Thursday, January 26th, 2023
Thursday, January 26th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Canada geese season has reopened in Pennsylvania and first-timers have a great chance to get in the game

Ron SteffeJust the other day, I was laying in the middle of a large, corn stubble-flattened field, securely hidden in a portable blind. Beside me a couple of friends were hiding in their own blinds, the three of us surrounded by nearly a hundred Canada goose decoys.
 
Subjects varied as we talked back and forth, but when geese appeared on the horizon, we quickly changed the talk to that of Canada goose-speak.
 
There were seven birds coming, and close to them, another eight. They were high in flight — often a clue they would pass us by — but these showed interest as they stopped the beating of their wings and glided above.
 
The two small flocks joined, and began a slow decent. For myself, this is by far the most exhilarating manner in which you may have geese approach your setup. Just to watch them lose altitude, dropping in small tight circles, makes my heart race. It certainly beats low-flying flocks that decoy quickly.
 
This particular morning, it took some time and prolonged pleading, but finally the birds came close enough that we took six.
 
Across Pennsylvania, the biggest chunk of the season for Canada goose hunting is here. It is great sport, and rivals any other form of hunting in terms of excitement and action.
 
For those considering hunting this huge fowl, here are a few tips:
 
— 1. You’ll need a place to hunt. Areas with a big expanse of harvested grain fields are prime areas, and farmers are usually willing to let hunters chase geese. Scouting and securing permission comes first. Hunting water is a choice, but if it is a nightly refuge for birds, leave it alone.
 
— 2. Decoys are expensive, especially the full-bodied ones, so a couple of dozen to start is fine. Blinds are great, but costly too. For starters, covering yourself with the waste of a grain field, or hiding in a brushy fence row near the decoys will suffice.
 
— 3. Calling certainly helps, but you need to know what you’re doing. Tapes that come with calls are a great teaching tool, and it’s important to practice.
 
— 4. These are big birds, so shooting shells at a minimum of 3 inches long is wise, and 31/2-inches is better yet. Size 2 shot to BB works best. Ultimately, getting the birds as close as possible is best. Shooting at birds out of range is the worst choice.
 
— 5. If you know or meet someone who has experience at goose hunting, ask them to tag along on your hunt, or, if you could tag along with that person on one of their hunts would be good. Most are willing, and you can’t beat a knowledgeable teacher.
 
There is no shortage of Canada geese in this state, and if you learn to hunt them just right, you could easily become as hooked as I at hunting “honkers.”

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