What Type of Goose Decoy Body Positions Should I Have?

This is a feeder goose decoy

Goose Decoy Body Positions

If you stop and watch geese you will notice that there are several different positions in which they position their bodies when they are out in the fields.  Just like humans geese eat, sleep, walk around and look out for danger.  It is important to keep this in mind when you buy and setup your Canadian goose decoys.


So What Percentages of Each Body Position Decoy Should I Use?

Goose Decoy Body Positions Chart

Here is a chart of my general recommendation for goose decoy body positions as a percent of your decoy spread.  I will further explain this throughout this article.


What are the different types of decoys?

  • Feeders
  • Sentries
  • Resters
  • Actives
  • Sleepers



Feeder Goose DecoyFeeding goose decoys are some of the most common types of goose decoys.  This is because in the real geese are typically in the fields to feed on the crops such as corn, alfalfa, hay, soybeans and other  easy to find food sources.  The feeding goose decoys have the neck and head of the goose pointing down at the ground to mimic the look of real geese grabbing vegetation with their mouths.


The recommendation that I have is the majority of your decoys should be the feeder style because the approaching geese will see this position and instantly know that the geese in the field are eating.  They will want to land in this area because it means that food is present so they will land to join in on the feast.  When you mix your feeder decoys with other body positions be sure that the feeders are in the area that you want your kill zone to be.  This is because that specific spot where the feeders are is where the geese feel there will be food.


Not only does this position indicate to approaching geese that there is food in the field but it also indicates to them that the geese feel comfortable and are not threatened.  Geese will not be feeding if they are on high alert from predators or any other threat so when they see this position they feel safe joining the flock.



Sentury DecoyThe sentry decoy is a goose decoy designed to have the look of a goose that is paying attention to its surroundings and making sure the flock is safe from predators.  Real geese that are feeding on a field will often have several sentrys and their responsibility is to keep a lookout for the rest of the flock that is feeding.  This is because when geese have their heads in the feeding position they cannot see approaching danger.


Also, when geese first land in a field it is common for them to look around for a little while first before they start eating.  Think of this as being similar to people who go to a party.  When people first arrive they check out their surroundings to make sure everything is good and as time goes by they become more relaxed, start eating, have something to drink and at times find a place to sit down and relax.  This is no different for geese so as they first land they checkout the area and once they get comfortable they will begin to eat and relax.


Now this extended neck sentry position can indicate danger to approaching geese.  Think of it this way, if the majority of the flock on the ground is on the lookout it likely means that there is some type of threat nearby or something has happened that is making the geese wary.  This is why it is important to limit the amount of sentry’s you have in your spread.  Again, it is completely natural for there to be a few sentry’s with real geese in the field, just be sure to not overload your spread with them.


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Relaxed Rester DecoyActive geese are the geese that are moving throughout the field in search for more food or just walking around in the flock.  This means that they are moving about with their necks in a less extended position than the fully extended position of sentry’s because they are focused on what is going on near them on the ground rather than straining their necks to see far out in the distance.  Their necks will be bent back a little creating a “C” appearance of the front area of their neck.  A handful of these within your decoy spread will create a natural looking flock look to approaching geese.



Resting GooseResting decoys also have their heads in an upright position like sentry’s and actives but their neck is not extended.  Basically their necks are in more of an “S” position with their chins pretty much resting on their neck and top of the chest.  These birds are not necessarily sleeping but they are most definitely in a comfortable and relaxed state.  Approaching geese seeing these will know that these geese are comfortable.



sleeper shell decoyGeese sleep by sitting on the ground and they turn their heads around and rest it within their feathers on their back.  Of course for geese to sleep they are going to be in a very relaxed state of mind so these are not a bad decoy to have in your spread.  However, I would not recommend having too many in sacrifice of less feeders because feeders are indicating that food is in the area and food is more enticing to passing geese over a comfortable place to rest.


Real geese do like to sleep alongside of water such as ponds, rivers and lakes.  If you will be hunting the shores of these areas than it certainly cannot hurt to add some of these to your spread to provide a realistic looking decoy setup.  Additionally, as the season progresses and there is deep snow it is common for many geese to rest on the top.  There are many hunters who hunt over a spread of primarily sleepers in the late season.


Final Goose Body Position Thoughts

In general, I would recommend a starting spread of approximately 70% feeders, 10% sentry’s and the final 20% being a combination of resters, actives and sleepers.  A decoy spread like this will give you a very good starting point and in most goose hunting situations you should have no problem of having goose hunting success with this decoy mix.


I will say that goose hunting is a sport of trial and error and many people have had success with significantly different percentages of goose body type positions.  However, if you are looking for a good base starting point as you buy decoys and build your spread this is an excellent way to get your goose hunting success heading in the right direction.


For those who are looking at beginning a decoy spread or adding some more decoys I would suggest heading over to my resources page for my recommended decoys.


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