By Bob Humphrey
The dog days of summer are here, when humid, stagnant air saps our energy and pushes most folks indoors. But early hunting seasons for resident Canada geese in many states start before the first breath of cool, dry air arrives on northwesterly breezes. If you want to be prepared, now is the time to scout.
Routines - Resident geese tend to follow very regular routines, making them fairly easy to pattern. Plan several outings during different times of the day and look for four general activity areas.
Feeding - Shortly after sun-up, geese will arrive on their morning feeding areas. They could be crop fields, golf courses, parks or any place they’re not disturbed. Some places are un-huntable, but it never hurts to ask. Geese can cause a lot of damage and in some cases create an environmental hazard. Golf course supers and park managers are often amenable to hunters helping to rid the area of these pests. Don’t be afraid to get back off the beaten path to more remote locations either as the more obvious ones may be crowded come opening day.
Loafing - After the morning feed, the geese may move off to a different area where they’ll loaf during the midday hours before their afternoon feed. It’s often a nearby pond, lake or reservoir, park or golf course. Fewer folks scout or hunt these areas and you don’t have to rise before dawn to take advantage of them when the season rolls around.
Flight Paths - If you can’t set up on feeding or loafing areas, you may be able to intercept the geese coming or going. Here again, look for routines as they’ll typically follow the same route on a daily basis.
Roosting - Geese usually spend the night on larger bodies of water where they feel more secure. These can be a good place for a water set, though the action is usually very quick as the geese leave shortly after daylight and don’t return until late, sometimes after legal shooting hours.
In any case, early season goose hunting can be very ephemeral. You’re typically hunting smaller flocks, often family groups and it won’t take much to throw them off their routine. If you do you’re scouting carefully and early, it will be you rather than the other guys taking advantage of the early action.