While listening to the forecast one January evening, it called for a slight chance for flurries overnight. Looking out the window I saw more than just flurries, it was beginning to accumulate on the ground. As usual the forecast was not correct.
The goose hunt a friend and I planned for the morning was looking better and better. In the snow, the decoys are more visible and camouflaging a few hunters becomes a lot easier. A phone call from my buddy Dennis Wheeler saying he would meet me at the field in the morning meant I would not be laying in the snow alone.
When I awoke in the morning the flurries had diminished and left about 3 inches of white powder on the ground. With my decoys already loaded in the truck, I checked for my T-Flag, a couple white Tyvek suits, and grabbed my calls as I headed out the door.
Finding The "X" Field
There had been a good migration of geese a week earlier into the area. Scouting the area helps distinguish a field where geese fly over from the field where they want to be. I like to call that certain field the "X." You can get your geese in a field they fly over, but being on the "X" makes everything a lot easier. The cornfield I had chosen for us to hunt was close to the city lake where several hundred geese were spending their nights. On a hunt one-week prior, we took our limit of geese, and the geese were still using it.
On my short drive to the field I noticed some geese were already up and moving. That was a good sign. It was still cloudy and the temperature in my truck read 27 degrees F. As Wheeler and I unloaded our Bigfoot Decoys, we could hear geese on the water in the distance. Our decoy spread is nothing extravagant. We set out three-dozen full body decoys with one dozen of those utilizing Wind-Life Heads.
For those of you who don't know about the Wind-Life Heads, they really help liven up your spread. They are sort of like bobbleheads only for geese. With a slight breeze, the head will move about, giving the decoys some motion. Sometimes we will add a few windsocks as well. And the T-Flag by itself will sometimes fool a few geese. All this fits easily into my truck making for a very versatile set up.
We put the finishing touches to the decoys, got in the truck and headed to park it. This may sound strange that we drive to the middle of the field to set our decoys and then leave. Waiting in the truck until birds start flying prevents laying in the cold and snow for long periods of time. Sometimes geese will surprise you and not fly at all. We knew, however, with the cold weather and snow overnight these geese would need to feed.
Waiting In The Truck
Talking with Wheeler in the truck, he said that he would only be able to stay about one hour because of prior commitments. After about 30 minutes in the truck, we began to see the first flights of geese leave the water. I knew the geese could see our spread, but it was evident we were not in their flight plan. They were getting off the lake and flying to a small pond about a half-mile away. Why were these geese getting up off of water to fly two miles to water? We were making our way to the decoys when we noticed more geese on the way.
Most of the geese followed the same flight path as the others -- straight to the pond. I thought to myself, "Just wait this out. Not every goose was going to the pond before eating."
My theory proved right. After watching group after group drop into the pond we had our first good look from a group of Canadas. I began flagging and it brought them closer to us as I added some simple clucking to try to finish the deal. They lowered and circled two or three times -- before leaving and joining the others on the pond!
We then entered a lull in the action for a while. Wheeler said he was going to have to leave. Another small group was headed in our direction so I told him to stay to give them a chance. I flagged to them at about 200 yards and they were definitely coming to give us a look.
Geese Circle In
With Wheeler about to leave, I wanted to get him at least a couple of shots. The group of five geese cupped and circled us getting right with the wind. I was hoping for them to get lower, but they did not. Not wanting Wheeler to leave without shooting, I yelled, "take 'em." The geese were about 50- to 60-yards up -- longer shots than I like to take, but Wheeler managed to knock one down.
He grabbed his goose and headed to the truck. I decided to give it a little longer before I loaded everything up. There were geese in the air, but so far not many had been working the cornfield. About 30 minutes had passed and the thought of packing up crossed my mind as I heard geese on the pond getting up.
Amazed at just how many geese had landed on the pond, I began flagging. The noise was almost deafening.
Flagging with one hand and clucking with the call in the other, I noticed a group of geese headed in my direction. These birds were going to do it. Twelve geese were at about 100 yards when I lay back down and quit flagging. Covering my face with the flag, I continued clucking and double clucking. The geese cupped up and were descending rapidly.
A Close Encounter
I told myself to wait ... and when I finally raised for a shot the geese were about 10 yards away! They saw me and banked to my left. I squeezed the trigger one time and saw two geese fold and crash in the snow. Wow! A double and nobody got to see it!
As the geese filed back to the lake, I picked up the decoys and headed home. I returned to scout that evening to find the cornfield loaded with geese again. The weatherman called for warming temperatures, so if I wanted to hunt in the snow it would have to be in the morning.
I hunted alone on Sunday and set the decoys in the same spot in the field. The clouds were showing signs of breaking up and it was already warmer that the day before -- my truck said 33 degrees. I chose to watch for the first flight of geese while out in the decoys.
The first several groups again flew to the pond. Watching them sail into the pond, I glanced up to see a lone goose in a rapid descent to my right. I quickly lay down. You could hear the goose cutting through the wind. I had not even flagged yet and this goose was coming in. I finally pulled up to shoot and the goose was closer than I thought. The goose was back peddling to land literally in my face. I pulled up and shot and shot again. I had missed but how?
I thought to myself, "He is right there." The third shot found its mark as I could see the neck of the goose doing circles as he crashed in the snow.
Grabs More Shells
I stood up to retrieve the goose when I saw three more geese cupped and coming. Quickly, I lay back down and grabbed for more shells. The three were already in range as I chambered a shell and sat up to shoot my second goose of the day at about 5 yards. Wow! Two days limit and I had not harvested a goose outside of 10 yards!
Goose hunting in the snow can provide some up close and exciting hunting. Scouting the area that you are hunting plays a big part in your chances for success. Do not think you need an extra large spread of decoys or be a world champion caller to bring home your limit of geese.
It's not buried treasure, but find the "X" in the snow and they will come.
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