1A Hunting in Texas Guide Service


Decoying Snow Geese -

Solving Decoying Problems

Below is the layout of a 1A Hunting in Texas Guide Service typical Texas goose hunting spread. Set up this way, it prevents many of the problems associated with getting snow geese to decoy into good shotgun range. I'll explain each part of the decoy spread, what problem(s) that solves, and why it works.
#1 represents the typical feed band that snow geese form when foraging across a field. This is where the hunters should be hidden since it gives you the most decoys per square yard to distract the goose's gaze away from the hunters. In years past, this would be at the downwind edge of the spread instead of the upwind edge, as pictured here. It was done to put the hunters as close to the edge geese were expected to approach from as possible, but the old way of Texas goose hunting is actually backward from what the geese do in the field. I believe they have learned to recognize that unnatural layout as a decoy spread. I also believe that the old layout has encouraged geese to come in through the back door or side door, so to speak, since they were getting shot at all the time from the downwind edge. By being at the upwind edge of the spread, many of these side door and back door approaches will still yield a shot opportunity. Remember to NOT put your hunters out in a tight, straight line. That forms an unnatural clump of big humps. The geese WILL notice!
#2 We call these the skirts, stoppers, or retaining walls. Snow geese that are not quite convinced will often try to skirt around the decoys, but if you can get them in past the front edge, they will not want to leave over densely set decoys. The wall retains them, while the gaps between the feed band and these walls give them a way to exit in what they think is a safe way. It is not safe since it places them in good range for half of the hunters. Without these gaps, the birds will normally just turn around and leave the way they came in. No shot opportunity there.
#3 represents the family groups that have fed along a bit slower than the feed band, or that have recently landed in the mix. Set the decoys in these areas in family groups of 3 to 10 birds, spaced about 4 or 5 feet between individuals. Leave at least 10 feet between edges of family groups. 
#4 is an approach lane. If allowed to approach without actually having to fly directly over any decoys, wary geese may come in just that little bit extra needed for a good shot. I am amazed at how this lane tends to funnel even very willing geese right to the center of the hunters, where everyone can get a good shot at them.
#5 is the primary landing zone. If all goes right, every goose will aim for this spot to land. They have plenty of wing room for coming in or taking off, it's in the middle of the spread, yet they didn't have to fly directly over any dekes to get there.
#6 is our flying decoys placement. An incoming goose tends to want to land very near where other birds are landing. I believe it is that safety in numbers thought process working, or maybe they just think that if those other geese are landing there, it must be a good place. 
#7 is usually where I place my dark geese (Specklebelly goose and Canada goose). Snows normally don't like to fly across ANY decoy to get in, but they REALLY don't like to fly across dark goose decoys. This placement puts them where snows that come from the preferred downwind direction won't have to cross them. Snows that come side door can still use the gaps between the retaining walls and the feed band to get in front of the hunters, and it sort of commits any snow goose coming in the back door to either turn completely around and leave (which, unfortunately, many of them do), or coming directly over our heads to get to the primary landing zone. Dark geese usually have no qualms about flying over snow goose decoys to get where they are going, so being behind everything doesn't bother them too much. When they are being cautious, I'll move one hunter out to each dark goose spot and rotate hunters as they shoot out. 
snow goose hunting decoy spread
45 snow geese decoying for just 3 Texas hunters
What fun this was! 45 snow geese - all in the decoys!
Decoying snow geese is not easy, but we get it done!
This was another pretty fun day of decoying snow geese!
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