Those of us that obsess over the upcoming waterfowl season, know that early goose hunting is just around the corner. While we are out scouting, asking for hunting permission, or taking care of household chores to free up a couple weekends to hunt, we all need to be focusing on being prepared for the start of the season. I am going to cover a few topics that will hopefully get the wheels turning as we approach the transition from summer activities to hunting season.
First, and most importantly, making sure the gear we have is still in working order. Check your gun, make sure it still cycles as it’s supposed to, break it down and give it a good cleaning. Put on your waders and test them to make sure they didn’t acquire any holes from the late season ice you were plowing through to open up a small pocket of water. Shake the dust off of that goose call you haven’t blown since January. Give your blind bag a nice cleaning, make room for the clutter of the upcoming season. Getting everything out, making sure it’s in working order and clean will give you peace of mind heading into opening day, while giving you time to replace the items that need to be replaced.
Next, start thinking about the gear you wish you had the previous season. Summer is the perfect time to get the gear you still want, or need, before the prices go up during the season. If your feet couldn’t stay warm during the late season, find some insulated boot inserts or electronic heated insoles. Buy that warmer coat that you wished you had bought, or better camo pattern so you aren’t sticking out from the rest of the group. Decoys and layout blinds can still be found at decent prices, and if you’re a true waterfowl fanatic, you know there’s no such thing as “too many decoys”!
Finally, start studying the birds you are looking to target for the early season. Here in Northwest Ohio, our goose opener is also our early teal season, which gives us two vastly different species to be patterning. Scouting the marshes for numbers, finding roosts and loafing areas will help pin down those flight paths to better target these birds. Get permission for the land you want to hunt and start observing their behaviors, birds on neighboring properties, anything that will give you an edge to pull in those flocks of geese. Fields are just starting to be in full bloom, so the birds are beginning to learn where the food is. Making sure these birds are where you’re at that morning is absolutely crucial, and they’re likely to change their mind day to day, but doing your homework will help ensure the best possibility of a limit that morning.
Hopefully these topics help get you thinking about the upcoming season, and ultimately ready to get out there come September. In the upcoming articles, we will start discussing tactics and approaches to hunting these early season honkers, as well as the rest of the duck season, so stay tuned!