If you’re battling to hunt geese successfully, it will really help you to have a decoy spread at your disposal. Decoys are used to trick geese into entering your hunting zone so that it’s easier to hunt them – and so that your goose hunt doesn’t turn into a goose chase!
What do goose decoys do? Goose decoys are made to look like real geese so that the geese you’re trying to hunt will be fooled and land in the spread.
If you’re not sure what goose decoy spreads to buy and what the best ones are for hunting Canada geese, we’ve got you covered.
Read on to find out more about why you need decoy spreads and to learn essential tips that will help you to better place them for the most hunting success.
Importance Of Decoy Spreads
If you’re interested in waterfowl hunting, decoy spreads are worthy accessories to own. They offer various benefits, such as the following:
- They bring waterfowl closer. It’s not always easy to hunt geese from a distance. This is why spreading out some decoys can help to attract them so that they fly within easier reach.
- They make it easier for you to hunt in windy conditions. Since geese (and ducks) find it trickier to navigate when it’s windy, you can use a decoy spread to increase their landing zone.
- They can be used in a variety of ways. There are different ways in which you can use geese decoys, such as mimicking geese flying or eating and a variety of decoy products on the market. An example is “silos,” which are silhouette decoys that mimic geese eating off the ground. Another example is full-bodied decoys that provide a realistic representation of real geese.
Best Spreads For Canada Goose Hunting
Whether you’re hunting Canada geese or other types of geese, you’ll want to ensure that you watch the birds closely so that you learn about how they like to land after flying.
One of the most important things to know about Canada geese specifically is that they land in groups because it makes them feel safe.
Once they land, they will spread out, so you want to ensure you have the right amount of decoys at your disposal to encourage them to land within close proximity to you.
Large Or Small Spread: Which One Is Best?
When setting up decoys, it’s good to know that you don’t always need a large spread to attract geese.
If you haven’t got the funds to purchase a variety of geese decoys, that’s okay – you can attract more geese with a smaller spread.
However, it’s important to make each decoy work to its highest potential, so here are some steps and tips to follow.
- When using a smaller decoy spread, you should be in a spot where you’ve seen geese feeding or landing. This will help to increase the effectiveness of your hunt because you won’t have a larger decoy spread that will be drawing geese from further away.
- Always place the decoys so that they’re about six or more feet apart. This is important because geese want to have enough space when they’re feeding, and they’re quite territorial. In addition, if you’re hunting Canada geese, you’ll need to know that their wingspan can be more than six feet in size, so you don’t want to crowd your decoys to the point where there’s not enough space for the geese to land.
- If you have a small number of decoys available, try to make the spread appear bigger. You can do this by arranging groups of four or six decoys and spreading them out. A good rule of thumb is to try to aim for 12 decoys, if possible. Set the decoys up so that you direct the geese to where you want them to land. Geese like to land in the wind, so that’s important to bear in mind.
- When setting up your geese decoy spread, what’s more important than whether it’s large or small is that you’ve paid attention to what the geese in your area are doing. If you see Canada geese forming small groups on the land, you really don’t need a lot of decoys or very large spreads in order to bring more geese to you. A few well-placed decoys can be enough. Therefore, make sure that you study the birds for a while to ensure you find the perfect spot where you can place your decoys, depending on what the bird activity is like at that point of the season.
- If you’re carrying a small amount of geese decoys with you, it’s good to bear in mind another reason why smaller decoy spreads can be better: if you have too many decoys, these can start to seem unrealistic to birds. They might be confused about why 100 birds aren’t making splashing or honking noises, so it could cause them to hesitate landing in your area. Focus on what looks most natural in the environment where you’re hunting as this will make fooling geese easier to achieve.
What Goose Decoy Spread Diagrams Work?
Decoy spreads that work well for attracting Canada geese come in different shapes. A common one is a crescent or U-shape, with the middle of the crescent facing upwind. This creates a landing area for geese so that you direct them into the shotgun range.
This decoy spread has many benefits. These include the following:
- It’s easy to set up this decoy spread as you don’t have to worry about following complicated steps to achieve it.
- It’s conducive to use when the wind direction is consistent.
- It provides a large landing area for geese.
- It can be used if you’re hunting alone or with other hunters.
