Paul's Weekly Tips: Well, almost weekly!
Wash the decoys with a mild soap, which will leave no residue. TSP works too. Brush as needed. Dry and prepare surface. For bare plastic you should use a primer, such as Krylon. Then apply the glue in a test spot, followed by some flock. Allow to dry. Aero Ure-glue drys quickly. You can test the next day. If all looks OK, then continue on. If the flocking looks bare and the adhesion needs to be improved. Then apply a thin coat of glue to create a base coat, followed by a second coat when the first is dry to the touch 4+hours depending upon the temperature/humidity, followed by the flock right after the glue is applied..
If the decoy has paint which is sticking, do not remove it but buff lightly with sand paper to create a surface for the glue to adhere to. Promtly remove the dust and add the Glue and then flock. Check to make sure the section where the glue strokes may overlap do not become shinny. The glue has absorbed the fibers. Apply more fibers and pat in if needed before the piece is dry.
TRANSPORTATION: Don't leave it up to chance to be stranded at O Dark 30 in the AM.
Get your vehicle serviced (oil change etc) so you can focus on hunting during the season. Make sure all the lights work, especially on the item(s) you pull. Check your tires, spare tire, stock your rig with basic tools and items needed for the hunts. Be prepared for emergencies.
Exercise your animals....and practice retrieves. If the shots are not up today, schedule a vet appointment. Also practice your gun skills with some trap or skeet. Insure your gun is in top working order. Clean thoroughly. Also stock up on shot shells and use the coupons, which typically expire the end of August.
Hunting season is almost here. Are you and your equipment in ready? The migration has already started. We had Speckle Belly Geese arrive a week late in August. The sounds announce that hunting season is almost upon us. They stop in Washington State before continuing South.
LATE SEASON DECOYS & GEESE; One of the things that can make a late season goose hunt successful is the size of and layout of the decoy spread. The geese have already seen all the spreads of the decoys, from 4 to 20 dozen. The more decoys you have out, the harder it is to make them look realistic to the geese. Use a spread of 12 to 24 decoys and spread them way out. One of our guides ran 2 groups of hunters (36 geese) over 20 Drop Zone Decoys. Then on Sunday, an other guide used 28 DropZone decoys for a 21 goose bag. Smaller is sometimes better. When using a smaller spread, cut your calling down to a couple of will timed clucks and you will see what I mean!
QUIET: Use quiet clothes which make no or minimal noise and those which are not too loud or bright in color. Hunting clothes should assist the hunter in being camouflaged, or blending into the setting so they are not easily identified. Clothes which make no noise will assist in not being detected by the wildlife. Noise indicates to the wildlife your location and experience probably has taught them this means danger or hunter(s).
Before purchasing outdoor hunting clothing, rub the fabric against itself to detect noise. Also evaluate the lining for noise. Look for a soft noise free fabric, which has a non-shinny pattern which will blend into your hunting surroundings.
Many a bird has been flared by a simple arm movement. Best to not move at all when birds are overhead; make only slow movements otherwise when birds are incoming.
Hunter Maintenance: Keep hydrated, even during cold weather. One of the leading causes of frostbite is dehydration! Drink fluids every hour, preferably non-cafenine and no alcohol. Take a full water bottle and increase intake with increase in activity. Blood thickness when you do not have enough fluids, and then your heart can not pump enough to keep your extremities warm. During warm/hot days, lack of hydration results in heat stroke. Don't wait until you are thirsty...make drinking water all day long part of your daily lifestyle.
Shooting Geese is all about the lead.: Butt, belly, beak and then pull in front if a foot or two, depending upon speed and distance. Distant birds may require a lengthily lead.
: Make sure you consistently shoulder your gun- to the same place. This is the biggest mistake hunters make when getting excited before taking a shot- not getting the gun up consistently. Also make sure you practice shooting prior to your trip wearing the coat, etc you will be wearing during your hunt. This can change the 'feel' of your shooting. Some do a mental picture, some state the same words over while taking the shot.....do what ever come natural to you that makes for consistent shooting. Plus make sure your gun is clean, lubbed and ready to shoot before the hunt- especially for windy and freezing cold hunts. .
