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Spreads for Canada in the Fall

Discussion in 'Snow Goose Hunting Forum' started by Honker Ace, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. Honker Ace

    Honker Ace Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    190
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2016
    Tapping into the 'Fuge knowledge bank here and guys who successfully chase snows in Canada every fall - what do you typically run for a spread and how many?

    Getting ready to make a return trip (and hopefully the start of an annual trip) to Sask in two years and looking to build up the needed spread. The first time we went things were OK for being a first time trip, not spectacular but didn't expect limits every day, knew we were going to get some learning in - one thing I noticed though was we definitely lacked decoys, particularly compared to some other groups we saw.

    I'm leaning towards a mix of full bodies and socks, however there are space and hauling constraints to think about in the event a field cannot be driven into and I'm wondering how you guys take that into consideration. Obviously they are dumber and typically require less in Sask, still want to make sure we are better prepared for this next trip though.
     
  2. Native NV Ducker

    Native NV Ducker Mod-Duck Hunters Forum, Classifieds, and 2 others Moderator

    Messages:
    21,268
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sula, MT
    My experience (FWIW- I don't specifically target snows up there)

    Location is more important than the set. Be where they want to be (or, at least, where they wanted to be last night)

    I target dark geese, but there are plenty of snows around. My set is usually 5 doz RG silos, maybe a doz (or 2) shells. Those are set where I want the darks to land. I then run 3 doz socks, with 3 flyers, off to the side or behind me. The two sets merge a little, which is what I see in the fields.

    Again, I am targeting darks, but there have been times I have gotten quick dark limits, and started shooting snows. They seem to work just fine into the entire set. Sometimes into the RG, sometimes into the socks.

    IF I were to target snows (and there are lots of guys here who know more about snows than me) I would bring LOTS of socks. 10 doz or more, with 1/3 being headed, and 6-10 flyers. I would also mix in 5 doz Big Al's silos, to increase the density of the set. Often times, the birds really pack in tight, unlike here in the States, where they seem to spread out more.

    One guy could probably carry that set on a cart. Might need two trips. Two guys could certainly carry that. (I always think in terms of one guy, since my last two trips have been alone) You can also get away with no layout, and my current thinking with Canada fields is often (peas, especially) very bare. Go with an incline board for you back, and a camo cover over you. Trust me, in a bare pea field, layouts really stand out, no matter how hard you try to brush them up. BRING the layouts, as you may run into conditions where you CAN use them easily, but prepare for the worst.

    I say 'carry them on a cart' because you can never plan on being able to drive in. That has been my experience the last two trips. You might be able to plan better the month before you leave.

    Remember, assuming everything goes right, you are on the X. Not like pulling traffic. They WANT to be there. You just need enough dekes to convince them they are going to the right spot.

    I have this theory. One flock HAS to be the first one there. Since you set up in the dark, YOU are the first flock. That works for the early birds. As the morning wears on, and birds are all over the horizon, numbers become more important. Now you are drawing against other fields with birds on them. That is where the flyers come into play. Makes the field come alive.

    All of the above is based on my experience, NOT targeting snows. If I get 10 snows, and my limit of darks, I am happy. I am not a numbers guy, I don't need 100 snows in the back of the truck. Last time I hunted with a buddy, we had a light fog, and the shooting was incredible. We came out with our darks, and about 30 snows. THAT was using a field that the day before was mostly darks. If you target fields with mostly snows, it should be easier.
     
  3. Honker Ace

    Honker Ace Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
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    Jul 4, 2016
    Thanks...We can shoot a bunch of dark geese as it is where we live, so the excitement just isn't there for us going after those. Familiar with being on the "X", we consistently chase it here and live for those magical hunts where geese would have dropped for 2 decoys the same as 200. Ducks are always a great fall back option out there but we shoot a lot less ducks so those were our back up hunts and we did very well. Likely a group of four when we go, I'd just stuff the trailer to the brim with decoys if it were up to me but there are actual physical limitations and other things that need to go in too, obviously.

