Twisted Canadas: 4 unexpected decoys to use on late season Canada geese
By M.D. Johnson
Late season Canada geese see the same spreads field after field after field, so isn’t it time to give ’em something different visually? Mixing up your honker spread not only breaks from the routine, but helps impart realism to the rig, as well as instilling confidence in ultra-wary geese that have likely been hunted since early September. These birds are masters in distinguishing natural from not, so why not twist it up a bit?
Crows are incredibly intelligent. Period. And other birds know this, so crows make perfect sense in a role as confidence booster. Not too many; you’re hunting geese here, not crows. Three to six is plenty. Set them together at the edge of the spread, heads pointed randomly. If there’s a fencepost nearby, put a sentry on top to bolster the overall natural look of the rig.
One to three snows in an all-Canada spread is akin to a Styrofoam cup in a coal bin. A trio of whites accomplishes two things: One, they help set a rig apart from all the other dark goose rigs in the immediate vicinity. Two, they create a dramatic increase in visibility.
Clump the whites together in the middle of the spread for a natural look. And don’t worry if there aren’t normally snows around. Birds are always getting blown off traditional courses, and migrating Canada geese see plenty of snows.
Herons or sandhill cranes
A single great blue heron decoy or a pair of sandhill cranes set off to one side of a Canada geese spread screams safety to incoming geese. Relatively shy and extremely wary creatures, herons and cranes have extraordinary eyesight and a noticeably elevated point of view; other species, geese included, know to take advantage of these defense mechanisms.
Flocks of pigeons on the ground mean only one thing — FOOD! — and other birds take heed. Rock doves are also notoriously skittish and constantly on watch for predators, avian and terrestrial; thus, their presence broadcasts both nutrition and security.
Set ten full-bodies balled up tight, with a couple stragglers walking into the feed. When put right off the layout blind, these will not only project confidence, but should also pull any passing pigeons close enough for a poke. And pigeons eat pretty darn well.