- It can be set up without you requiring lots of goose decoys, as you can get away with as few as 12.
Alternative Spread: The L-Shaped Decoy Spread
Another spread you can use when hunting Canada geese is the L-shaped one. This also directs geese to a specific area of your spread. It should begin in the downwind spot and grow wider as it gets closer to the blind, where you’ll have extra decoys.
These decoys are important as they fool flying geese into thinking that birds have just landed there. The L-shape of your spread will then become narrower as the shorter leg will angle away from your blind.
Don’t Forget About The X-Shaped Spread!
If you’re hunting when it’s not windy outside, you can make use of the X-spread. This is when your blinds are placed in the middle of an “X” pattern on the ground, then you extend your goose decoys out from that point.
This works effectively because the first group of geese that will fly in will choose where they want to land, and you can shoot them overhead even before they touch down onto the ground. Or, you could shoot them when they land.
Where To Find More Goose Decoy Spreads And Diagrams
If you’re just starting out with hunting, you might find it beneficial to learn about more goose spreads and diagrams, especially during the hunt. You can download an app such as Decoy Pro’s Goose Hunting Diagrams onto your device, which is available on the Apple app store.
It provides over 40 diagrams of goose decoy spreads and how to achieve them, as well as extra information when setting them up, such as what their specific benefits are.
What Kind Of Decoys To Use
Now that we’ve looked at how you can make the most of your spread, you have to ensure that your geese decoys are realistic. These are essential to get right.
Motion or Static Spreads: Which One Is Better?
You will likely have seen both motion and static decoys to add to your spread. One of the biggest things to consider is whether you should use one over the other. The truth is that both of them have their benefits. Let’s take a look at them in greater detail.
These types of decoys are essential when hunting Canada geese. This is because these types of geese are very active – you’ll see them walking, flapping their wings, and feeding.
Motion decoys will work well to mimic real geese, so they’re more likely to attract geese that are flying overhead.
You can find two types of motion decoys: subtle and highly-visible motion.
- The subtle decoys gently swivel around on their motion stakes, and they might turn their necks or bob their heads. Subtle motion decoys should be used to attract Canada geese that are close to the ground. This is because they will only notice the movements of the decoys when they’re preparing to land.
- By comparison, the highly-visible motion decoys include movements like flapping wings, which will be much more visible from further away. These decoys are therefore great to use when you want to attract geese who are flying overhead.
Static decoys don’t move. They come in a variety of types, and you can choose them according to the behavior real geese in your location are displaying, such as if they’re eating or floating on the water.
These are realistic decoys that make it seem like they’re geese in motion, such as if they’re standing on the ground or in a feeding position. What’s great about these decoys is that they contain authentic-looking paintwork and feathers.
These are decoys made of hollow plastic. They don’t come with legs but they have metal stands. They can be easily stacked to look like a group of geese, but they usually look like they’re sleeping.
They’re therefore ideal to use if you’re trying to attract tired, sleepy birds.
While you might think that silhouette decoys aren’t as good as other types because they aren’t as detailed and they look like 2D representations of birds, they do have their place in a goose decoy spread.
These are basically photo finishes, but they usually come in black and white so that they are striking when spotted by geese from a distance. They are best mixed with other types of decoys, such as full-bodied ones, to create some contrast.
These are lightweight decoys that provide motion when there’s wind. They are basically baggy material that’s put on fiberglass stakes. How windsocks work is that the material fills up with wind and makes it look like the geese are moving or feeding.
You will need a large number of goose socks at once so that they will mimic a large flock of geese when it’s windy.
These flags are designed to mimic a goose that’s flying close to the ground. They look a bit like kites but are in the shape of a bird as viewed from above, and they can come in different patterns or colors. They can work well within a goose decoy spread.
Should You Mix Different Goose Decoys?
It can help you to mix different types of goose decoys as this will make your spread look much more natural and realistic. For example, if you only have one type of decoy, such as full-bodied decoys that are all feeding, this can look staged.
By comparison, mixing together full-bodied decoys that are displaying different positions, will be more realistic. You could also blend some full-bodied decoys with silhouettes, and maybe throw in one or two goose socks or flags that can help to add a bit of contrast.
