It seems that every year brings new challenges to the world of Canada goose hunting. Geese seem to be ever-evolving in their behavior which creates the need for hunters to continue to tweak and polish their hunting strategies.

It was years ago that we first began to notice a trend of geese moving their daily feeding locations on a frequent basis. We found ourselves setting up in a field that held hundreds of birds one day and see nothing the next. This pattern of moving feeding locations on a daily basis isn’t a hard and fast rule, but I do see a trend developing.

A case in point happened like this. After watching geese dump into two neighboring wheat fields for two days straight while working at our hunting cabin, I was expecting great things when I finally got a spread put out.

The first evening I saw one flock of birds. They came from a different direction than the other geese I had been seeing so I don’t think it was the normal crowd. Fortunately, they came close enough for me to drop a couple. The next morning I saw a total of five birds and that was it!

I have hunted snow geese in enough places to understand their uncanny ability to identify and remember what decoy spreads are all about. Older birds have seen it all and do a great job of keeping the flock out of trouble.

I have come to believe this trait is being developed by Canada geese, as well. From the very first days of the season, the geese we were hunting acted very spooked by our decoy spread. Although we got singles and doubles to give us a look, the larger groups were not the least bit interested.

Many of the flocks that did give us a glance would pass at a safe distance over our heads. This is the kiss of death when hunting geese. Once they get to look with binocular vision straight down into the spread, they rarely come back. They have seen the evil that is lurking there.

All of these challenges doesn’t mean we have stopped hunting geese. It does mean we plan our events a little differently.

Ghillie suits and face masks continue to be a key component in our concealment strategy. When your opportunities come less often, it is imperative that your concealment is as good as it can be. With the birds acting more sophisticated, it is important to make the most of every opportunity.

This includes staying in the blind as much as possible. Everyone needs to stretch their legs once in a while, but invariably that is when birds decide to show up.

We find that having hunters facing both directions can be extremely useful. The person looking back may not get as many shooting opportunities, but having the ability to watch geese approaching from behind is very beneficial.

Chasing Canada geese is my favorite hunting activity. However, it can be very challenging at times. Because of this, our group of hunters spends a lot of time talking about ways to tweak our approach and outfox those spooky geese. Business as usually may not cut it.

Jerry Carlson
Jerry Carlson
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