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Beginner’s Guide to Canada Goose Hunting

Canada geese are a blast to hunt, they’re great-tasting game, and you might find easy access for Canada goose hunting from farming neighbors tired of having pastures and fields fouled.

| November/December 2016

  • A Canada goose approaches the water and prepares to land.
    Photo by Johann Schumacher
  • Canada Geese preen and rest on a muskrat house.
    Photo by Mark F. Wallner
  • Hunters in a blind take aim at approaching Canada geese.
    Photo by Kenneth L. Kieser
  • Gun dogs of all types — pointers, retrievers, and others — are capable of being trained to retrieve geese. If hunting over water, you'll need a steady swimmer.
    Photo by
  • A flock of geese lock up and prepare to land on water.
    Photo by Jerry Kiesow
  • Flock of migrating Canada geese in silhouette at sunset.
    Photo by Strathdee

Canada geese are educated these days. I just surpassed 50 years of waterfowl hunting, and I’ve witnessed the changes.

We once hunted geese with black flags on stakes, tires cut in half with wooden heads, and silhouette cutouts painted in Canada goose colors. Old decoys are now replaced with flocked head magnum versions and battery-powered swimming decoys. A few lucky hunters in the old days had big sets of full-bodied decoys made of plastic or a composite material that to this day I can’t identify.

Mediocre calling fooled geese in the 1960s and 70s, when most calls were made of wood or plastic and very inexpensive. Olt, Lohman, Herters and Faulks controlled the market with their surprisingly effective calls.

Goose calls today are acrylic and over $100. The old her-honk sounds we once only made are replaced with double clucking, come-back calls, and perfect goose chatter. The geese and hunters got smarter.

So, how do you hunt modern-day Canada geese on a limited budget? Here are some tips to get you started. Before anything else, check state and federal regulations in your area to make sure you are fully legal, equipped, and within the appropriate hunting season.

Find a Location

You can find productive goose hunting areas by driving and scouting, but make sure you ask permission from the landowner. Many farmers and landowners don’t want the geese for a number of reasons including crop damage. They’ll allow you to set up and hunt many times, if you use common sense. Remove trash or any other reminder that you were there, besides footprints. Take care of his or her property like it is your own.

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