Goose hunting
Geese are hunted by staking out their foraging areas. Geese are very cautious, and have sharp vision. Geese fly to their foraging sites – typically open fields – in the early morning. It can be a good idea to watch for them a few days ahead, so you know which fields they are frequenting. It is also a good idea to use decoys. If used correctly, these will bring the geese closer to the hunter before firing. Geese have to be so close that you can clearly see their eyes, because they are thick-skinned. It is therefore also necessary to be well camouflaged. Fog, mist, low visibility and wind are good for goose hunting. Geese like to land into the wind, so note the wind direction so you have an idea which side the geese will approach from in relation to placing decoys and hunters.

Challenges of goose hunting

The biggest challenge when hunting geese is to remain concealed. It is important that the geese do not notice anything amiss. Bear in mind that the geese look down from above as they fly in, so it is not enough to hide behind a few hay bales with no cover above you. The next challenge is that you are often out in what normal people would call ‘bad weather’, because this type of weather brings the geese into closer range. You should always be out in good time – before the geese start arriving. You need to have set up your goose decoys and be lying in wait before the geese arrive looking for food. There can often be a long waiting time, so warm clothing is essential.

Waiting time

As we crossed the soft swampy marsh with our arms loaded with goose decoys, camouflage net, cartridges and shotguns, the dreams seemed somewhat removed from reality. Hunting geese can be hard work. But one shouldn’t complain. Having the opportunity to wait in the dark to watch the sun rise, and see small flocks of geese appear through the mist, stretch their wings and descend towards the decoys, is an experience you have to earn. But it doesn’t always work out that easily. The first geese we saw turned away. They noticed something amiss and landed a few fields away, to our great disappointment and frustration. We had observed the field for several days, and there was goose manure all over it. There had to be something about us that was too obvious. Were the decoys not placed correctly? Was our camouflage inadequate? Was it the dogs? We had to think carefully, and we had no choice but to re-arrange the decoys and try to position ourselves differently. Of course our geese on the neighbouring fields took flight during all this fuss, and afterwards it was as quiet as the grave. The skies were empty, dawn was starting to break and stomachs were beginning to rumble. This waiting time, where you cannot do anything other than what you are doing, is the hunter’s sanctuary. There is no room for work or other disruptive elements. Your thoughts wander like the geese. Some are high, others appear slowly through the mist and drift calmly away to unknown regions. And that is how you miss your first goose. You descend into yourself and are no longer attentive. What a great start as a goose hunter! My fellow hunter draws a question mark in the air with his finger as he laughs. It is an amicable laugh. He knows what happened, as all hunters do.

Deerhunter recommends

Now you are awake and ready for the next goose, which you sincerely hope will come, so that you get one more chance – just one more chance! You don’t want to be the person who missed the day’s only good opportunity. How does this goose hunt, this story, end? If you combine all the stories, they generally end well. And this particular day also ended very positively. Five geese were bagged in all. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sound of a goose hitting the ground. You feel in awe of this quarry, with its large size and weight. Despite having to carry more on the return journey, with the added burden of the geese, it was all worth it. Tired arms, heavy boots and with many great days of goose hunting ahead.


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