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Waterfowling Expert Denny Pitman Tells Us Mistakes Hunters Make

More 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, will you name five more common mistakes that goose hunters make each year?
Pitman: Many goose hunters don’t: 1) select the correct shells and chokes. When I invite people to go goose hunting with me, I’ll usually have several people show up with the wrong shells and chokes. Some people will bring No. 4s or No. 6s because that’s all the shellClick to enlarges they have. So, I’ll give them some of my shells. My rule of thumb is if you’re shooting over decoys, and the birds are coming into the decoys, then shoot an improved cylinder choke with BB shot. If you’re pass shooting, then shoot a full choke or a modified choke with bigger shot. I think too many hunters don’t use big-enough shot to take geese. I usually shoot Winchester Supreme High Velocity BBs in a 3-inch magnum to hunt geese.

2) remain still in the blind. Don’t try to be the person who knows where the geese are all the time. Instead be the guy who’s watching the fellow who’s calling the geese. Geese are vocal – unlike ducks. Most of the time they’ll be honking and clucking. So, use your ears, not your eyes, to tell you where the geese are. If the geese are on the corners or circling around behind you, then you can look some. However, if the geese are looking straight at your blind or your decoys, don’t move. Don’t stick your head up to see what your buddies or your dog are doing. If you have to look at anything, look at the eyes of the guy doing the calling, because his eyes will tell you where the geese are.

3) put out good-looking decoys. If you have one-dozen good-looking decoys and 5 Click to enlargedozen not-so-good-looking decoys, then you’re better off to leave the not-so-good-looking decoys at home and only use the dozen or so decoys that do look good. To get geese to finish in front of your blind, you must have really good-looking, clean – no dirt on their heads or their backs – geese decoys. You’ve never seen a goose out in a field with dirt on its head or its back or with its feathers not the appropriate colors. I use a lot of Bigfoot decoys and many silhouette decoys. I know many hunters don’t like to use silhouettes because they say that when geese fly over the silhouettes, the geese lose sight of them. But you have to remember that geese can’t count. By the way time geese fly over silhouettes and lose sight of them, then as soon as they look back, they can see those silhouettes. I think silhouettes cause geese flying over them to think that the decoys are moving, since they see them at one point, and then don’t see them. For years, I’ve used only silhouettes in fields and taken as many if not more geese than hunters who use full-bodied decoys.

4) match their decoys to the areas they’re hunting. If you’re hunting a feeding field, you want to use a lot of decoys that look like they’re feeding, a few decoys that are upright and looking around and some active decoys that give the appearance of moving. If I’m hunting a feeding area, 3/4 of my decoysClick to enlarge will be feeders. However, if I’m hunting a loafing field where geese are resting, I’ll take the foot bases off my full-bodied decoys, sit them on their bellies and attach sleeper, rester, sentry or looker heads to those decoys to make my decoy spread look relaxed and resting. If I’m hunting a water hole late in the season, I try to use as many sleeper heads as I can. The more sleeper heads you use on your decoys, the more relaxed and resting your decoy spread will look, and the less cautiously the geese will come in to your spread. Also add motion decoys to your spread. There are several things you can do to add motion to your decoys, including adding motion stakes to the full-bodied decoys or motion shells that various manufacturers make. Geese want to see movement on the ground before they commit to come in. Movement in your decoy spread tells the geese that are coming in that they are looking at live birds.

5) remove their decoys and spread after they end their hunt. If you’re hunting a field or a water area, and you get your limit, pack up your decoys quickly, and get them out of the area so the geese will return to that spot. Then you should be able to get good shoots on two or three consecutive days in the same area. A more-productive way may be to hunt a spot for a day, allow the site to rest for a day or two, and then return to that place. Many hunters won’t let an area rest. If they locate a field that the geese are using, they may hunt that same field for 6 or 7 days, which may end productive hunting there for geese the rest of the season. Don’t be lazy, but instead pick up your decoys after every shoot. The next time you shoot that field, arrange your decoys differently from how you’ve arranged them the last time you’ve shot that field.

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 5