Best bets for late Canada geese

Migratory birds tougher to pattern but respond well to calls

Hunting get a little tougher later in the Canada goose season, but Wrecking Crew Guide Service’s Daryl Hodge offered some tips to help hunters limit out just the same.

“These late-season geese are tougher to pattern than the early season birds,” the South Carolina guide said. “Those early season geese are mainly resident birds, and you can watch them all summer and get a feel for their habits. They aren’t as easy to sway with calling in the early season, but you’ll already know their common bedding-down areas, flyways, eating spots, etc., by then anyway.

“These late-season birds are migratory, so they aren’t sticking around very long. You need to scout them hard, but even then, if they leave the area — and most of them will at some point — then you’re back to square one.”

Late-season geese, however, are easier to draw in with calling, he said.

“Those early season geese aren’t concerned with what other groups of geese are doing,” Hodge explained. “They are pretty territorial and not very social with other groups of geese, so they don’t pay attention to other geese calling them.

“But these late-season geese are more social and don’t know the lay of the land as well, so they are all ears when they hear other geese calling them. So even though they are more difficult to pattern, they are easier to call in because they respond to calls better.”

Another challenge during the late season is that agricultural fields many hunters, including the Wrecking Crew use, are planted with wheat that is bright green and 3 or 4 inches tall.

So it’s tougher to blend in here than in the early season.

“What we do in that case is we put the blinds closer together and put more decoys right beside, in front and behind the blinds,” Hodge explained. “From the sky, we want it to look like one big spot instead of a bunch of smaller spots …. The additional decoys give geese confidence that it’s just one dark spot in the field.”

About Brian Cope 216 Articles
Brian Cope of Edisto Island, S.C., is a retired Air Force combat communications technician. He has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He’s spent half his life hunting and fishing. The rest, he said, has been wasted.