    Plenty of gear for field hunting - layouts, dark goose and duck decoys, etc. Looking to just get an idea of the average spread others are successfully deploying on a regular basis and go from there, including mixes of full bodies/socks, etc. I had numbers in my head but curious to hear from others first.
     
  4. KID CREOLE

    KID CREOLE Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
    2,514
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2002
    Location:
    San Pedro, Ca.
    Although we have not hunted Canada for snows the last two years we will always use FBs first.

    We have shot plenty of snows in Canada, not being on the X. Example, afternoon shoot, snows getting off of the roost flying west to feed in a strong south wind. The field they were feeding in was too close to a hiway and too small. We set up just to the north of them and every time a little bunch got up off the feed we screamed at them with our hand calls. Little groups cruised over hooked around right over the spread 10 yds high

    We shot quick limits

    Make your own X
     
  5. mrmallerd

    mrmallerd Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
    7,113
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Location:
    southern illinois
    We do not pull a trailer. Everything is packed in a 6.5 ft pickup bed under a camper shell. We run about 150 socks per hunter. The socks fit in two bags carried on a cargo carrier. That leaves us room for dark goose decoys, blinds, ghillie blankets, food, drinks, & other misc in the camper shell.
     
  6. Honker Ace

    Honker Ace Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2016
    With four guys and potentially a dog, a camper shell and cargo carrier just don't make sense for us and everyone is willing to pay for the extra gas and convenience that space provides. The first time I went we brought a small chest freezer that stayed plugged in while we were there, made storing and transporting birds much easier in the long run. Birds we were bringing back already had at least somewhat frozen and it was cold enough we did not have to worry about stopping and refilling coolers with ice.

    Hoping for some more responses...
     
  7. Flyfisher

    Flyfisher Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
    12,516
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Location:
    Reno Nv
    dont bring blinds saves a bunch of space for more decoys. I never use a blind for white geese...
     
    wyfarrell likes this.
  8. Geez n Quackers

    Geez n Quackers Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2000
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    Most guys we see up there are running medium size sock spreads of 500 - 800, with a handful of flyers and an occasional rotary. We used to run a little over a 1,000 socks. Past 4 years or so, I typically deploy 200 full-bodies and about 600 socks. We have experienced enough years where the weather was nice and the wind very light, dying down to calm when the afternoon birds fly. I take the full-bodies along for that purpose. With no wind, we will use only a small full-body spread.

    I purposely pull a smaller 5 x 10 cargo trailer due to the long haul. The full-bodies take half the space so I have to select my gear wisely. I no longer take all of the rotaries, power flappers, and gizmos. Just the decoys, three portable box callers, and 8-10 flyers. We will layout in white, but I never go without layout blinds. With 200 full-bodies, we are not in the spread, so it's hiding the layouts very well outside the decoys. The best hide up there is going to be layouts in the swaths. You can absolutely disappear. Just check with the farmer. Most are fine with it provided you leave the swaths the way you found them. They get a lot less concerned about hunters in their swaths versus 20,000 geese otherwise eating their crop. The other thing about layouts; they are more comfortable in a light drizzle (which doesn't seem to slow down the snows feeding movements up there) or when the weather suddenly turns cold.

    One last thing, we never take coolers for birds anymore. They just take up too much room. Most places you stay have large freezers. We wing the birds we will bring back, which for us are going to be only snows. We freeze them, and when we leave, place each persons birds in their own designated heavy mil trash bag. We gift a lot of snows due to limited space and we intentionally gift all ducks and darks for ease for those times when the Canadian wildlife authorities are there running checks.
     
    Neck Collar and KID CREOLE like this.
  9. Honker Ace

    Honker Ace Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    190
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2016
    Appreciate the long detailed response Geez, that's the kind of info I was looking for on decoy numbers especially. Having a hard time picturing the space requirements and what everything looks like so providing the trailer size is helpful. We would be hauling a 12 or 14 foot out. From my past experience being set up to shoot anything is good, while we wouldn't overdo it bringing a small kayak to use if we weren't on snows and wanted to hunt ducks on water one morning, etc...Just comes in handy.

    Like the trash bag idea, the house we rented from before had a chest freezer so could easily freeze birds and just do that.
     

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