The way to Kill Cautious Late-Season Geese


By now you would possibly assume you have got your duck sport dialed in—your calling is tuned up, your jerk spreaders are untangled and dealing completely, and when the warmth is on, you may get 5 dozen decoys set very quickly flat. However the late-season won’t be the most effective time to throw all the pieces you’ve obtained at birds, a lot of which have seen all the pieces thrown at them from the 49th parallel on down.

The final weeks of duck season can deliver bitter chilly, snow and ice—and recent geese to your neck of the marsh. To shut the deal on geese which can be call-shy, blind-shy, decoy-shy, and particularly, brown-lump-in-the-cattails-shy, take into account downsizing nearly all the pieces. Besides on your effort and expectations.

1) Decoy Sparingly

On the subject of decoys within the waning weeks of the season, much less is extra. By now, many geese have run a two-month-long gauntlet by who-knows-how-many decoy spreads. They’ve seen each sort of unfold ten occasions, they usually’re merely not going to be impressed with yet one more. In reality, a normal decoy setup is extra prone to flip birds away at 400 yards than deliver them in. Puddle-duck hunters, particularly, will wish to pare down the decoy numbers. When you hunt smaller waters, comparable to beaver ponds and river oxbows, it’s best to pare them down dramatically.

A lot of the reasoning behind a Season 2.0 model of decoys has to do with biology. By this time within the season, geese are in full plumage. They appear completely different than they did on opening day. And lots of birds are paired up. They’re much less keen on discovering an enormous completely satisfied flock than to find a number of different {couples} hunkered down in a secure, sequestered spot.

duck hunter sets out several decoys
Late-season quackers will typically keep away from large decoy spreads. RubberBall Productions through Getty

Begin prepping your late-season decoy unfold earlier than the season opener. Put aside a half-dozen of your swankiest, latest, and freshest-looking decoys. You’ll desire a pair or two of mallards, then two or three pairs of different geese that frequent your water, comparable to wigeon, pintails, and woodies. Be sure to have extra drakes than hens in your unfold. When the time comes, place the decoys in pairs, and unfold them out a bit. Consider it as a Membership Med pool for geese. When that a lot love is within the air, {couples} like a little bit bit of private area. And skip the spinning-wing decoys, squirters, and jerk-cord decoy spreaders that create an excessive amount of commotion. A jerk wire with a few decoys that’s sufficient to place a number of ripples on the water, however not a lot that geese get suspicious, is alright.

Paring down your equipment additionally makes it simpler to remain cellular and transfer to the geese. Within the late season, you’re much less prone to persuade birds to come back to you. Be prepared to maneuver to the X after the second group of birds snubs your decoys.

2) Minimize the Calling

Dialing again your calling is one other confirmed late-season tactic. At this level, geese have heard all of it earlier than. Heck, even I’m uninterested in listening to a duck name by now. You continue to have to tease the birds within the corners as they circle the decoys, however solely sufficient to allow them to know the place you might be. Save the comeback name for after they’re downwind, and it’s wanting like a misplaced trigger. Never call when the birds are closing in or are circling overhead. In the event that they hear you, they’re taking a look at you—and searching laborious. Don’t assist them out by permitting them to zero in on a duck name.

You may also take into account attempting a whistle-type name if there are pintails, wigeon, or wooden geese within the space. My favourite late-season name is a mallard drake name. The buzzy two-note “bu-weep, bu-weep” is a superb convincer when birds are in tight however not but dedicated.

3) Scout for Smallwater Honey Holes

Scout the again sloughs, beaver swamps, and distant marsh ponds that you simply’ve neglected to this point. It’s not straightforward to seek out unpressured waters proper now, however you’ve obtained to place within the legwork. Stash canoes or kayaks that can assist you cross creek channels the place different hunters received’t go, and pour over satellite tv for pc photographs to uncover late-season choices which can be just too difficult to get to for many of your competitors.

mallard on water as it snows
Discover out the place the remaining geese are hunkering down. Tim M Lanthier through Getty

Bear in mind to be super-vigilant if you’re scouting in order to not disturb geese. Attempt to scout throughout the late morning hours, so that you don’t bump birds in the dead of night. Glass forward typically, and in case you see only a few birds hunkered down in a far-off honey-hole, resist the temptation to get just a bit nearer for a greater depend. Late-season birds are going to flush with the slightest disturbance, and after they do, chances are high they ain’t coming again. Discover a handful of geese and take into account your self fortunate. You don’t want a pile of birds in small water. You simply have to hit what you purpose at.

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4) Ditch the Crowds

There’s no query that the social facet of duck searching is an enormous draw. It’s enjoyable to hunt along with your buddies, however an excessive amount of of an excellent factor results in mild duck straps. This time of yr, bushes are barren, the vegetation round pits blinds is trampled, and geese have had it with something that appears off. Making an attempt to cover a half-dozen friends in a late-season timber gap is much tougher now than it was within the early season.

This doesn’t imply you need to ditch your posse totally. As an alternative, break yourselves up into two or three smaller teams, and scatter all through your searching space. Harried birds might be in search of sequestered spots, and as soon as they discover security, they’re much less prone to transfer round once more. By spreading out, you assist stop the frequent incidence of geese piling right into a secure haven 200 yards up the swamp out of your place, and if everybody agrees to carry off on taking pictures till the birds are within the decoys, you may (considerably gently) maintain birds flying.





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