How To Call In Geese During Early Goose Season
The dog days of summer are here and the heat is on. Before you know it the opening morning of early goose season will be here. If you’re like me, hunting geese is always on your mind. And as the season quickly approaches we start to think about it even more. Making a list of all the things that need to be done before opening day.
Being the owner of Gander Valley Custom Calls and a guide in Colorado for over 20 years has given me the opportunity to discuss goose hunting strategies with a variety of people. Sharing tactics that work and also those that failed. The topics that come up most often are calling strategies, flagging, concealment, scouting, and decoys. One of the greatest benefits of my career is being able to share this information and discuss my passion for the outdoors with other Waterfowlers.
We have so many options today for “gear”, it can be a bit overwhelming for someone just getting into chasing waterfowl or even the seasoned vet. The one thing a Waterfowler can do for free practices their calling. I suggest taking the time to listen to geese as often as possible. You can learn quite a bit by just watching and listening at your local park. Even better if you can gain access to check out a good feed in a field. Geese definitely have a distinct vocabulary and once you learn to speak their language you will have something to mimic/practice. Your calling will improve with practice. It will make your hunts that much more memorable and successful.
Featured Early Season Goose Call
So now let’s talk early season goose calling tactics.
When your hunting early season Canada geese try to keep your calling to a minimum. For the most part, stick with clucks, double clucks and moans, these will be your bread and butter. If you’re an experienced caller, spit notes can provide a nice touch. Keep your cadence smooth and slow, and watch for their reactions. If you see their wings beat slow or lock, Bingo! The closer the geese get, the less volume that is needed. Really focus on clean, realistic sounds.
A nice double cluck is a great asset for every goose hunter. I teach all my students to practice both high to low and low to high sequences. The goal is to sound like two geese communicating. The cluck and moan is another set of notes that are a must to know in my opinion. This combination sounds very realistic once you dial it in. You want to sound like your pleading for their attention. Geese are gregarious and want to be around other geese, so use that to your advantage and sound like a few lonely geese, welcoming them on into the “flock” for a meal and rest.
There are only a couple of situations where I will switch it up and get aggressive or demanding. First is after we have called the shot and some geese made it out and are flying away. That’s when I get loud and sharp, imitating the lead goose. I’ll keep on them until they start to turn and pull the remaining flock back around. Second is if the flock begin landing too far out and I want to lift them up and get them in closer. Early season is a great time to try these techniques. It’s rewarding when you can put your calling together and get the flock to come back around.
No matter if it’s early season or late, you always want to really watch and learn to read the flock. They will usually make it very evident if you’re doing it right or if you’re doing it wrong. Once you have their attention and they are coming at you, stick with whatever you’re doing. This is the time to stay calm and enjoy the moment.
If the flock is way out there now is the time to flag at them, you want to look like a landing goose to get their attention. This is another chance for you to use your goose call and get loud. As they approach your rig, lower your volume and focus on realism. When flagging, remember you’re drawing attention to your hide, flag with caution and do the best you can to hide your face and hands. One of the most important parts of any hunt is having the best hide you can arrange. It is a huge contributor to your success day in and day out. I always tell my guys once you think you’re hidden, take it another step and hide even better. Another good tip is to use the wind and sun to your advantage, use every tool available.
Scouting as a team has its advantages, you can cover more ground and save some gas and time. I have some good friends that run a local hunting club with properties located all across Colorado, John and Robert over at Raining Skies Waterfowl. They do so much scouting in our area of the state it always amazes me to hear what they have seen. When you’re out in the field as many days as we are, it is nice to share good information with each other. During our early season, most crops are still up so options are limited. Water can be the key to success if you have permission and gear. Small pasture ponds are money.
During the early season, I like to run my decoys in smaller family groups with a decent gap between each group. It is best to match the number of decoys to the number of geese you see while scouting. Realism is key to being successful day after day. That being said, use the best decoys in your trailer.
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Gander Valley Custom Calls
At Gander Valley Custom Calls we make Duck and Goose calls that are designed to deliver under the toughest conditions. Gander Valley Custom Calls have been field proven by professional waterfowl guides and hardcore hunters world-wide. Our Duck and Goose calls are designed to duplicate the complete vocabulary of Mallard Ducks and Canada Geese while maintaining tonal integrity and pitch. What’s CUSTOM about Gander Valley Custom Calls? We make it the way you want it!