Best Choke For Goose Hunting:
So It’s the first goose hunt of the year and you’re waiting in your layout blind. Ready to pop up on the sight of the first honkers to land. Just as planned they come in and you take your shots, but before the last load ejects you realize that you’ve missed all shoots and your buddy had to clean up for you. How could this be? Easily one of the most overlooked aspects of hunting is selecting the best choke for goose hunting. You can have the most expensive shotgun and shells, but if you don’t have a choke that keeps a tight pattern to the yardage you are shooting. You will miss more often than connect on a goose.
Now if you ask any waterfowl hunter what’s the best choke? You more than likely will get a list of answers for what they believe is the best choke to use when goose hunting. However there a few factors to consider when selecting a choke for goose hunting
The overall conditions while goose hunting can affect choke decisions. Why? Of course ideally getting geese to decoy and set their feet down is ideal. However, conditions can change your plan as a hunter in a hurry. Geese may be landing further out in the decoys or maybe you can’t set up as close to the kill spot as you’d like. So selecting a choke that can make a lethal shot out to 30-40 yards may be necessary. Therefore I suggest a modified choke or even a full choke. These chokes will hold a tighter pattern out to 30-40 yards that will kill a goose. Using chokes that offer a wider spread such as an improved cylinder may not hold a tight enough pattern to kill a goose. Therefore more often than not, crippling birds.
Try to understand the conditions you’ll be hunting in the night before the hunt. This way you can change it before the hunt and not have to mess around with changing out chokes mid-hunt.
Factory or Aftermarket Chokes:
Not only do conditions play a role in selecting the best goose hunting choke, but so does the brand. Most shotguns these days come with a set of 3-5 factory chokes. However, it didn’t take long for companies to start making aftermarket chokes specifically designed to hold tighter patterns. If you’ve been in the waterfowl game long enough you’ve heard of companies like Patternmaster and Carlsen’s. Who make chokes specific to duck and goose hunting. I’m a firm believer that you can still kill geese with factory chokes, however, if you have the money spending it on an aftermarket choke is a great investment. These companies have been able to create chokes that perform really well with steel shot. Creating lethal patterns out to 40 yards. Sometimes I find factory chokes don’t hold as tight of a pattern.
The biggest issue I see with buying an aftermarket choke is if you don’t pattern your gun with it. A shot pattern can vary drastically depending on the gun, shell brand and size and number. So make sure you give yourself time before the hunting season to pattern your gun. Here’s a great link on how to pattern your gun.
As I said above shell brand size and number play an important factor in your choke selection as well. Today there are dozens of shell manufactures with a lot of fancy marketing telling you that you’ll kill more geese with their shells. However what’s more important is to grab 5-6 different brands and numbers and pattern them yourself with the choke you’re comfortable with. You’ll quickly find out what shells work the best with your gun and choke.
Best Choke For Goose Hunting –
Combining conditions, choke type, and shell selection will help you determine the best choke for goose hunting. Personally, I use a Patternmaster with my Beretta. I know that if I’m on target it’s a dead goose, and if I’m off target it’s a miss. I would rather make a lethal shot that cripple or wound birds.
Proper Choke Cleaning and Maintenance –
I’ve seen it far too often that a great $1,000 dollar waterfowl gun has a seized in choke. Making sure you properly take care of your chokes and gun is essential. Not taking proper steps to clean and maintain your choke can sometimes lead to needing a new barrel. Therefore, I always clean my guns with bore cleaner and ensure to dab a little oil on the threads of the choke before I insert it back into my barrel. If you are unsure of what type of solvent or cleaner to purchase when cleaning your choke. Take a look at the top 10 best Cleaning Solvents here.
HUNTING TIP: If you are stacking up the geese this season and need a plan for getting them from the freezer to the table. Check out The Waterfowl Hunters Favorite Goose Jerky Recipe here.