Ron Hustvedt

Ron Hustvedt is an outdoors writer and photographer who covers a broad array of experiences, individuals and events centered on hunting and fishing. He is also a professional educator. Please visit his website at

Don't overlook these details during your September goose hunt

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: August 25, 2014 - 10:00 PM


Hunting the early goose season is not as complicated as brain surgery but it is definitely tougher than some hunters make it sound. There are a lot of young birds in the sky for the first time with hunters around, but they are flanked by wise old geese who have survived many seasons.


            The devil is always in the details and early goose hunting is no different. Here are a few often overlooked details to consider when the season opens statewide on Saturday, September 6. Most of them might not make or break your early season, but they’ll definitely enhance it or help fix a persistent problem.

            Prevent short-stopping: It can happen anytime but it seems like early season geese are notorious for landing well ahead of your decoys making for a difficult shooting scenario.

            “Most hunters, myself included, use smaller spreads in the early season, but I think the biggest mistake hunters make is not spreading those decoys around enough for a good landing zone,” said Dave Tuttle, an avid early season waterfowler.

            Tuttle likes to use a U-shape for his decoy spread and nothing but his best looking full bodies. Not one to use more than 18 decoys during the early season, Tuttle said he’ll put one family group right by where he’s sitting but the rest go far away.



            Use realistic flyers: Flagging is a tried and true tactic, but as the birds close in you need to stop and invariably give yourself up to the geese. The “Goose
Tree” is a product that lets you have three flying decoys in the air that look like landing geese. Not only does it bring more visibility to your spread from the air, it also works so well that geese will land right behind the tree.

            “From the birds-eye perspective of a goose it’s a realistic looking set-up that draws them in tight so you can take up-close shots,” said Goose Tree creator Larry Juhl.

            Smart scouting: This wouldn’t be a goose article without talking about scouting but the key here is smart scouting. “Don’t just find the fields those birds are landing in, watch how they approach, see how they move once they land there, watch for other groups to join them,” Tuttle said.

             If you can mimic what’s naturally taking place each day you can vastly improve your success in that field.

            Watch the weather: Pay attention to the forecast regarding wind direction and intensity so you set up your spread properly and are aware of forecasted changing conditions.

            On a more personal note, pay attention to the forecasted temperature. Early season goose hunting can involve frost, but more often than not it involves sunburn and sweat. Dress accordingly, pack sunscreen and bug spray and keep yourself (and your dogs) hydrated.

            Put the sun at your back: Use it to help conceal yourself. Always play the wind, but position yourself so that you can utilize the sun to your advantage rather than the other way around.

            Look for water: Bryan “Beef” Sathre of Fathead Guide Service said he loves a field with water nearby for the geese to use as a loafing pond. “I’m not talking about the roost. I mean an honest to goodness pond or flooded portion of the field that the geese will feel comfortable utilizing. It’s amazing how much more productive fields are with some water,” he said.

            Be sure to take along a few floating decoys and place them in the water for added confidence. Even if you aren’t hunting the edge of the pond, a few “loafing” birds will give incoming geese a total sense of security.

            Pack a cooler: Keep water in it for the hunt but then be ready to put your field-dressed birds inside later on. Much like you use a cooler for transporting fish in the summer, consider a cooler for your goose meat.

            “So often guys are used to putting their daily bag in the back of the truck and driving home. If you have a long drive, your meat will lose its freshness and possibly even spoil,” Sathre said.

            Concealment is critical: Some hunters dress casually in the early season but Tuttle always holds true to his finest warm weather camouflage clothing.


            This is true of your hunting blind as well. That new blind looks pretty but its an eyesore from the sky. Be sure to properly mud it to get rid of the glare. Be sure to also use as much surrounding natural vegetation as possible to hide that blind.



            Practice makes perfect: This means: getting your calling skills back to true form ahead of time; making sure your gun is clean; putting several boxes of shells through it before your hunt; and, review your checklist. 

            It’s probably been at least several months since you last hunted so take the time to make sure everything is ready to go. In a lot of cases, it’s better to stay home that opening weekend than hit the field and becoming frustrated.

            Hold the roost sacred: Shooting the roost ruins your hunt, not to mention the hunt of many others in your area.

            Check the checklist: If you don’t have a checklist then its time to make one. A truly effective checklist takes time to create and perfect so plan on starting this season. Include such things as visiting the sporting clays range, cleaning your gun and practicing your calling besides just gear essentials.

            Get a notebook: Keep detailed records of your hunt and its very interesting the trends you’ll notice over the years. Details like date, location, hunters, weather conditions, the birds you saw, the birds you shot, how they came in, and a sketch of the spread you use—having all that information will let you analyze your hunts and become a better waterfowler.   



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Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia 3 Bottom 8th Inning
Oakland 0
Toronto 5 Top 8th Inning
NY Yankees 2
Arizona 1 Bottom 8th Inning
Colorado 5
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
Utah 26 Delayed 7:51
Michigan 10
Louisville 28 3rd Qtr
North Carolina 27 3rd Qtr 2:35
East Carolina 49
Army 21 4th Qtr 0:58
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 19 4th Qtr 9:48
(21) BYU 34
(6) Texas A&M 58 4th Qtr 4:01
Rutgers 31 4th Qtr 5:26
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 4th Qtr 12:22
Kansas 17
Florida 21 4th Qtr 14:47
(3) Alabama 35
San Jose St 7 Delayed 11:38
Minnesota 17
Texas State 14 Delayed 13:35
Illinois 6
Fla Atlantic 19 4th Qtr 8:14
Wyoming 17
Indiana 17 3rd Qtr 1:17
(18) Missouri 17
Massachusetts 7 4th Qtr 11:59
Penn State 48
Georgia State 0 2nd Qtr
Washington 0
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 2nd Half 44:55
Portland 1
Houston 6:00 PM
New England 6:30 PM
San Jose 6:30 PM
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
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