You probably know my position on this one. Remember all the times we had singles or pairs dead to rights and we let them pass this spring to let the flock come lower and they never did? I will take a snow goose in hand over 500 just out of range.
I learned a few valuable things this spring by watching the birds circle.
This applies to hunting migrators. On most occasions only a small flock or a single bird are really going to come down into good range. Most people don't find this earth shattering I'm sure. However the birds that we finished at really good range always came down lower and lower each pass. They might have circled for 15 minutes but on every pass they would lose 5 yds or more. Once the birds made a pass twice at the same height they would never come down farther.
The lightbulb went on when we were decoying that pond by Oakes and I went to chase down a crippled blue. I was about 200yds away and I could watch the birds work from the side. I watched a few flocks circle but one snow really illustrated what I am talking about. It came down from who knows how high and was losing altitude on each pass getting lower and lower and then it was like there was an invisible floor that it would not go any lower than. That goose probably circled 6 more times and it never got any lower.
If you watch particular birds circle as they break up in big flocks and start to come down each one will have a floor that they will not go any lower than. Some birds are 200yds and some are only 60yds and some will come all the way in. But in my opinion you are much better off taking the good shots on those few birds that come all they way down than waiting for those birds that just keep circling and circling. Because odds say its not going to happen.
In my opinion we would have been better off to shoot one or two out of each flock and scare the rest off and start fresh with new migrators that have no idea that those are decoys down below. Rather than let the flocks out of the south join up and instead have 2000 circling and still only a few come down.
I agree with you on the invisible floor on migrators.
I guess you could also look at it in regards to local birds, when there's one on the deck and 20 more at almost the same height 30 yards back. That's the ones I hate. When you have a lot of guys in a spread you'd kind of like the chance to get everyone some shots...I'm always that guy who likes to hang on the single as long as possible so you can get that AND the flock. When the single flares it's just go time. I'm a gambler...not always the most popular when calling 'em.
I will agree with GG, guys we passed up way to many singles waiting on the flock above them to come in to range. So I say take the single, unless you know how the flocks have been working for that day and then you can wait up on the big ones. Kinda like the last Grindage we did on the bastards right Hustad? Singles at 10 yards and we wait up on the flocks of 50-100 to come into 20-25 yards. I cant get enough of it!!!
Never decoy hunted cuz Im a poor sob :eyeroll: but if I could I'd take loners. Kinda how it works when you just sit in a field, if one passes low enough I shoot at it. Of course Im such a great snow hunter, my life total being 3 and all. :wink:
When we hunted snows more often we would always say to take the singles but then those larger flocks would always sucker us into waiting. Then we would end up missing out on the singles. Another question..... do you shoot ducks coming in if there is a flock of geese on the horizon? Or, do you only shoot ducks at first light and later in the morning???
I am a goose hunter first. So I will pass on ducks if I have an opportunity for geese. It really depends on the setup too. If it is a field with geese and ducks I will pass on the ducks. If the field has just had ducks while scouting it I will usually take the ducks. It also depends on how far away the geese are and the weather that day. Strong winds and low clouds you can usually get away with shooting at ducks and not risk scaring the geese if they are far enough away. I guess it is all a judgement thing. Depending on the situation.
When you are snow goose hunting and they won't decoy worth a crap sometimes ducks are the only salvation from a complete bust.
I take em when I can. Been screwed too many times waiting for the whole flock to come in. You'd like to suck em all in, but it rarely happens.
However, that is a much easier decision when there are only a few guys in the field. I can appreciate Chris' dilemma when there are a number of guys in the field. You hate to shoot one and then have the other guys just watch the whole flock fly away. I guess that's what's nice about huntng in smaller numbers.
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