However, try to have some uniform elements in your goose decoy spread. If you have lots of different decoys, this can make your spread lack consistency, which will make it look fake.
Hunter’s Position And Camouflage
While you might have chosen the best decoys for hunting geese, you should also take some time to think about your hunter position and ensure you’re properly camouflaged so that you don’t bring attention to yourself – this can throw off your entire spread!
When it comes to your hunting position and camouflage, there are some important tips to bear in mind.
Hunting Position Hacks
- Make sure you angle your goose blinds within your decoy spread so that they work more effectively. If you’re right-handed, you should place your layout blind to the right of your landing area. On the other hand, if you’re left-handed you should position it to the right end of the line so that you can intercept geese that move over to that side.
- Try not to move! You have to ensure that you remain as still as possible, as you don’t want incoming geese to spot your movements. Don’t look up to see where the geese are flying, even though you’ll be tempted to do this. There are some things that can get in the way of you remaining still, such as mosquito bites during the summer. Make sure you pack insect repellent in your hunting backpack so that you don’t have anything bothering you. Similarly, dress appropriately for the weather, such as if it’s freezing cold so that you don’t have to try to move around to warm up your body.
- Consider using flags instead of calls. Although geese calls can be effective at bringing in geese, if you make too much noise or you don’t sound realistic, this can throw them off. It’s wiser to make some calls, but then use a goose flag instead. This is especially important when you first hear that geese are nearby.
- Spread out your hunters. If you’re hunting in a group, you should spread out hunters into different decoy groups. This will ensure that you increase your chances of making a hit as opposed to staying in one group further away from the action.
- If you only have a small decoy spread, you should dig your blinds into the ground, as long as this is allowed in the area where you’re hunting. This can help to make your blind less noticeable so geese won’t spot you.
- Choose the best location. If you’re hunting around a pond that’s concealed by trees, you might not need to make use of blinds. You can hide right there in the natural elements, such as behind timber, logs, and brush. Natural cover can really come in handy, so make the most of it.
- Camouflage your layout blinds. Although you might have come prepared with your blind and perhaps even made your own one that looks realistic, you need to add some elements to the blind from the natural outdoors where you’re hunting, such as tall grasses or branches on the ground, so that your blind fits into its surroundings better.
- Choose the best camo patterns. Now it’s time to suit up! You should ensure that you choose the correct camo pattern specifically for the environment in which you’re hunting geese. Some of the most effective patterns to choose include the following:
- Mossy Oak Bottomland: This camo pattern contains dull colors that are inspired by bark, leaves, and old moss. It blends well with swampy areas.
- Realtree Max-5: This pattern contains colors and shapes pertaining to cane, grasses, cattails, and reeds so that you can hunt effectively in flooded marshes. It also has elements such as wheat and corn if you’re hunting geese that have landed in open fields.
- Snow Camo: When hunting in the snow, you should ensure you wear snow camo. This has a white background with a few elements on it, such as bark and leaves. It’s essential to wear this when you’re hunting in freezing winters because you won’t have many natural elements in your snowy environment that you can use as a cover.
Other tips for wearing camo when hunting Canada geese:
- Don’t forget to cover up your hands and arms. If you’re wearing camo on your upper and lower body but you’ve neglected your hands and arms, they will be visible to geese. Make sure that you find long gloves that will cover your hands and arms all the way up to your elbows.
- Consider mixing and matching camo patterns. Sometimes, you might find that your upper body and lower body camo items need to be different from each other so that you better blend into the surroundings. For example, if you’re stepping into water and your pants have a camo pattern that’s too visible against the grasses along the water’s edge, you might have to choose a different pattern. Wearing different camo patterns can work, as long as it helps to break up your human form.
- Cover up your face. It’s not just your hands that can give you away during a hunt, but your face. Consider wearing a face mask or wearing some face paint in colors that blot out your skin.
Are you using the right decoy spreads when hunting geese? How’s your camo game? If you’re interested in hunting Canada geese, you should bear in mind some important information and tips.
From knowing what camo to wear and how to properly set up your blinds to choosing the most effective decoys, we’ve featured everything you need to bear in mind so that you’ll be in a position to bag more geese during your next hunting trip.