Ready for some tips on how to setup your early season goose decoy spread? Hunters excited to get back into the field from the offseason can try this early season goose decoy spread. The good news is this is a pretty easy to learn spread and when done correctly does not require hundreds of decoys.
Here is an early season goose decoy spread to give a try:
“Early Season” goose decoy spread summary:
- Family groups are common for early season resident birds geese
- Realistic but small spreads can work
- Large landing zone
- Proper concealment
Family Groups are Common for Early Season Resident Geese
In the early season it is common for geese to stay in family groups on water and fields. They stay with the family group they have been with for the last several months and you will often see them feed and rest with these groups of 3-6 birds.
Now this does not mean that the geese will not be with a larger group or land into larger groups. It simply means that placing your decoys in pods of 3-6 decoys can help recreate what you are seeing in nature. Another benefit to these smaller pods is it leaves lots of room in between these pods for the approaching geese to land without being crowded.
As with any goose decoy spread, you need to consider the wind direction. Geese have a strong tendency to land into the wind and in this example you can see the wind is blowing across where the hunters are placed from the bottom of the image up. This means that the geese will want to approach from the opposite direction and head into the landing zone. Ensure that you set these pods in a manner that will leave some type of opening for the geese to head into, here we have somewhat of a “U” opening.
Realistic but Small Spreads Can Work
The good news with early season geese is they are not always in huge flocks yet. This is because the birds you hunt in the early season will commonly be the resident birds that have been in the area all year. The overall group size will vary but to see groups of 4-24 birds is regular so you will want to replicate this look with your decoy spread. In fact, you might find that placing a ton of goose decoys for field or water hunting might look unnatural to the geese and may cause them to get wary.
Try a spread of 12-24 decoys in your early season goose spread and see how it works for you. However, one tip is to not skip on good looking decoys for the early season. For example, let’s say you own 60 decoys. I would recommend going through your decoys and picking out the ones that have the best coloring and are in the best shape. There is no need to get rid of decoys that have a little bit of paint waring off as you can use them as fillers later in the season but in this early season spread you should have your best looking decoys out.
Large Landing Zone
With any type of goose hunting it is important to leave a landing zone for the approaching birds. However, in the early season it is even more critical to leave a large landing zone. These birds have been in the area for some time and have got accustomed to their surroundings. This means that they might be suspicious to be forced into a small landing zone by other birds.
Leave these early season birds plenty of space to land so they can check out your spread but if they are not fully convinced they can have some opportunities to keep their distance from other birds yet remain within your effective shotgun range.
Proper concealment for hunting early season geese is vital in achieving success during this time of year. Pay particular attention to your surroundings and ensure that the concealment method blends well with what is around you.
For example, you could elect to hunt a recently harvested alfalfa field but not sit in the middle of the field due to lack of vegetation to conceal yourself. Find a spot on the edge of the field that has some tall grass and place the decoys out in front of you in the field about 20 yards away. This way you are well hidden and out of the direct sight line of the approaching geese.
Hunting early season geese can be challenging yet fun and if you experiment with your early season goose spread you can have a good chance of bagging early season honkers. Remember to bring out your best looking decoys, place decoys in family groups, find proper concealment and leave a large landing zone. Give all of these tips a chance the next time you are out for early season geese and hopefully your hard work and smart thinking will pay off.