Early Goose Hunting Season Tactics: Short Grass equals short mornings
The transition from August into September marks a significant shift in the mindset of Ohio sportsmen. The perception of hunting season being months away has now vanished, and the reality of a fast approaching deer season and all of the preparation that it entails is beginning to settle in. Adding to this cyclical anticipation is Ohio’s special early goose season. This short season has been very popular with hunters throughout our state since inception, and why wouldn’t it be? Early goose season is a great opportunity to get back into the field and do some shooting while it is still technically summer time, even if it is only a special limited season.
But, do not try your December goose tactics on Labor Day, because you will likely end up lost in a seven foot corn field. Hunting geese in early September requires a completely different game plan than late season hunts. Resident geese can more likely be found in your backyard than a corn field during the first couple weeks of September. Large fields of freshly cut grass are dynamite for attracting resident geese this time of year. But, like any other time, scouting is very important if you want to have a successful hunt. For the most part, geese know where they are heading when they leave the roost, and you have to have a pretty convincing spread to make them change their minds. It makes things much easier if you just hunt in the field where they want to go.
When the temperature is above normal, geese will not fly very far from the water to the fields; the key to success is finding a short-grass field that is close to a roosting area. The problem is that most resident geese hang out in school yards and golf courses during the summer months. If you do your homework though, you will find that fresh-cut hay field that will give you the opportunity to limit out your party. All it takes is some driving around to find them, and once you do, farmers are usually pretty receptive to offers to eradicate them.
Another element of early goose season that is not compatible with your late-season tactics is concealment. A brown camouflage layout blind in the middle of a summer hay field will not fool the keen overhead-eyes of the Canadian goose. It is important to modify your camouflage with vegetation taken from around your set. Find an area close by to harvest some bunches of tall grass and use it to cover yourself and blend in with the green landscape. If possible, place your spread in a location that allows you to lay in an area of taller vegetation shooting into the short grass. This will allow you to more effectively conceal yourself using the surrounding growth.
Even though it only lasts for two short weeks, early goose season is a great opportunity to get out, do some shooting, and have some fun before the labors of bow season begin. Like any other game animal, you are not likely to have a successful hunt without doing your homework, but the excitement of that big flock of geese committing to your set will make those efforts worthwhile. Hunting geese in September is quite a bit different than how it is done in December, but finding the right field at the right time will make for short mornings and full bag limits.