Traditional goose hunting happens on cold winter days with massive spreads of decoys, tons of preparation, and the necessity for great calling skills. Early season is just the opposite. Many farm, ranch, and small-plot owners welcome goose hunters because the birds multiply prolifically, eat crops, and make a mess of any location in which they loiter. One dairy farmer, when asked permission to hunt, had this quick reply: “You can hunt under one condition… kill them all.” The weather for early season geese is often warm, birds are relatively uneducated, limits are among the highest in waterfowling, and only a modest number of decoys are needed. Eric Mathes reveals his five tips for early goose season success in this post from Outdoor Life:

Howard 4 090When the early season begins in my home state of Wisconsin, it seems as if half the hunters in the state are trying to get in on the action, resulting in ultra-wary, educated geese. Outsmarting them, no matter where you hunt, takes adaptability and a healthy dose of imagination. Here are five tricks to keep in your back pocket this season to help you come out ahead of the honkers.

1. Get Real: Don’t let those dead-wind days slow you down. DSC_0008(1)Get creative to keep your spread looking real. Start with a simple jerk string. Use it to make natural, subtle movement in your spread when the wind lies down. Three or four decoys hooked up to a good jerk rig is enough to light up any spread with movement and keeps the water from being still and flat. Don’t be too aggressive—remember, you want it to look real.

2. Forget Fields: Typically during the early season, heavy pressure will make geese wary and hard to hunt in fields…