When you’re heading out for a goose hunt, what do you make sure to take with you? Loaded question, right? You’ve got your shotgun, blind, waders, shotgun shells, and of course your ever-faithful retriever. But let’s not forget one of the most important aspects of goose hunting……goose decoys. With so many different brands, styles, and designs out there, how do you make the right choice? Are you going to focus on price? Realism? Packability? Storability? Or will you just go with what your buddy says to buy, or what you see somebody else using on a hunting show? Hopefully, this blog post will help to make your decision even that much easier.
Goose Floater Decoys
If you plan to hunt over water, you’re going to want to have some goose floater decoys in your arsenal. Luckily for you, there are many options to choose from. Northern Flight is one of the more economical choices, but with that comes a less realistic look. You can always go with Avian-X, or Dakota decoys for a very life-like appearance. Of course, with quality comes a much higher price tag. Flambeau, Lucky Duck, and Bigfoot all fall in the middle of the pack on the price point, but still offer a good deal of quality for your hard-earned dollars.
Full Body Goose Decoys
When it comes to hunting dry fields there are a plethora of options. No matter what you choose, there are a few factors that need to be considered. For example, geography, storage, cost, and time setting up, just to name a few. Hopefully, after reading this you are more at ease with your decision.
Full body goose decoys are some of the most common in use today. Just about everybody has these available, in one aspect or another. Bigfoot and White Rock have a standing full body goose decoy that runs around $140 for a half dozen. Dakota, Avian-X, and Higdon have full body goose decoys that sit on a stand that allows for motion in your spread when you have a breeze. These range from $150-$200 for a half dozen. Most of your full body goose decoys will have a flocked head that will help reduce shine on a sunny day. It doesn’t matter if the birds are coming in low, or if they are circling high above your spread, these types of full body goose decoys will always stand out. The downside to this is that if you’re planning on having more than five dozen, you probably want to have a cargo trailer to store and transport them. Plus, if you have a freeze, or if it snows right after that early morning set up, you’ll find yourself racing to clean off your decoys before the next group comes in.
Goose Shell Decoys
Goose shell decoys are a great investment for somebody just starting out and building up their own spread. The cost is generally lower than full bodies, not to mention they pack up easy, and take up less room to store them. You can pick up Higdon goose shell decoys at $70 for six, or Flambeau at $60 for four. On the higher-end of the spectrum is Avian-X at $130 for six. Goose decoy shells work great to give the look of geese sitting on a snow-covered field trying to melt their way down to the food underneath. Unfortunately, you have the same downside as the full body goose decoys with frost or snow build up.
Goose Silhouette Decoys
Goose silhouette decoys are one of the oldest styles of goose decoys I can remember hearing about growing up, and they are very quickly coming back into popularity. Some of the best hunts I can recall have been over goose silhouette decoys. Lucky Duck and White Rock have some available ranging from $100-$150 per dozen. If you want quality at a great price, I would recommend Dive Bomb Industries. They have a great line up of goose silhouettes that won’t require a second mortgage on the house or an I.O.U. for your firstborn and left kidney. The V2 and V2F decoys are priced at $70 and $85 per dozen. They even offer a better price if you buy five dozen at a time. They look realistic in the field, set up is effortless, and they take up a fraction of the space to store versus full body goose decoys. My favorite part about goose silhouettes is that while I am hunting in Idaho in the middle of a snowstorm, I don’t have to continuously clean snow off the back of my decoys.
Goose Sock Decoys
Socks are a great way to add motion to your spread, help conceal your blind, and storage and set up is quick and easy. White Rock sells for around $120 per dozen. Dive Bomb Industries has the S3FI Canadas for $75 per dozen, and the tall Canada socks for $90 per dozen. The downside to using goose sock decoys is that if you don’t have a breeze, you guessed it, you don’t get the motion.
Top Down Goose Decoys
Now I couldn’t figure out a category to classify this decoy in, but I knew that I wanted to mention it. Ever heard of the Top Down Decoy? These are an interesting decoy, but in a good way, no other decoy maker on the market has anything like this. It appears as a feeder decoy from the top. The cool thing about these is that one side is a feeding Canada goose, that you flip it over and it turns into a feeding snow goose. These are $100 per dozen and proudly made in the USA.
To conclude, there is no such thing as the perfect decoy for every single scenario. That being said, running a mixture of each, depending on your style of hunting, does have its advantages. The most important thing is to get out and enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. Bottom line, it has always been, and will always be, about making memories to last a lifetime. If you have something you would like to add, please comment below.