwoods and turned in my direction.

With the birds at 25 yards and closing, I sprang the lid and sat upright. My initial load of Hevi-Shot #4s crumpled the leader's right wingman; where the second round went, I still don't know. My third, though, caught the last in line squarely, sending him spiraling into the corn stubble.


"Two's enough," I told Sadie Mae when she brought the first Canada back. Thirty minutes start to finish, and I was headed home.


Around the nation, hunters have access to tremendous numbers of Canada geese. But opportunity is one thing; outsmarting late-season honkers is something else.

Hunted since September, these avian field veterans have seen and heard it all. That said, these wary birds do have their weaknesses.

Tip 1: GO SMALL

Come December, one must take a different approach at Canada goose hunting. The birds have seen an incredible number of decoy spreads; usually from four to 12 dozen full-bodies. You need to do something different.


My answer here is to go small, using eight to 18 full-body decoys. Not only can this micro-spread be easily transported in most vehicles, but it presents a scenario late-season geese aren't used to seeing.

I rig my spread reminiscent of September's small family groups: three here, four there, four over yonder, with plenty of landing holes between groups. Last-chance Canada's and realism are synonymous terms.

Tip 2: GO HUGE


When small doesn't work while Canada goose hunting, it's time to consider that size can matter. Currently, I can set approximately 125 realistic full-bodies — impressive from both ground and air. Often, I'll hunt with a local young man who, together with his goose-chasing crew, can field an excess of 250 full-bodies.

"What we did last year," said Travis Mueller, national sales manager with Avery Outdoors, "is run three or four dozen upwind in a tight ball, and then another 150 or so slightly downwind with a gap in the middle.

But instead of setting our blinds in the decoys, we quartered the blinds to the spread, and shot the birds left-to-right or right-to-left. They're figuring out these blinds — these strange humps," he continued, "so we gave them nothing but decoys to look at when they worked."

Tip 3: SPEAK SOFTLY

Last-chance Canadas have heard as much as they've seen, and more often than not, low-key is the key to success when Canada goose hunting.

"You want to present the birds with relaxed notes," said Field Hudnall, champion goose caller and owner of Field Proven Calls. "Pick a call that's easy to blow, and be subtle. Something that we've found effective is not calling to the birds at first.

It's tough for a caller not to call, but if you can let the birds see the decoys, let them pass without making a sound, and then give them one deep honk or one cluck-moan just to get their attention, it can really turn heads."

Tip 4: BECOME INVISIBLE

And finally you have to hide, and hide to the point of invisibility.

"You can run the prettiest goose decoys on the planet, be that 100 or two," said Lucas Clark, communications director for Rig 'Em Right Waterfowl.

"But if you're not hidden well, they might as well be painted blaze orange... Decoy placement is indeed important during any Canada goose hunting trip. Scouting reveals all the answers.

But," he continued, with words of wisdom beyond his 21 years, "if you're not hidden, you're not shooting."

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Glenn Walker talks us through the soy-based technology that makes Lure Lock cases spill-proof and scent-proof. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

Berkley

Berkley's New Terminal Tackle

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Chad LaChance, host of World Fishing Network's Fishful Thinker television show, talk about Berkley's new innovative terminal tackle being introduced at ICAST 2019.

MLF Pros: What

MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers. Striper & Hybrid

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths. Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options. Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

See More Trending Articles

More Waterfowl

U.S. and Canadian wildlife officials stress there won't be any surprises for waterfowlers this fall. Conservation & Politics

Waterfowl Population Survey Grounded By COVID-19

Lynn Burkhead - May 06, 2020

U.S. and Canadian wildlife officials stress there won't be any surprises for waterfowlers this...

It's been two decades since spring snow goose season was federally mandated. Is it working? Conservation & Politics

Revisiting the Light Goose Conservation Order

M.D. Johnson - March 30, 2020

It's been two decades since spring snow goose season was federally mandated. Is it working?

Are you using the right hen-to-drake ratio in your spread? It could make all the difference. Waterfowl

Three Better Approaches to Mallard Hunting

M.D. Johnson - August 28, 2019

Are you using the right hen-to-drake ratio in your spread? It could make all the difference.

The challenges of the late season can also yield ruffed grouse success. Waterfowl

Late-Season Ruffs When It's Tough

Matt Soberg - December 18, 2019

The challenges of the late season can also yield ruffed grouse success.

See More Waterfowl

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now