For quicker, cleaner kills on early-season honkers, take a page from the wild turkey playbook. Like geese, turkeys are large, heavily feathered birds, so downing them with body shots is difficult, and can detract from the dinner-table result. Spring gobblers are usually standing still when a hunter aims at the head-and-neck region, preferably with a number-six package delivering a dense pattern. One pellet in the neck or head and the bird is toast… and mashed potatoes and gravy.

6503063233_5f78c01986_z[1]Waterfowl present a different situation. You’ll need to fight your instincts for the best results. A goose or duck’s wings will be moving, which naturally draws attention to that part of the body. It’s also the largest target and, as you lead a bird, you’ll naturally lead what your eye is focused on — the body. Instead, focus on the head of the bird and lead the head so that your shot pattern targets the most vulnerable portion of the bird — the cranium and spine. This sounds simple, but you must mentally control the shot process until it becomes a habit. Then there will be many goose dinners in your future.