Editor’s Note: Mike Miller from Canyon City, Colorado, is the Mossy Oak Pro Staff manager for the central flyway for waterfowl. Before duck season starts, he's an elk guide and is an avid outdoorsman year-round.
I hunt ducks, geese, elk, mule deer and just about any other critter you can hunt, but I believe the Canada goose is one of my favorites to hunt. There are a group of us who hunt and scout together. We have permission to hunt some private land fields, and we've also leased some fields to hunt geese. All the people I hunt geese with start looking for geese right before the season arrives. Then we get together over the phone and see who has found the most geese in what fields.
We have some blinds and some goose pits, depending on where we’re hunting. When we’re having a major freeze in Colorado or Nebraska, hunting from heated goose pits is a real luxury. We used to hunt in layout blinds when the temperature would be -10 degrees. But on really-cold days, that’s when the pit blind is a real blessing. When the weather is not quite so severe, we shoot out of our layout blinds or our A-frame blinds.
The number of decoys we set out depends on the size of the field and the number of hunters we have. I have about 16-dozen full-bodied goose decoys. If we’re in a high traffic zone, where we’re seeing a lot of geese, we may put out another 10 dozen full-bodied decoys. But if we’re hunting in an area without many geese, we may put out less than 10 dozen. This is where our scouting really pays off. To know how many decoys you want to put out, you have to know if the geese you’re seeing are just flying back and forth over the field you're planning to hunt, or if they want to feed in that specific field the next day. If the birds are trafficking back and forth, we have to put-out more decoys and have a bigger spread to convince the geese to drop down into our field, than if we know the geese have determined they want to feed specifically in that field the next day. Usually, we hunt six to eight guys when we’re hunting out of layout blinds. As you may guess, eight hunters in a field are more difficult to deal with than six or less. If we’re patient, we've found that we can work a big flock of geese down, so all the hunters get some shooting.
There are numbers of moving parts and pieces required to have an effective goose hunt – from the scouting of the geese, to setting-out the decoys in the right places to make the geese come in to light right on top of the hunters, to the calling to the geese and to the taking of the shots. An effective goose hunt takes place when everyone gets plenty of shooting, and we all see numbers of birds. I guess what I like most about goose hunting is all the detail work that has to be done to pull-off a good goose hunt. We don’t have many white-fronted geese – commonly called specklebellies – in our region. But when we do have one come into our spread, the specklebelly becomes the main attraction.