Finding the Spot on the Spot
There are many special ingredients that go into the recipe for a successful goose hunt. Granted, some are more important than others, but to consistently end up with a successful product, careful planning is often the key.
I learned a long time ago that it was not always possible to hunt fields that are the “go-to” location for feeding geese. It is great when this happens, but the far majority of my goose hunts take place in situations where I am hunting traffic geese.
Just because my objective is to attract fly-bys into my spread doesn’t mean that location in a field isn’t important. I believe it is critical and one of the factors that will make or break a hunt.
For most of the goose hunting season, my main concern when choosing a spot in a field is visibility. I want to be on a rise that not only allows the geese to see my spread from a long distance but also allows me to see them as they approach.
In order to really understand what the view is all about, I need to physically get into the field I plan on hunting. I want to walk the area and understand the exact lay of the land. I will pick the spot for the blinds and know how the spread will look when morning comes.
To keep track of these locations, I will mark them carefully. This might be done with a stake, a small pile of rocks or maybe a GPS icon.
Some of the fields I hunt are relatively small and present some obstacles that need to be worked around. Tree lines are one of those concerns.
I don’t like trees for two reasons. The first one is obviously the lack of sight factor. Trees will block visibility for me and the geese. Geese will fly over trees but then often surprise us as they are quickly upon the spread. This is especially true on days when they fly silent.
The other factor is a concern that develops later in the year. Geese quickly learn to avoid flying over ground cover where hunters may be hiding. I have experienced days when tree rows are like an invisible fence that geese will not cross.
The same goes for standing corn. You can’t avoid all corn in the early season because it hasn’t been harvested. However, I do make an effort to set up away from the corn so birds approaching the pocket don’t have to fly low over the standing crop.
There are exceptions to this. There are times when geese are accustomed to feeding close to standing corn. If this is the case, there is nothing wrong with putting a hunter or two a couple of rows into the corn. A five-gallon bucket is all the blind you will need.
No matter how much time you spend planning your location, having a day with no wind does change the game. Good visibility is still the key but you need to change your spread in order to accommodate the fact geese can approach from any direction. On days like this, it is imperative to have hunters facing both directions so you don’t get surprised from behind.
Goose hunting is a unique experience I never get tired of. However, it does require plenty of gear and lots of planning.
At the top of my planning list is the need to choose my field location very carefully. For me, location comes down to maximum visibility.