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Waterfowling Expert Denny Pitman Tells Us Mistakes Hunters Make

Pitman Names 5 Mistakes Goose Hunters Make

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Denny Pitman of Old Monroe, Missouri, a professional waterfowler and videographer for Hunter’s Specialties, hunts almost every day of duck season for ducks and geese, as he has for the past 16 years. Pitman enjoys hunting all across the nation, including Canada to South Dakota, to Missouri, to Arkansas, to Alabama and all points in-between. Pitman’s job description means that he must find ducks and geese and film new and better techniques for hunting duck, while promoting Hunter’s Specialties’ duck videos, duck and goose calls and waterfowling accessories. Although on the spot every day of waterfowl season to locate and take ducks and geese, Pitman loves his job.

Question: Denny, what are some of the most-common mistakes that goose hunters make each year?
Pitman: Often goose hunters make the mistakes of: 1) not being mobile. A goose hunter must scout and stay on the move all the time to learn where the geese are feeding, resting and watering. A goose hunter must find a feeding field, a loafing field and/or a roosting site. You either have to be where the birds want to be, or you must put your blind in a flyway between where the geese are coming from and where they want to go, if you want to have success taking geese. 2) not going the extra mile to make their blind look natural. Today more goose hunters hunt from layout blinds. Regardless of whether or not that layout blind is camouflaged, you must put some mud and water in a bucket and paint Click to enlarge the outside of your blind with that mixture to take the shiny off it. Then when you place the blind in the field, you must mud-up around it and also put some of the natural vegetation in the field around that blind. Even if the blind is camo-colored, you need to go the extra mile to make the blind fit into the field. If I’m hunting a silage field with nothing but dirt and corn stubble in it, I’ll get to the place where I’m planning to hunt extra early to get dirt out of that same field and put it around my blind. Then I’ll take the corn stalks I’ve pulled up to lay around my blind and make those corn stalks match the exact rows of dirt and corn stubble in the field. I don’t want my blind to look like a dirt hump out in the middle of the field. If I’m hunting a pasture pond, which is somewhere I often hunt, I’ll go to a fencerow by that pond and stuff as much green grass into every brush pocket on that blind as possible to make my blind resemble a somewhat taller clump of grass just like the area where I’ve got my blind positioned.

3) not using the 40% rule or watching to see how the geese group themselves. Most goose hunClick to enlargeters believe you have to put out 10-dozen full-bodied goose decoys any time you hunt geese, and that each of those decoys must face into the wind. However, I use the 40% rule. If I’ve got 100 geese feeding in a field, I’ll only set out 40 decoys, or perhaps 36 or 42. But I won’t put out 100 decoys. When you set out your goose decoys, don’t set them out in a U, a J or a fishhook pattern, like most goose hunters use. Instead, observe the geese, and see how they group themselves in the area you’ll be hunting to learn how to set up the decoys. There may be 15 to 20 feet between each goose, or perhaps they’ll be sitting in family groups. 4) not flagging. O.k., you don’t have to flag geese to get them to come in to your decoys, but I think you do better if you do flag the geese. Most people don’t know how to flag geese correctly. When you see geese at a distance, get that flag up as high as you can, and start waving it to get the geese’s attention to look like geese are landing in your spread. Once the geese are committed and coming to your spread, all you have to do is lift that flag just a little and shake it above a decoy’s back to imitate a goose that’s stretching its wings. Many people stop flagging when the geese are 60– to 75-yards away from them, but I’ll flip the flag’s wing tip up just a little to add some more movement to my decoys. Then the geese will remain locked-in on the decoys and continue Click to enlargeto come in to where we are.

5) not majoring on the three main calls geese give. Many hunters buy instructional CDs, DVDs and videos and go to calling contests where they hear all the fancy notes like spit notes, double-spit notes, quiver moans and double clucks. However, the three primary notes you need to know to take geese are the honk, the cluck and the moan. If you master those three calls and use them as you read the geese to learn the effects these calls have on these geese, then if you’re in a good spot, you’ll never have any trouble taking geese. Too many hunters want to sound like competition callers. But, when you’re in a field calling geese, you’re not on a stage calling people. If you’ve been watching geese in a field and as more geese come into the field, if the geese in the air don’t say anything until they’re within 100 yards of the geese in the field, then when you’re hunting those geese, don’t call until the geese are within 100 yards of the decoys. If the geese you’re watching in a field start calling when other geese are 1/2-mile away in the air, then you need to be ready to call long distance when you hunt those geese. The biggest requirement to becoming a good goose caller is to sound as natural as you can and as much like the geese you’re trying to call as the other geese in the other area do.

Tomorrow: More Mistakes Goose Hunters Make

Check back each day this week for more about "Waterfowling Expert Denny Pitman Tells Us Mistakes Hunters Make"

Day 1: Some Common Duck-Hunting Mistakes
Day 2: More Tips for Taking Ducks from Denny Pitman
Day 3: Denny Pitman Names Other Mistakes That Keep Hunters From Taking More Ducks
Day 4: Pitman Names 5 Mistakes Goose Hunters Make
Day 5: More Mistakes Goose Hunters Make



Entry 383, Day 4