When I picture myself goose hunting I think of being tucked down in a layout blind covered in corn stubble with my hoodie blocking the crisp, northern wind as it blows over my shoulder. So far this season, however, I’ve found myself sitting in standing corn along a cut field using the towering stalks as cover. This is not an ideal scenario, but we don’t always get to choose our hunting landscape.
Where I hunt, much of the early-season corn is chopped for silage at the dairy farms and farmers are quick to replant with winter wheat. Without any cover on the ground, and being told not to drive in the fields, I have been forced to hike in and take cover among the leftover stalks.
I’ve learned a lot from hunting in standing corn so far this season. For starters, corn stalks offer a great hide for hunters who can’t sit still or refrain from peeking out of their blinds at all the wrong times. But primarily I’ve learned how to set my decoys in order to provide the best possible shooting for my buddies and me.
At first, the geese were landing before they got to our dekes, which is fine if you’re sitting in a blind among them. Canadas often refuse to fly over and land on the other side of a tight spread, so I started spreading out my decoys in order to bring the small bunches within closer range. Spreading out the decoys creates lanes and landing space.
Also, while working flocks we’ve been presented with passing shots at close range when the birds make their swing over the corn. Realizing that we didn’t have to shoot them only when they got into decoys has improved our success rate immensely.
Don’t force a bad hand. Instead, take advantage of a good hide, embrace change, and learn from every flock–both the ones that work and the ones that flip you the bird.