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Hunting warm-weather geese takes preparation

When it's cold, Canada geese key on corn, beans and other high-protein crops.

But, during a warm spell, they shift to winter wheat or green shoots in fallow fields or plowed grainfields with loe stubble.

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In cold weather or warm, you need to scout extensively to find out where the geese are feeding. I have found that it takes a day or two of warm weather for the birds to shift from hot food to green forage. As soon as you notice this change, experienced hunters move their hunting setup.

Geese also like to feed in different locations within a field based on weather conditions.

When it's warm, honkers spread out more when feeding. They don't pack together in a large concentration. Instead, they'll fan out across a field in many small family groups.

Also, geese will usually be standing and walking around rather than sitting on the ground, as they do in cold weather. And, when new geese are coming in, they will usually land short or outside of the birds already on the ground.

During most of the warm weather goose hunting I have done, I use mostly full-body decoys, and I'll put out 30 to 40 decoys around the layout blinds with plenty of space between them.

Also, I recommend that you set other groups of six to ten decoys to the side (but not out of range) and upwind of the big group. I like to leave a large open "pocket 9about 15 yards across) just downwind of the blinds.

In my experiences, geese don't feed as aggressively in warm weather, and suvtle calling works better than aggressive calling. If geese are coming into my spread, I don't call very much.

I'll finesse the birds with some low murmurs, moans, and subtle clucks. But I stay away from loud calling. Sometims a little calling works best.

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Flagging and motion decoys can often pull in the less aggressive birds to your spread.

When flagging, try to emulate birds that are stretching their wings.

Another good strategy for hunting warm weather geese is to set up on what I call "loafing water."

Canada geese will spend the night on their roost site and then fly out to feed in the morning. After they feed awhile, they'll move on to a loafing spot to get a drink and to rest.

This might be a pond, a wetland or a flooded section of pasture. The birds will spend most of the midday and afternoon there before returning to the field to feed again late in the afternoon. Then they'll go back to the roost pond just before dark.

You can find these loafing places by following geese after they leave their feeding field in the morning. I hunt these spots by placing layout blinds right at the edge of the water.

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I set a couple dozen full-bodies on the shore around the blinds and a few floaters in the water. And, I call very little in this situation. I'm exactly where the geese want to be, so I just let them come to the decoys on their own.

Slow hunting on early doves this fall

Reports are reaching me of slow dove hunting throughout the area during this "early season."

I blame it on the couple of very cool days that hit our area just before the start of the hunt.

It's my theory that this cold front pushed a lot of doves out of the region and sent them further south.

I listened intently from my front porch for shots in the nearby fields, but have heard nothing. Nor have I been seeing any doves flying around.

This tells me that they just aren't here. As noted above and in a previous column on wram weather duck hunting, weather plays a huge roll on the success or failure of hunting.

Lonny Weaver is a Times outdoors writer. His column appears every other Sunday. Reach him at 410-857-7896 or sports@carrollcountytimes.com.

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