One thing that can make a late season goose hunt successful is the size and layout of the decoys spread. The geese have already seen all the spreads of the decoys, from 4 to 20 dozen. The more decoys you have out, the harder it is to make them look realistic to the geese. Use a spread of 12 to 24 of your beast decoys and spread them way out. One of our guides ran 2 groups of hunters (36 geese) over 20 DropZone Decoys last weekend (12-2-06). THen on Sunday, an other guide used 28 DropZone decoys for a 21 goose bag. Smaller is sometimes better. When using smaller spread, cut your calling down to a couple of well timed clucks and you will see what I mean! Paul Sullivan
For early season geese, don't worry about quality decoys as much as quantity. In most cases bigger is better. It is not until latter in the season that the geese realize that size does matters. It is always fun to hunt with a good quality decoys, but early season I like to use the bigger decoys.
Watch how much calling you do. Birds can pick you out. It is always fun to watch the geese react to the calling and call them to the ground. But if you watch a lot of videos, you will see a lot of birds flare when there is too much calling, even early season . Use only as much calling as the birds require. You can tell this by watching for their reaction to your calling.
Get the tools of the trade ready. Make sure your gun is clean and in top working order. Get some practice in on Doves, at your local shooting club or clay pigeons. Get your decoys out, wash and repair as needed. VF Kits make a difference. Examine your blind and repair as needed. Also examine your camo clothing. Repair any tears, ripped seams or any loose/missing buttons. Clean your boots and add water repellant. Double check your waders for leaks. Clean out your thermos. Warm up your calls with lots of practice. Take your special someone out, so you can bargain for 'your' upcoming time in the wild. Or better yet, get your special someone to go with you too. Don't forget fido, he needs his practice too. Also make sure his shots are up to date. Fall is almost here!
If you are hunting out of a pit blind, make sure you stand away from the blind and examine 'the look' from a distance. Does it blend into the field at the same level? Is the color the same as the field? Does it look natural, or does it look man made?
Make your pits and blinds look like they 'belong' where they are located.
A successful hunt starts in the right location with a quality blind. Do your homework and you will be rewarded!
To maximize the number of geese you harvest out of a flock of geese, try to start shooting when they are a few feet off the ground and just before they land, assuming they are decoying right on in. The momentum of such a large bird right before landing, requires it to slows his velocity to a near stand still right before landing.
This will gives you a few more precious seconds to focus your shots before they land.
Upon take off, there has to be great momentum to get the push off to get a jump into the air! During take off the geese or ducks use their wings and legs to spring into the air, which makes it harder to estimate the lead and get an accurate shot off, when they propel them selves into the air.
Geese will always flare away from a goose that has been hit because of the sound of the pellets hitting the bird and the sudden change in direction of the bird. You can use this to your advantage in several ways. Never shoot the closest goose first in a flock because the rest of them will flare away from you. If you are on the right side of a pit or blind setup, shoot the goose on the far right and this will push the rest of the flock back to the left so as to give others a better shot.
Picked this tip up from a previous winner of the Champion of Champions Goose Calling Contest in Easton, Md.
John Taylor said, " More duck and geese have been saved by the call, than harvested by the call!"
Link to Contest Results
Link to festival
If you are hunting in an area that gets a fair amount of hunting pressure, try to not do what everyone else is doing! In other words, if most of the hunters are using very large spreads of decoys, use a smaller spread. If most of the hunters are using a particular brand of decoy, use a different brand. As the season gets near the end and the birds are getting decoy shy, just put out a small spread of your very best looking decoys. Don’t use decoys that have paint missing and/or are not clean. We all tend to clean our decoys before the season starts, but the important time to clean them is late in the season.