1) Learn to use a pintail whistle, but don’t overuse any call. In fact, calling really doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference.
2) Use a 12-gauge shotgun, tight chokes and shot sizes of 2 to 4. The vast majority of what hunters on the refuge will get is pass shooting.
3) Opportunities to kill geese will present themselves. Each hunter should have a 10- or 12-gauge shotgun loaded with BB size or larger shot shells.
4) Carry a snow goose call to get geese’s attention.
5) Spread your decoys in a large mass in front of the blind rather than leaving open landing zones.
6) Use lots of decoys — never less than 5 dozen.
7) Buy a pirogue and learn to push pole it.
8) Using a retriever is crucial. Without one, hunters are likely to lose a quarter of their downed birds.
9) Be aware of the dangers of the Mississippi River. Cargo ships and crew boats create large wakes and pose collision risks. South winds pile up vicious waves. Unlit boats running at night are not uncommon. Floating river debris can be hard to spot.
10) Buy a radar unit. The delta is noted for fogs that set in for multiple days.
11) Be sure that your boat is large enough and reliable enough to make the long runs necessary from Venice boat launches to the hunting areas.
12) Best of all, go with someone experienced the first time.