Hunting in Canada involves some tips along with some rules. If you go further down the scale in hunting, and their decline in numbers can be blamed on this to some degree, along with bad weather on breeding grounds and, in some cases, unlimited hunting by native Americans guaranteed by law under ancient treaties.
Hunting geese in the United States today is mostly a matter, as indicated earlier, of hunting the areas around refuges. Although each refuge along the major flyways has areas open to hunting, most of the geese taken are probably taken on private land bordering the refuges.
Hunting in Canada for Traveler
These lands, and the methods used to hunt them, are directly linked to the refuges. I’ll bet that for every five geese shot this past season in the United States, three of them woke up the day they died within the sanctuary of a refuge.
Goose shooting is, today, typically a field-shooting affair, or it’s pass shooting. Let’s take a look.
Not too long ago both geese and hunters of geese did their thing on water, like ducks and duck hunters. But, these birds quickly adapted to the ways of the mechanical harvesting machine. Like ducks on the prairies, they have become grazers and feeders on waste grain left behind by the picking machines.
Pass shooting and field shooting are closely related to one another. Here’s how …
The sun comes up. Being somewhat of a lazy gent, the goose doesn’t get up with the chickens. He will usually wait an hour or two until things warm up a bit. The birds start talking to each other, and the din before liftoff can be deafening—partly from the sound of adrenaline-surged blood being pumped through your ear canals.
The birds rise in great waves off the refuge, circle upward to a hundred yards or so, and then pass over the boundaries of the refuge on their way to the outlying fields to feed. By the time the season is open even a week, the birds have probably cleaned out the feed in the refuge and must go off-site to fill up. It is when they fly over the “firing line’’ that they can be vulnerable to the pass shooter.
A number of factors given in this website can make the geese pass low over the firing line, and these will be discussed in the chapter on weather patterns. Suffice it to say right now that miserable weather makes the birds stay closer to earth and puts them in range of the guns.
Birds Survival in Canada
The birds that survive the pass over the firing line—probably most of them—make their way to the fields to feed. The birds start with the fields closest to the refuge, naturally, and gradually move farther and farther away as feed in these nearby fields is exhausted.
Getting onto such fields to hunt is usually a matter of coin of the realm, as the owners of the land have come to regard waterfowl as a well-paying cash crop. Junior can go to Harvard with the money Pop gets from leasing his prime fields.
The birds drop in to the areas to feed, and it is here that some skill is required. Getting a blind prepared for goose hunting is much like the espionage business; it’s carried on under cover of darkness, or at least when the enemy isn’t looking.
Last Few Words
The pit blind—an actual hole in the ground—is the most common arrangement. With natural cover such as cornstalks to shield you, and a good spread of decoys, you’re probably in business if the birds want to use your field. Setting up in a field that the birds have cleaned out does little good; they know before they even leave the refuge that your field is like the cupboard of the good widow Hubbard, and will pass you by.