79, Day 1
Using Mounted Decoys for Goose Hunting
NOTE: Mitch Sanchotena of Middleton, Idaho, a longtime goose hunter
and a pro staffer for Knight and Hale Game Calls, enjoys hunting geese
in the Snake River valley in southern Idaho.
Question: How long have you been hunting geese?
Answer: Probably 35 years.
Question: Where do you hunt primarily?
Answer: Mostly in the Snake River valley in southern Idaho.
What is the goose population like there?
Answer: Our local goose population is about 5,500 birds. We get
a small migration, and we'll peak somewhere around 12,000 to 14,000.
Question: Are the birds mostly greater Canada
Answer: All of the birds in this area are greater Canada, the Columbia
Basin variety and will weigh about 9 to 10 pounds each.
Question: How did you come up with the idea of
using mounted geese as decoys?
Answer: We have a 103-day goose season in Idaho, and after about
80 days, there aren't too many decoys the local population of geese hasn't
seen. As the popularity of goose hunting has increased, so have the numbers
of decoys hunters put out in their spreads. After awhile the plastic decoys
no longer fool the geese.
I had a small taxidermy business, in the off-season I mounted 18 geese
in various lifelike poses. After reading articles, I knew I wasn't the
first to try smaller spreads. But I was experimenting, and that's what
I came up with that worked best for me.
Question: Did you know of anyone else who was
using mounted decoys?
Answer: No, nobody in this area that I'm aware of was or is using
Question: What did you find out about mounted
decoys? Why did you go to the smaller spreads and start using mounted
Answer: Other hunters have gone to smaller spreads and have found
them effective in the later part of the season. But if you put a mounted
decoy out there alongside even the best production decoy, there's just
no comparison. Man will never be able to completely duplicate the authenticity
of a real bird.
I noticed your decoys are mounted on wooden planks. You hide the planks,
Answer: Right. In our area, frost is a big problem. If we were
hunting somewhere else where we didn't have frost, we could do without
the stakes coming off the bottom of the feet and just stick them into
the ground. Here, our frost level now is probably 12 to 18 inches in the
ground. So, you need something that's fairly substantial to keep the goose
decoy standing in the wind and freezing weather. We're using a 14-by-14-inch,
5/8-inch-thick piece of plywood. Today, we're hunting in a cornfield.
So, we'll put the cornstalks over the edges of the boards to break up
Question: Do you think the geese can see the boards
if you don't do that?
Answer: I don't think so.
Tomorrow: Calling Geese