Hunting the Wind

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Published on: Oct. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 27, 2010

occurs on private land, it's imperative to locate the landowner and secure permission before the hunt. A plat or ownership map is invaluable at this point.

Now comes the part that eliminates most potential snow goose hunters - hard work! Setting decoys, more decoys and even more decoys is the plan. There are times when one or two hundred decoys will bring in snow geese, but it doesn't work consistently. The gregarious nature and large flock sizes of snow geese dictates that more is better.

Five hundred decoys is considered a bare minimum. Eight hundred to a thousand decoys consistently produce results. The lightweight and portable Texas rag and windsock styles make this chore practical and possible to achieve in a couple of hours.

Arrangement is not particularly important, keeping in mind the farther these counterfeits are spaced and spread out the larger your flock appears and the more visible the decoy spread becomes to distant flocks. A large oval pattern and the traditional fish hook pattern can provide good results. Dispersing individual shooter positions throughout the spread increases shot opportunities and helps ensure safety.

As much as possible make use of natural cover for concealment. Ditches, weedy field edges and waterways within the decoy pattern are ideal. The age-old waterfowlers adage to never set the farthest decoy beyond good shooting range doesn't apply here. Leave options open for hunters to move their location if the birds don't work over them.

Camouflage clothing is the rule and nothing is more important than covering the face. A face mask, scarf or camouflage makeup is a must. Pure white clothing can work well, but brown or dark brown/gray or cattail (in picked cornfields) camouflage patterns work best. Cover yourself with whatever crop residue is available and avoid any movement when geese are near.

The type and size of shotguns and ammunition used varies with hunter preference. In this style of hunting, decoying birds are frequently inside of 20 yards. No need for a 10 gauge shotgun here. Twelve and 20 gauge shotguns with a modified or improved cylinder choke are adequate. Large shot sizes like Ts or Fs are not needed and prove to be a liability, due to low pellet counts. The smaller shot sizes are adequate, with No. 2 and No. 1 shot sizes preferred.

For the most part, calling is unnecessary. Mimicking the sounds produced by several hundred geese

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