Goose hunting: properly equipped for their journey back north

Goose hunting: properly equipped for their journey back north

Whether in boots or walked-up hunting, in a hut, a hide, or a blind, or even driven or by pond raising, waterfowl are a passion for many waterfowlers in France. Mallard, pintail, whistling duck, scaup, gadwall, teal; the very mention of the names of these birds and ducks brings a sparkle to the eyes of enthusiasts. Yet if there is one species that crystallises the passions, it is undoubtedly the goose! How should you equip yourself properly to hunt them? This is the question to which we will endeavour to provide some answers.

Goose hunting: properly equipped for their journey back north

The goose: a majestic bird in the eyes of every waterfowler

The goose is undoubtedly the waterfowler's Holy Grail. This anatidae, one of the largest, if not the largest of our huntable birds, commands respect. Ask any waterfowl hunting nemrod about their hunting dream, and they will most certainly mention the success of taking this particular species. The reason is very clear: its rarity in our game bags makes it an invaluable catch.

In France, three game geese species can be singled out: the muscovy goose, the white-fronted goose and the greylag goose. Even if the first two are often reluctant to travel over the Loire, most greylag geese fly across our country in autumn to their wintering grounds further south. And where there is passage, there is also return. Generally, the first pre-breeding flights start at the beginning of February, or even at the end of January for the earliest birds. It is not uncommon to hear them flying past noisily, day and night, in the skies over our countryside.

Goose hunting: properly equipped for their journey back north

The subject of goose hunting in february

However, season after season, goose hunting becomes a thorny issue after the festive season has ended. The issue of the closing date is often the subject of heated debate. Rest assured, we will not be reporting on this in this article, although we feel it is important to point out that white-fronted and harvest geese can be hunted until 10 February, whereas the shooting of greylag geese is the subject of a draft decree aimed at authorising their hunting until 28 February*.

At the time of writing, nothing has yet been decided. The public consultation on this derogation has not led to any outcome. Will we have to put our guns away at a time when February is certainly the best month for goose hunting? No one knows. In any case, the first signs of a drop in temperature are indeed very real. For the past few days, the mercury has been hovering close to zero in the morning. It is not unusual for frost to blanket the landscape in many areas. Here and there, on social networks in particular, some hutters and waterfowlers mentioned a few passages returning: the real return of the geese will soon be here, especially with the arrival of the cold.

Update of 31/01/19: the February goose hunting decree is published! Thus, it will be possible to hunt white-fronted and harvest geese from 1 to 10 February, and greylag geese from 1 to 28 February, with a maximum quota of 4000 birds. These hunts must be reported on the "chassadapt" application.

Goose hunting: properly equipped for their journey back north

Why prefer clothing and accessories adapted to waterfowl hunting?

Even if hunting practices in France may vary, the way in which one sets up a place in a wetland is similar to the way in which others do. Thus, to attract geese heading north at the end of January and the beginning of February, whether from a hut, a hide, or a blind, the hunter sets up their installation by placing live and fake decoys on the water. The wait for the hunter then begins, well camouflaged in one's semi-underground construction or simply placed on the water.

At this time of year, it is advisable to dress warmly. Waterfowl hunting enthusiasts, whether in marshes, lakes, ponds, or on the coast, are often confronted with harsh weather conditions. Regardless of the rain, wind, or cold, they are able to enjoy their passion regardless of the weather conditions. So, to make the most of these remaining hunting moments while enjoying good protection, remember to equip yourself with warm trousers, a warm jacket or even waders, as well as a hat to cover your head.

The bird call: a valuable accessory for the waterfowler

Excitement and adrenaline rushes through a waterfowler's veins as soon as the first flights are spotted and heard in the distance. At that moment, the use of a bird call to attract geese is essential. Designed to imitate the call of the greylag goose to perfection, the acrylic bird call is an essential accessory to maximise your chances of getting them to land. When properly executed, the call is a great help in bringing game into your hunting area.

Nevertheless, if you don't know how to choose it or have no idea of the basic techniques to use it properly, we have you covered. We suggest you take a look at this video.

That's it. You now have at your disposal most of the information you need to hunt geese. Long hours of watching and waiting are ahead of you, both day and night. The entire Solognac team wishes you a successful end to the season! We have no doubt that you will be ready to face a truly freezing cold moment.