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Early Goose Decoy Spreads


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I know it may be a little early yet to be thinking about early goose hunting but what do you guys usually have for a decoy spread early in the season as well as how you set them up and the amount of decoys used?

I usually use full bodies and set them up in family groups with a few singles and pairs set on the edges, and then leave a hole for the birds to land in, and then set up the blinds up in the decoys.

WHat do you guys think?

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Using family groups of 5 or 6, I set them up either in a big X or a big U. I like the X pattern best as I've been able to get more birds to come in to that type of pattern.

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we do different things depending upon where we are hunting. In the early season, we usually set up at the edge of a field and utilize a fenceline or a small grove of trees for cover. Sitting on a bucket or in a chair is far more comfortable than laying in the field if we are going to get shooting anyways. We usually set the decoys into about 3 or 4 family groups with space in between each for a landing zone. If we are hunting over water, we set out a mix of shell, silo, and floater dekes and try and leave a pocket for them to land in. Hope to get a dozen or so full body decoys for this year to increase our spread's attractiveness. Don't need a lot of decoys in the early season which makes it easy to change locations and set up/take down quickly. And if the geese aren't flying, don't sit there wasting your time...get out and hunt some doves! I am looking forward to dove hunting just as much as I am to early goose this year.

SA/wdw

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We usually make a spread in the shape of a horseshoe with the ends of the horeshoe pointing with the wind. This gives the birds a big landing area. We set up for shooting in a line and shoot from the base of the spread. We also use a runway type pattern where we set the dekes in two big lines about 18 yards apart. this leaves the geese a long runway to land in.

I found out something about the landing style of honkers this summer on water and in fields. every time a goose or a flock of geese land, the goose or geese land short of the main bulk of birds and then walk into the flock. While doing that every single goose that landed has their heads up and are looking to see if it is safe. So, I thought if you put sentinals in groups short of the front of your spread, it looks like a flock or two landed and it might give the geese that are coming more confidence on landing in your spread.

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If I'm hunting a field, I like to run both fullbodies and shells. Fullbodies are nice, obviously, because they look just like a goose. But more importantly to me is the motion...so I'll always run some shells throughout the spread on motion stakes. No matter what style of hunting I'm doing, I'll always run something with motion to bring them in from far, mixed in with the realistics for the up close finish. I got some Featherlite inflatable fullbodies for this upcoming season. They may not look as real as others, but the motion they put out is unlike anything I've season.

As for the setup...I can't really pick one cause I use something different every time it seems like. The biggest things are to always use the wind AND sun to your advantage, and then choose your spread setup from there. If you're on the spot, you can use as little as 6 decoys and kill yourself a pile of geese.

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I've heard of using the wind , but how do you use the sun?

Just curious?.

WAG

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If you are sitting/laying in front of the sun the geese will have a harder time seeing you when the sun is behind you, but that way the geese might also have a hard time viewing your decoys? I dont really use the sun, but the wind is important, thats what has been a success to my early goose hunts and using the t flag also. Good Luck this Sept..

any more info. on when the season might open? Sept 1st or 3rd (first saturday)?

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Another big thing with the sun is shadows. If you are hunting with layout blinds, some brands are pretty high profile and give the geese something out of the ordinary that may cause them to flare.

My experience with early geese is that they are fooled easily. Usually I call less and we set out less decoys for early season. They usually will commit for us at long distances the first few weeks. We usually just go the simpler the better for early season.

The word is that the season will start Sept. 3. I think dove is opening the first of Sept again this year.

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Quote:

we do different things depending upon where we are hunting. In the early season, we usually set up at the edge of a field and utilize a fenceline or a small grove of trees for cover. Sitting on a bucket or in a chair is far more comfortable than laying in the field if we are going to get shooting anyways.

SA/wdw


You may be more comfortable, but you will kill less birds. Geese wont land next to tree lines. But if you are pass shooting, more power to ya. Besides...I hear lead works great for pass shooting at long range...right WDW???

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Do any of you ever use the upside down "J" pattern for decoy spreads. I heard about it this year and thought it would be worth a try. I guess you make a J out of 3,4,or 5 family groups and then the geese will follow the long end of the J which is facing down wind. So then the shooters at the front of the J would get the good shots and the guy in the hook would shoot clean up. from what it looks like this is probabaly better suited for days with a little more wind.

What do you guys think?

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I don't have a pattern I put my decoys out in. For early goose I do put them in family groups from 4-7 with a bigger flock(15-20 shells only-no full bodies) all put together about 30 yards from the family groups and which side all depends on the wind and if no wind I use the sun.

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Quote:

Quote:

we do different things depending upon where we are hunting. In the early season, we usually set up at the edge of a field and utilize a fenceline or a small grove of trees for cover. Sitting on a bucket or in a chair is far more comfortable than laying in the field if we are going to get shooting anyways.

SA/wdw


You may be more comfortable, but you will kill less birds. Geese wont land next to tree lines. But if you are pass shooting, more power to ya. Besides...I hear lead works great for pass shooting at long range...right WDW???


Jimbo- I don't appreciate the sarcasm or personal attack. If you read the terms of use on this forum you will see that those things are not tolerated here.

My response to your ill-founded comments are as follows: We have never had problems killing DECOYING birds in the early goose season while hunting from fencelines...we used to lay under our magnum (chair-style) decoys in the middle of fields but we found the birds would often flare once they got within 80 or 90 yards. Obviously the birds would rather land in the middle of a field after getting shot at but if we have a good looking spread with nothing in the area that scares them off, they will commit to a spread near a fenceline. I have read numerous articles in regard to this setup in outdoor magazines so it is by no means a new concept. I don't believe in pass shooting geese because I think it causes them to become more wary and fly higher. Once again I have never so much has had a single lead shell in possession while hunting waterfowl, let alone used any lead shells to "pass shoot geese". Lets keep this topic constructive as I believe that it is a good thread.

SA/wdw

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As far as birds not landing close to fencelines or trees, we have had bird land short or long by about 300 yards right next to woods. I also have a few goose hunting DVD's that have the hunters set up in trees for a hunt. In that case I think it is easier for them to hide camera men in the trees, but they still seem to get their birds if they are in the right spot. Personally, I like hunting from layouts, but setting up in the trees can be an effective method if used in the right situation.

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For those of you who don't use the sun when setting your spread, try it out this year. It makes such a difference. A lot of times, those geese are coming to the field at a time when the sun is at such an angle that it is blinding. A goose landing in a spread, while being blinded by the sun is no different then you driving towards the sun and barely being able to see the cars coming at you...it's one of the best "camoflauges" out there. And if the sun is blinding the geese, you know it's not blinding you. I would rather set up with a side wind and the sun blinding the birds then set up with the sun in my eyes and the birds coming straight in.

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So by using the sun, does that mean the sun is at your back?

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For the most part. You're not always going to get the sun and wind to perfectly compliment each other. A perfect hunt would be to have the sun shining from and the wind blowing from your back. Obviously, that doesn't always happen. So you learn to work them together.

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How do you set up a "family group?" Are they feeders, sentrys, etc. How much space do you put between groups?

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A "family group" is anywhere between 4-8 birds put together.

We put them about 10-15 feet apart.

We mix them up, feeders and senrty etc.

I always put out at least on group of all feeders.

Hope that helps.

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