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Best Attention Getting Method

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  • Best Attention Getting Method

    I've been stewing on this because I'm always looking to simplify, and because some tactics may cause compromise in other areas. For example having a bunch of motion decoys may get long distance attention but prevent birds from finishing (on certain days).

    What do you guys think is the best attention grabbing method you can use for snow geese and do you employ them?

    The options seem to be:
    - Large spread size, mass of white
    - Motion decoys, and maybe lots of them or extreme versions (kites and high flyers) to get farther attention
    - Blast the e-caller, turn it down when birds start to work
    - Do nothing, maybe you're content with what you have and take what you can get, especially if you think the methods have too many downsides to accept

    I've waterfowl hunted a long time and know that not every flock of honkers you flag and call will turn, nor will every group of ducks you highball at or employ mojos for (no mojos for me though LOL). But enough do that wouldn't have otherwise, so are the efforts worth it? I've always leaned towards trying to pull as many as I can.

    So I'm asking about long range low flocks way out on the horizon, or nosebleed migrators. Birds that are on the edge or beyond seeing/hearing you and continuing on if you didn't do anything special to grab attention. And maybe the same tactics apply but methods are different for medium range birds that you know see/hear you, but may pass without more convincing.

    My confidence and use of flyers and rotaries has declined, but I still use a flyer on a long pole as a flag and see benefit. I believe I've clearly seen it turn birds numerous times. However, it is then laying on the ground for finishing birds. Doesn't seem a big deal if hiding among decoys packed pretty tight (my usual). But if trying to hide outside the decoys, which I've been pondering more from the other threads, the flag may be laying out there alone or I have to put a few decoys closer to lay it by (compromise?).

    I will also blast the call and point a horn speaker at them, and turn it off or down pretty low when they're working. I also feel I've clearly seen this turn distant birds numerous times. I don't feel this one has as much downside to finishing birds if I hide the system well since I can "remove" the method. The downside is the extra tasks of adjusting volume and grabbing a speaker if I choose. And for me it equals an extra ecaller, since I prefer low volume single bark tracks to finish birds, and those aren't the tracks good for blasting the airwaves. I already have to adjust volume if I do this, so adding track switching and volume changes is moving back into the risk and hassle category.

    I'm weighing the trades of giving up either of these or changing the way I do them, to simplify and get more close range birds to finish. In some areas we hunt the flight paths aren't consistent and some days most of the flocks are out on the horizon, so I feel I still want something. But maybe I shouldn't hold so tight to it.
    Last edited by jolle; 01-24-2020, 12:18 PM.

  • #2
    I’ll give it a stab with my humble & limited experience. My opinion is they will always see you before the hear you. With that in mind, I would suggest presenting a large looking spread, not necessarily with shear numbers, but with spacing. Following that, some good sounds. The motion stuff last.

    A prayer 🙏 or two to the goose gods may also help.


    • whitey11
      whitey11 commented
      Editing a comment
      I always ask the question does 1000 decoys spread loosely across a field have the draw power of 1000 that are packed in more tightly?

    • jolle
      jolle commented
      Editing a comment
      I feel from up high yes vision wins, but low along the horizon maybe not, although it would be interesting to have more spread and flock photos at low angle from a long way off.

  • #3
    I have serious....ummmmm pole envy, I guess, of the homemade flagging poles that Cornstalks built.

    I think a coupled of guys on flags gives you the draw of a rotary but you are able to vary it and control the presentation.


    • Cornstalks
      Cornstalks commented
      Editing a comment
      Ha ha ha..I guess I know of a late Christmas present you'd like!
      I'm quite certain I've turned flocks sliding off at 150 yds with them. Helps if there are multiple guys doing it. The only thing I don't like about it is it focuses them directly on you. If the hide is so so they'll come back and confirm at 80 yds they still don't like you.

  • #4
    All capable of being the best option given the conditions of the specific day. But I'll go for door number three and make the case for sound. I remember when the conservation season first started. We were hunting predominantly migrating birds. We kept the Johnny Stewart caller off until we saw or heard something. I remember so many instances of flocks being so far off to the the side, or so high passing over the top that we didn't hear them until they would be straight up and going on north. We would hit that call and even though they would have been passing us by, they would change course back to us. It always stuck with me that sound was the most important. And now days, it seems to me our best decoying days for migrating snows is gentle winds. Give me 10 -15 from any direction and I am going to be optimistic. Those days that I can hear THEM best are typically our best days. I always at least partially attributed that to them hearing us better.


    • #5
      I'd lean towards sight being the most important item to improve on in a decoy spread so would say making a decoy spread look larger or increasing your numbers of decoys would be more beneficial than saying getting a higher power e-caller.

      In a windy situation, if birds are approaching from upwind, I'd venture to guess they aren't hearing the sound and see the blob of white before that sound. We've also all witnessed flocks of snow geese go into a spread that has no e-caller going as well so I just believe sight is more important than sound.


      • fox and goose
        fox and goose commented
        Editing a comment
        I am sure all of us have come up to our "permanent" spread early in the morning and find live birds amongst their friends. No ecaller, no flags, very little wind moving their friends, so what caused them to stop over for the night?

    • #6
      For what I consider long range attraction, I personally believe motion is a non factor. I've glassed a lot of spreads and am surprised at how little distance motion decoys show within a spread. They are just swallowed up in the mass of white. If you look from a little elevation, it's even more so. I would put location #1 and spread size #2.
      To whitey11's thought about 1000 spread out compared to 1000 packed tight, I think the 1000 spread out does have a bit more long range draw but may work against you when they close in. Kind of the let down factor like when that hot body in the tight jeans tutns around at Walmart. You wouldn't have judged her face nearly as harshly 30 ft earlier in the isle.


      • Qac
        Qac commented
        Editing a comment
        I agree with TH, location makes a huge difference. If your trafficking birds they will decoy better 300 miles from a layover point then 30 miles from said point. Seen it happen, early morning geese pass over and wont even tip a wing. Noon to 2 pm they work and work faster to get down. I am not as convinced on the size aspect for a decoy spread on these birds. I have had success with big spreads and small. I would say it depends on the timing of the migration more. Leading edge birds push hard and after a long haul, location is key. They want water and food so if they can get it in one spot(sheet water corn) that's on the edge of the snow line then bingo you are in business. Good luck getting into such a place without killing yourself in the process. Mid migration birds are sometimes more willing to look at a spot but can still be a challenge. Food and having close water in or nearby would be key. Late season juvies, well, we all look and hope for them and they can be talked into a good looking spot with more or less decoys just as long as they don't see you.

        If your targeting feeding birds its more about the X as we have all seen it does not matter if your just off the flight line. Follow the leader is a killer as all birds head one direction. I do think birds in the air can see a tremendous distance and key in on the swirling mass at the X field or the blob already on the ground.


    • #7
      we hunt in an area with large numbers of birds.sometimes with littererly millions within 30 miles of us.first flight of the morning may be 5 miles long and 10 thousand birds.we have 6ft x6ft sheets of Tyvek on pvc on one side white on the other.we wear white Tyvek suites.geese mabe 4 or 5 miles away and just little line on the horizon and we will get out of the blind and start supper flaggin.we do this till they are within a mile.then we work our way back to the blind and close up the covers.bad dog