Local goose hunting better than expected
For many seasons now it seemed as though the annual goose migration south just bypassed our area all together in favor of destinations with much more ample food sources. The coastal prairie near Eagle Lake, Katy, El Campo and others has long been the mecca for folks who really wanted to do some first class goose hunting thanks to all the rice production that takes place in these areas. As the agricultural down turn in our part of the world took place the geese just adapted and moved on to literally “greener pastures.” Well that has changed in the past season or two and now it appears that the geese are changing as well. A short ride down IH-10 or Highway 90 east will prove the point, there is rice planted everywhere and there are also plenty of geese. I have spent the majority of this season hunting both Jefferson and Liberty counties for both ducks and geese and the season has been above average. Easily for me the best part has been the abundance of geese, both dark and light. Earlier in the season we had good numbers of snows and specklebellies in the area and gradually they moved out for a few weeks only to return with even greater numbers. The snow goose population in Jefferson, Liberty and Chambers counties is huge right now and many hunters are taking advantage of that fact.
This past week the geese in these areas appear to have gotten back on a diet of rice and left the plowed fields in search of food with a better “fuel value” as they begin to bulk up and prepare for the flight back north. Rice fields with good stubble and green fields with fresh grass will be the hot ticket for hunters hoping to cash in as the season winds down. If you can access some of these areas and get a little help from the weather man the hunting can be out of this world. The successive fronts that continue to come and go have provided goose hunters with some just absolutely perfect days to hunt, the biggest benefit being all the fog associated with days after the front when the weather warms back up. Fog and low clouds along with some wind are what great goose hunts are made of.
Now even with fog, low clouds, or drizzling rain goose hunters still need to be on top of their game in order to cash in on their opportunity. Good camo, proper decoy placement, and good calling are all needed to make these super wary birds commit to an area and work a decoy spread. Speaking of decoys I can’t tell you how big a believer I have become in both full body decoys and sillosocks. The full bodies are great to hunt with and they look as real as you can imagine but they are a pain to transport to the field. Hunters in places like the panhandle can drive a truck into their areas because they normally hunt dry fields, that’s not the case where we live so it’s tougher to use the full bodies. The best deal going in my opinion are the sillosocks, they are a spin off of the Texas rag decoy concept and they are awesome. The ease of putting the sillosock decoys out and picking them up is enough to sell you on them alone much less how well they work in the field. The sillosocks are basically made to look like a feeding goose. The head and neck are made of the same type of material you see yard signs made from and the body is made from a Tyvek bag. There is a small rigid wire that runs out from the nose of the decoy about 8 to 10 inches that supports the decoy when you stick it in the ground. The wire allows the decoy to turn when the wind shifts and that keeps you from having to change your spread in the middle of a hunt. Once you stick the wire in the ground the tyvek body will catch any wind and cause the decoy to bounce and look exactly like a goose with it’s head down feeding or walking, it’s amazing. I have shot a bunch of geese using these decoys and I have seen how birds react to them, since then I sold every Texas rag I own in favor of these decoys. I promise if you try them you will feel the same way, they are just too easy to use and they work. Check them out at www.sillosocks.com.
The forecast for the final week of duck season is on the upswing as many birds are actually staging in our area before they take off north again for another year. The numbers of ducks have increased in the last week or so but many hunters have put down their shotguns in favor of fishing rods for the time being and not taken advantage of the fact. The snow goose conservation season will kick off next week and with big numbers of birds here it may be a chance for many hunters to end the season on a high note. I know every chance I get from here on out will be taken because I dread those long months waiting for next year.