Water hunting for Canada geese is getting more popular each year. The excitement of a huge honker crashing the water like a cannon ball is something I look forward to each fall.
Being from MN I am blessed with lots of public water hunting opportunities and have taken advantage of it for years. Leverage what I have learned over the years on your next water hunt to increase your success on geese.
Choosing the right location is critical to your success. My general rule is that geese prefer to land in relatively open water. This means setting up in an area with a good amount of water both upwind and down wind of your location. Low vegetation is ok but stay away from tall trees if possible.
Try to setup with few hunters down wind of your setup. Geese will often setup and approach the decoys very low from downwind and you want to avoid having the birds working be pass shot at while making their final decent.
The more decoys the better. Not only will a big water spread kill you way more geese, you will also harvest more ducks!
The next time you are out hunting geese in the field look around at all your fellow hunter’s spreads and how big they are. Do this again on the water and compare. The average water set is much smaller. Typically, a couple dozen at best.
The water hunters spread is often constrained by the size of their boat. So, to set a large decoy set you need to team up with another boat to haul more decoys or invest in compact decoys other than floaters if your location permits.
If you are hunting deep water your only option is floaters.
If you are hunting very shallow water you have more options. This is my preferred setup. You can pack any exposed ground with lightweight decoys like shells, silos, and Canada goose windsocks. In the shallow water you can run long staked windsocks right amongst your floaters. This setup is just deadly on both geese and ducks!
Always remember Canada geese typically land short of the decoys. This means you want to setup for a crossing shot with your boat setup for shooting at birds on the downwind edge of your decoys.
I like to set my decoys in family groups on the water with a few in lines like they are swimming. Keep plenty of space between decoys. Whatever you can do to encourage the geese to finish closer to your boat blind the better.
Goose Calling Over Water:
I have two basic strategies for calling geese on the water. Low and relaxed and loud and aggressive. For small non migrating flocks I prefer the more realistic low pitched notes that carry so well on the water. This is where a longer barreled call like an H2O Talker Goose Call really shines as it is designed for this.
For high migrating flocks I prefer loud and aggressive calling to get their attention! Remember only so many geese are callable. If they are up high you want those geese to hear and see you first before they start to commit to another setup.
By using the tips above on your next water hunt you can up your odds of seeing a few Canada geese laying belly up in the water!