Looking to get ahead of the flock this waterfowl season? Or maybe it’s your first time going on a goose hunt. Whether you’re new to goose hunting, or are looking to up-your-game in the field this fall, here are some tips to help you reach your harvest limit (and get invited back next time).
1. Rise & Shine
When hunting geese, be ready to get started bright and early. If you want to make a good impression on your host or guide, be ready and eager to help with the set up. This is a valuable opportunity to learn tips and tricks and ask any questions you might have before the shooting starts. Make sure to bring a headlamp, as this is an excellent tool for setting up in the dark.
2. Dress for Success
Autumn in Manitoba can bring a wide-range of weather conditions. It could be snowing, raining, or 20° C and sunny. A base layer, like this midweight crew shirt and midweight pants will help you keep warm in typical fall conditions. Wear these beneath pants and a hoodie, and add additional layers or waterproof gear as the weather requires.
Tip: Concealment is the key! Be sure to match your camo clothing to the fields or cover you will be hunting in.
3. Ditch the Pooch
Your dog might be your best friend and loyal companion, but unless he’s received the proper hunting training you probably shouldn’t bring him on a goose hunt. You’ve seen what Sparky does when the mailman comes to the door, or when there’s a squirrel to chase; now imagine him out in the field with a flock of birds. If the barking doesn’t scare the birds off, you might end up on a wild goose chase when the lovable goof breaks early to pick a fight with a bird.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
How do you get good at anything? Practice. That’s not to say you should take your shotgun to the local duck pond and see if you can pot a few mallards. Shooting anywhere other than a licenced range or an authorized hunting area can result in fines, or worse. Visit your local range and practice shooting clays so that when the flock appears you are cool, calm and ready to make your shot.
Tip: Practice your goose calls as well. Be sure to do this in a remote spot, to avoid driving your family or the whole neighborhood nuts.
5. Get Pumped
You’re going to need a reliable shotgun and the right kind of ammo. If you’re a beginner, start with a standard pump-action shotgun and 2 ¾” or 3” shells. Don’t worry about springing for a more costly semi-automatic shotgun until you’ve gone on a few hunts and are sure waterfowl is for you. Also, don’t be tempted by larger 3 ½” shells. Unless you are experienced with a shotgun, the recoil will kick the tar out of you. A sore shoulder is no price to pay for slightly increased range, especially at the cost of accuracy.
6. Decoys, Blinds & Flags
If you’re joining friends or a host for your goose hunt, it’s doubtful that you will be expected to provide blinds and decoys. However, it never hurts to be prepared. Choose a blind that is spacious enough for you and your equipment. You’re going to be sitting in it all morning, so you want to make sure it’s nice and comfortable. If you need decoys, a basic 12-pack of Canada Goose Shells should do the trick. You’ll want to pick up a goose flag to help get the attention of distant birds. These are easy to use, affordable, and will increase your chances of luring birds towards your decoys.
7. Have a Blast
Waterfowl hunting can be a super fun and social activity. Bring some travel mugs to sip on a refreshing beverage or hot drink, and enjoy sitting around with your friends, telling stories and breathing the fresh autumn air. With any luck, you’ll end up filling the freezer with some excellent table fare.
Cabela’s is your source for waterfowl gear and apparel. Our seasoned outfitters bring real-world experience to the job and will be happy to help you put together a starter waterfowl kit that suits your budget. Either drop by one of our stores, or visit us online at cabelas.ca