The Evolving Canada Goose

March 24, 2009 by  

By Jason Phillips

Like clockwork the geese left the roost just as the sun rose above the horizon. The geese had their sights on our decoy spread. Our calls matched their mounting excitement as they approached the landing zone, this was the moment that we had all been waiting for. The geese were approaching the spread with landing gear down. As the geese made their final approach our blind doors flew open. Hundreds of miles and countless hours of scouting had led to this moment. It is difficult to beat the heart pounding action of Giant Canadas cupped and committed into the decoys but over the last few years many of the traditional roosting areas in the state have experienced increased hunting pressure.

The past weekend demonstrated the challenges accompanied by the increased roost hunting pressure. During the resident waterfowl opening weekend, waterfowlers from across the state embarked on the second annual Greenskins Classic. The Classic provided the opportunity for waterfowlers to showcase their waterfowling skills. Although the Classic is a duck hunting tournament, the majority of participants are just as verse in pursuing geese over decoys as they are at hunting ducks. Although many of the teams chose fields that ducks and geese had been feeding in throughout the week prior to the opener, the number of geese harvested was lower than anticipated.

Well before sunrise participants reported geese flying erratically throughout the area. As the sun rose above the horizon instead of seeing geese following the routes to fields they had been using during the previous week, geese were flying high and with no apparent destination. Although it is inevitable that goose behavior will change during the hunting season. There are a few things that waterfowlers can do to ensure goose hunting success throughout the entire season.

Perhaps the most critical key to success is to give the geese a break from the pressure. The more comfortable geese feel in a location, the more likely they will decoy and retain a consistent pattern. Without question the primary comfort zone for geese is the roost. Hunting roosts may be perhaps the biggest reason for erratic behavior by geese during the season. If a roost is left alone throughout the season, geese will remain in the general area and provide hunting opportunities through freeze out. If the roost is hunted, the geese will leave the general area and more than likely not return until spring.

A single roost can provide countless field hunting opportunities throughout a season, but if the roost is hunted it may be the only time geese are hunted in that area.

In most areas of the state local birds will be well educated by the first week of October. These birds have been hunted for about a month and have more than likely seen a multitude of spreads. Roosts are very appealing hunting destinations, as they inevitably hold geese. Although the roost may provide some hot quick action, leaving the roost will ensure quality hunting opportunities in the entire area for the majority of the season. Waterfowlers must be willing to work a little bit harder to ensure a successful hunting season for other hunting groups in their area.


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