Tips for setting up a decoy spread for goose hunting.
Why Goose Hunt with Decoys?A decoy spread attracts larger flocks of geese and helps hide your goose blind. Geese are less easily fooled as they age and as the hunting season progresses. Without effective camouflage techniques or other ways of detracting attention away from your blind, they can easily spot you and veer away.
As the season progresses, geese wise up to shoddy decoys, so use decoys that are as realistic as you can afford—full-bodied, if possible, or a mix of full-bodied decoys, shells, and silhouettes. Realistic goose decoys will increase the success rate of your hunting.
Tips for Decoy Spread Placement
- You can start by setting up your decoys in the traditional U, V, J, or circle pattern, but alter the pattern slightly to give it a more natural look.
- Pay attention to the wind. Never face all your decoys into the wind. This position signals that the geese or ducks are ready for takeoff. Face the decoys in various directions to the wind at all different angles.
- Factor in a “landing zone” (such as the open curve of the “U” or “J” shape) where you hope the incoming birds will land. Arrange your decoys around this open space to try to control where the birds land.
- Add a small family group of geese downwind of the other decoys, as if they’ve just landed and are making their way towards the rest of the group.
- Set up your layout blind upwind of the landing zone and right in the thick of your decoys. The decoys will help hide your blind and keep the birds from landing on top of you. If possible, place the blind in a dip to keep a low profile. The hunting blind should be within easy range of the landing zone. Take into account that the geese may not land directly in the landing zone.
- Geese find safety in numbers, so they will be more likely to land in areas where…
- There are plenty of other geese.
- The geese are relaxed and naturally feeding (not wary, alarmed, or all looking up).
- There is movement (use flags or motion stakes to simulate movement).
- The more decoys you use, the easier it will be for the birds to spot them as they approach the field. More decoys attract larger flocks of geese. The larger the flock you hope to attract, the more decoys you’ll need to set out. For smaller, family groups of geese, two to four dozen decoys should be adequate. For larger flocks of geese (over 100 geese), you may need over 100 decoys.
As any hunter knows, these decoy tips may or may not work on any given hunt. Depending on the weather, location, how the geese are responding to your decoy spread, and other factors, you may need to change up your game plan. Good luck goose hunting!