Goose hunting decoys deployment
Regarding goose hunting, decoys deployment is almost half the job. The remaining 50% will depend of callings and hunters aiming.
But even before thinking on shooting, first thing to do is to take birds close to you; easier to say than to do it, and decoys deployment are the cornerstone.
From the air birds are looking where to land safely and close to other birds. If there are many birds landing on a given area, it should be safe for them and geese will try to reach their already landed fellows.
Decoys are intended to simulate a group of geese behaving natural in order to attract real geese attention but achieving good results may be challenging because birds are not looking only for shapes but also for patterns they use to see from the heights.
That's why decoys deployment is more than just put randomly a lot of figures on the land. By doing it birds will land not because of your decoys but your good luck!
The following tips are intended to give you and edge when placing decoys, perhaps you are aware of many of them while some others are new. One situation or the other, it's always good to recheck how we are decoying and how to improve it.
1. Use more than one type of decoy
In a natural situation not all geese will be standing or sitting, instead some of them will be walking while some others lye resting on the ground. That's something to keep in mind when you are decoying.
If all figures are sitting or standing, birds won't see a natural patterns and will fly away. Perhaps they will get close to take a better look but probably to fly away and never come back.
So, instead of using too many full body decoys in one single position, try to use full body and shapes to render your flock more natural.
2. Motion is the key
At a given moment not all geese on the ground are standing still. Some of them will be walking while a group is swimming and some others getting airborne. That means a lot of activity on the ground.
If all decoys are set as statues such natural movement pattern will be absent and once again, birds won't land near you.
Think about how a normal flock looks on land and try to imitate their disposition and pattern. Use floating decoys to add movement and render all the set more natural.
3. Keep distance
Believe it or not, a crowded flock will not be attractive to a 6 feet wingspan goose and will fly away to find a better place. Geese are big birds and they need some space to land and if there's not enough available, the best choice is to move away.
Setting decoys too close to each other won't leave enough room for birds to land, discouraging them and destroying your odds of a good hunt.
Set decoys at least 5 feet apart from each other, some of them on couples or trios, to render your setup more natural and will be more attractive for geese looking from the heights.
4. Water is a good ally
Geese will prefer to land near a water body if possible, thus deploying your decoys near a creek, a water pond or a small river will increase your odds, moreover, you may take advantage of currents to set several floating decoys to add motion!
Additionally, water is a food source, a natural attractive and a big magnet for hungry birds during migration.
5. Give geese a safe place to land on
If you are a goose trying to find where to land on a windy day... Where would you do it?
The answer to that question may be the difference between success or failure.
Geese will try to land of a safe place, than means away of wind and far from threads, so placing your decoys near a hill or any other natural barrier to the wind will increase your success chances.
In addition, if there's high grass or some trees to cover the position instead of a big open land, geese will feel more confident and will be pushed to land near your decoys.
As you may see, decoy placement is an art and a science. To succeed you only need to see how mother nature works and mimic it, at the end, after practice and a lot of assay and error, you will find out what works better for you.