Teddy Carr had the perfect set-up—a fresh-cut cornfield, a couple dozen Carry Lite decoys and a well-hidden layout blinds for him and his clients. When the first flock of geese appeared on the horizon, Carr knew his guns were going to load up on birds. The geese, however, had different plans. Instead of settling in among his decoys, the birds sailed overhead and lit in the far end of the field.
“That was the result of poor scouting,” he said. “Instead of watching the geese the day before and seeing where they wanted to be, I just assumed any part of the field would be good enough. That obviously wasn’t the case.”
It was a lesson Carr took to heart. Now, he not only scouts hard prior to his hunts, he pays close attention to the exact spot he sees geese in any corn field. That’s where he hunts the next day.
“They want to be on that ‘X’, even if it’s a big field full of spilled corn,” said Carr, a central Virginia waterfowl and fishing guide. “Geese that feed in corn fields are creatures of habit and will return to the same spot until they pick the area clean.”
He also looks for loafing birds among feeding geese, a sure sign that the Canadas are content with that field. On the other hand, if he sees a flock walking through the stubble at a rapid clip or getting up and flying to a different spot, that’s a good sign there isn’t much forage left. In other words, cornfield geese are anything but a slam-dunk. Sure, corn and geese go together like ducks and water, but like any type of hunting, chasing geese in cut corn takes plenty of skill, a little luck and lots of scouting.
Carr favors cut corn instead of corn that has been chopped for silage because cut corn tends to spill more grain. Food is key, and a cornfield that has been picked clean usually won’t attract any geese, unless, noted Carr, you happen to be in a flyway with lots of new birds in the area. If that’s the case, it can pay to set up in a clean field and hope the next flock that passes by hasn’t already fed in the field.
“I also like corn fields that have been over-planted with winter wheat or rye. The more food options in one single place, the better,” he added.
Cut corn also leaves more stalks and taller stubble, providing him and his clients with more cover. He uses Avery Killer Weed to brush up his layouts, but he makes sure he adds plenty of corn stalks to the mix to blend in as well as he can. Carr figures poor camouflage is the primary reason geese flare before coming into shotgun range and he takes a close look at his blinds before he gives the thumbs-up.
Generally, Carr likes to set up in the middle of a field, especially one that has houses or roads near it. Geese avoid human disturbance, and they also avoid loafing or feeding close to brushy hedgerows and fence lines. Of course, there are no steadfast rules, and if he observes geese close to a fence, Carr will gladly be there the next morning. If he’s not sure, of if the geese are scattered throughout a field, Carr will place his decoys and blinds on a high spot so passing flocks can see the spread from a distance.
“If it’s windy, I’ll find a low spot that’s somewhat protected. Geese don’t like wind any more than I do,” he said. “If they see a flock of birds in a low spot, there’s a good chance they will go to you, even if it’s not where they were yesterday.”
Contact: Teddy Carr; www.fishingwithteddy.com