Hi, I am completely new to goose hunting and I was just wondering what would be the minimum number of decoys that I could use for canada geese? I just want to try the sport without getting into a big expense.
If you look further down on the list of postings you will find some helpfull suggestions. The amount in my opinion depends of the size of the dekes you are using and the amout that you can handle comfortably. When I hunt by myself I use two doz.(standard size) If I have friends coming they can pack a dozen each usually. :lol:
The number of dekes depends on the time of year and the amount of hunting pressure in your area. I would agree that the earlier in the season, the fewer you'll need though I always use a minimum of 2 and a half dozen; up to 5 dozen if I have help and it's mid Nov. and beyond. I use a mix of Big Foots, Mag. Shells (they're about 33 inches long), silhouettes, and magnets (the fliers). I also have the ability to get back in these fields with an ATV and a nice sized trailer. Once you tear some sizeable ruts in a no-till bean field, you learn that it's either ATV time or a lot of walking!
Bottom line: do the best you can with what you've got. The more decoys the better especially when you might be competing with a field full of live geese! If you're dealing with few dekes, it's all about positioning them so the spread looks bigger than it really is and calling and flagging.
I'll have to disagree with the majority of poeple. What is more important then having a large setup is to be setup in the field the geese want to be in. Its more important to get out the night before the hunt to scout where the geese are feeding at the end of the day. Once you find a field the geese are feeding in watch until dark to make sure no one scares them off the field. The next morning you need to be in the field with a flashlight finding the exact spot the birds were feeding in. This is acomplished by looking for feces and feathers (if not too windy). Set up right there and there is a extremely good chance that the birds will return to that feeding spot.
Try to get as many quality dekes as you can afford. Real-geese, Higdon, Bigfoots, Flambeau shells stuff like that. If you have quality dekes you should be able to pull a few geese in.
Then just build until you can't get them all into the field. That is usually when you need to stop. :lol:
In the beginning of the year I was able to bring in a small flock of geese with four cheep decoys. But the more the better that's for sure. If you don't want to spend a lot of money just make your own or buy the wind-activated decoys. You can buy them for $35 per dozen and they work fine. Hope this helps good hunting.
i agree with most hunters early season 4 -5 big foots may get you by if you are in a good field were the geese want to be. it also depends on if you are using a blind or not. if you are not using a blind the more decoys you will need to keep you hidden. the best thing to do if you are going to be lying in the decoys is to get some silloutes put 1 in front 1 to each side and some about 12 big foots is all you need for anytime of year. oh yeah and some decent calling. everything has to go right to kill geese one thing goes wrong chances of killing geese are slim.
Tikka from MB is right on the $ in his assesment.
And I'll assume we are talking about Canada geese, the bigger species such as Giants and the Greaters, VS the Lessors and and such.
Here is the list in importance in goose hunting.
1) Be on the "X" EG be in the same field as they were the day before, as close to exactly where they were.
---if there is a major wind shift-you may have to adjust where you set up though in the same field.
2nd choice is to "run traffick" on them, by setting up between where they are roosting and their feeding feild.
2) Concealment. You have to be well hidden. Layout blinds such as Final Approachs Pro Eliminator or Zinks Finisher work well for mobility of hunting different fields and you are well hid. Each has its + and - for which better suits you. If you need a lot of portability, think the smaller layouts which are compact by same Mnfrs.
Pit blinds work if you are restricted to 1 field, but are costly and generally need to be dug 6 months prior so that the vegitation has a chance to grow around them agin so it looks natural.
I would keep away from the goose chairs.
3) Decoys. Use good or better quality decoys.
Use full bodies such as Big foot and Green Head Gear as they are the best mass produced and hold up well.
If space is a problem (lack of trailer or stoage) use Silos, go with Real Geese Pro series as 1 side has a no glare to it (no reflection of the rising sun-which will spook incoming geese).
Keep away from the 1/2 shells IMHO. If you must use shells, go with the 3/4 body shells such as G&H and buy the magnum sized ones.
Also consider adding movement to about 1 decoy per 6 by added a Decoy Dancer, or swivel base, or similar.
Also important is flagging. Buy a few videos of the Pros and watch how you are flagging.
4) Calling. Calling is important, but often guys over call and flare the geese. It is best to under call than over call. Each day is different, experiment as to what they want to hear. If you buy a call, buy the instruction VIDEO with it, meaning forget the cassete or CDs, get the video because in calling geese, how you hold your hands with the call is very important, so watching it is a big help. Flutes VS Short reeds have 2 completly different ways in how you control the air used in the calling. Both are effective. I know that Zinks SR-1 is one of the easier SRs to learn and comes with a video. On SRs it takes some guys a couple of weeks, some years to become proficent with it--so start now to learn it. Flutes are much easier to learn to call but have limitations in the overall notes it can produce. The very easiest to learn is the Big River flute, but alot of guys use it--but it does have a very low low end sound to it-which makes it suited well for over water hunting conditions and the Giants if the hunting pressure is light. ALso check around where you live to see if there is a Duck and Goose calling Assn. some states have monthly meetings, go to them and abserve and absorb info. And do not be scared off off by the competition callers. Just frankly say you want to learn how to "meat" call, meaning hunting VS competitive calling. If no Calling Assn around, ask some of the hunting retailers in your area if they know of anybody that can help you learn the basics of calling.
Just remember, we all have our opinions and different experiences, and of course the regional hunting varies widely too across the US and CA, meaning there are variables to consider. But the above info I beleive most would consider good sound info.
And to answer your original question, I've shot a lot of geese over 9 full bodies, a mix of feeders and uprights. But as the season progresses and the flocks get bigger, it does take more decoys.
h2o and tikka said it. If you have access to fields where the geese are feeding, you don't need many decoys. Sometimes i use around a 100 goose deeks when i'm in my duck blind on the river. I never have as much luck there on geese cause geese are worried about eating rather than loafing like a duck. Its when I get out in a cornfield or prairie where they're feeding that I nail them. I have to haul my dekes in too so I don't use many, but they get the job done. Remember, like they said, location, location, location. The rest will fall into place.
I have hunted my who life time here in Nebraska for geese. As times have gone by waterfowling has gotten bigger and bigger in this area. Also the pressure on the birds has also. I use 18 to 36 decoys up until mid Dec. Then as the migration gets into full push through here I will go up to using 8 to 10 dozen decoys. But as season get close to ending per say the last 2 to 3 weeks of season I will drop back to 9 to 18 of my best decoys. Dropping to the smaller spear later in the season has killed me more birds then anyone else who hunts the area I do while they are still running 7 to 12 dozen decoys in a field.
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