Scouting For Geese:
When it comes to goose hunting there are so many factors that lead to a successful hunt. However, Scouting For Geese is by far the most important. Without scouting, it doesn’t matter how good of a caller you are, how good you are concealed or how accurate you are with a shotgun. If Geese aren’t in the field you are hunting. You will have a “skunked” hunt. Therefore learning how to scout for geese is one of the best ways to get on more geese this season.
What’s Needed when Scouting For Geese:
Scouting for Geese can be made very simple with a vehicle, a set of binoculars and most importantly…time. The more time spent scouting for fields for Geese. The reward of harvesting a limit will be more likely. I spend probably more time scouting every waterfowl season than I do hunting. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t hunt near every day, but what it means is that every minute you have. Spend it on scouting for geese. Time is the most important asset you have for scouting. Second is a good set of binoculars. I use a set of Vortex Binoculars that I leave in my truck all season long. This allows me to stay in my truck most days and keep my distance from the geese I’m scouting. So to keep it simple; Time, Binoculars and your truck.
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Where to Start Scouting:
Looking at google maps around your home town can be overwhelming as you start scouting. However when starting use these steps:
Find Roost Ponds:
- Roost ponds are places where geese tend to sleep from night to night. Geese use these places in the evening and they will leave from them daily to look for feeding fields. Once you have a roost pond identified they can provide you many days if not months of hunting. As longs as you choose to not hunt the roost, but rather where the geese are feeding and loafing everyday. The roost is usually a spot they are safe and don’t feel hunting pressure. Look for city limit run off ponds, quarries, private lakes and ponds.
Find Waterfowl Production Sites:
- Duck’s Unlimited has been around since 1937 grow conservation land across North America. With nearly 13 million acres conserved for waterfowl hunters to date. Providing a lot of land that can be used when scouting for geese. Not only that but a large amounts of federal dollars are spent on land that can be hunted every year. Look for these conservation lands in your area and start looking at the fields surrounding the land when it comes to scouting geese.
Look for Waterfowl Habitat
- Geese need to eat as they migrate south for winter. First look for grain crops that are harvested. Farmers tend to harvest Alfalfa and wheat early. Fields like this can be a great early goose hunting opportunity. However, as the season progresses, corn and beans will be cut by farmers providing geese with abundant feed. Fields being harvested adjacent to federal preserved lands, and roost ponds make for great habitat.Â When scouting farm fields look for distinct habitat that Geese would prefer, water, food supply and security.
- Following geese from the roost ponds early in the morning will help you determine what a good feeding field looks like. It’s not always easy to follow geese as they get to take a direct path. However if you lose them come back to where you left off the next day and keep track of the general direction they are heading. Many times I’ve been able to drive the area after losing site of a flock, and find them feeding.
- Geese tend to feed and roost at the same time daily. Therefore once you’ve scouted a field holding geese, keep a journal or use one of the map apps out there today. This way you can record the exact time and location the geese are landing. Knowing exactly where the geese are landing in the field is known as the “X.” I’ve had many unsuccessful hunts because we set up 300 yards from the “X.” So be sure to remember landmarks when you do go to set the spread up in the morning. Identifying geese schedules will also help ensure you have ample amount of setup time for the hunt. Don’t be afraid to scout the field for multiple days to ensure you have the correct time and X located.
You’ve Scouted Geese… Now What?
Finding Geese when scouting is half the excitement to waterfowl hunting. However just cause you found them doesn’t mean you are ready to hunt them. Finding geese holding on private land is awesome as it leaves you with little pressure to hunt the field. But you need to get permission. Apps such as On X Hunt is a great tool for finding landowner information and asking for permission. While scouting observe the birds thoroughly to understand how the geese are positioned in the field and the level of activity. This will ensure you set up your decoy spread correctly for a successful hunt.
Last invite your hunting buddies and get out there hunting!