Season Goose Hunting - By: C.C.
McCotter - Feb. 2004
season may be over but it's still
waterfowl season. This is a great
time to concentrate on Canadian
and snow geese. With large bag limits
areas, you can make a full day of
hunting. In most areas the bag limits
are five a day west of I-95 for
Canadians and fifteen a day for
snow geese state
Even though both are members of
the geese family, each has a different
habitat, and because of these differences,
you cannot set up your decoys
the same way with Canadians as with
Canadians have three sub-species
in our area. First is called the
Course goose. This goose is larger
and lazier than the rest and will
when pushed and pushed hard. One
of these birds can weigh in at twelve
fifteen pounds and make a great
mount. Golf-Course geese will not
for the winter no matter how frigid
the conditions are.
The next is the Semi-migratory goose
These geese may know their way
around the state but not much more.
They go from soybeans to cut com
fields to lakes and river in their
area. As long as there is food and
water, these bird are easy to call
in and decoy.
The third sub-species is the Lesser
Canadian. It is called Canadian
of goose because this bird actually
comes from Canada. Lessers work
living moving from the tundra of
Canada to North and South Carolina
for food and open water. They are
mostly found by the coastal line
only weigh six to eight pounds.
I have killed many in central and
western Virginia in late season
so it is not
unheard of to find them west of
I-95. Lesser Canadians are extremely
due to their experience of being
shot at in every state. When you
and call one of these experienced
travellers, you know your set up
Canadians travel in flocks of two
to two hundred and can be decoyed
gun easily with a little practice.
Field hunting geese works well if
have visited in the past two to
three days or they are working in
The geese are looking for water
so set up your decoys close to a
like to set my decoy spread in a
quarter moon shape on land and/or
water with small family groups around
the spread. I get covered up to
match the surroundings. Most geese
are smart. You may fool them once
but you will have to move the next
day unless the birds are migrating.
Because of their size you should
use a larger load or in my case
a larger gun. I personally like
a 10-gauge. Shot size for geese
should be BB, BBB, T's and F's.
The F shot is about the size of
a buck shot and has the tendency
cripple birds by breaking their
wings. This can mean a long chase.
Geese can be deceivingly fast for
their size. When shooting at a flying
goose, I will lead them about three
to four feet in front of their beak.
for the head is the only way to
take this big bird. Calling a flock
to the spread is key to success.
If they like what you are saying,
keep it going until they set their
feet. Silence to a goose approaching
decoys signals danger to them.
Snow geese are a different breed
of goose. Unlike the somewhat
predictable Canadian, snows are
harder to decoy. To hunt snows you
start with at least two to three
hundred decoys The group I hunt
out at least one thousand decoys.
For the average waterfowl hunter
not practical and expensive. You
can get a good guided snow goose
Maryland or Virginia's Eastern Shore
for approximately $150 dollars a
If you want to hunt snow geese remember
you have to go to them because
they are not going to come to you.
The night before your hunt you will
to find out which field the birds
are feeding. The birds will return
exact same spot the next morning
unless they have been spooked by
or something as simple as a plane
going over the field. Overnight
they can be
found rafting on the big water.
Snows are noisy birds so the more
people calling the better. Unlike
Canadians where one or two will
break from the flock, snows seldom
It is not unusual to see one to
two thousand snows coming to your
This means one to two thousand eyes
looking at you, so this is not the
to sneeze, cough or move until the
shot is called. Don't be surprised
snows landing at your feet while
the main flock is still coming.
This is the most exciting hunt out
there. I highly recommend this
experience to any waterfowler at
least once. To my wife's dismay,
season is over but there is still
plenty of good hunting days.
So look out geese, you now have
my undivided attention.