Take advantage of Early Canada goose season

Canada goose
Daryl and Blake Hodge of Wrecking Crew Guide Service love the early Canada goose season in the Carolinas.

Early Canada goose season starts Sept. 1, 2021

Many hunters across the Carolinas are looking forward to Sept. 4, when the 2021 dove season begins. And some of them will wonder what all that shooting is about on Sept. 1, when the Early Canada goose season begins in both states. It’s one of the most overlooked hunting seasons in the Carolinas.

Hunting geese in the early season, which runs Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, offers many advantages that the later goose seasons don’t. For example, in the early season, hunters can bag 15 Canada geese per day. That’s 10 more than you can shoot in the later seasons!

And in South Carolina, the early season allows hunters to shoot Canada geese statewide. That’s not the case in the later seasons, when a chunk of the state becomes off limits.

In North Carolina, the early season means hunters west of U.S. Why 17 can use electronic calls, unplugged guns, and can shoot until 1/2 hour PAST sunset. That’s some fun hunting there folks! And those allowances go out the window in the later seasons.

One reason the Early Canada goose season doesn’t get a lot of attention is because deer season has started in some areas of the Carolinas, or will be soon enough. Dove season opening on Sept. 4 is another. And the heat is also a factor, keeping many folks inside the A/C as they await cooler weather. The fishing is also great throughout September, another reason many outdoorsmen don’t pick up a goose gun just yet.

Tough to decoy, but easy to pattern

Blake Hodge of Lancaster, S.C. has been hunting Canada geese with Wrecking Crew Guide Service for many years. He loves the Early Canada season, but said it does come with plenty of challenges.

“The early season geese are mostly resident geese that have been here all year long. They already have their favorite places to go. It changes a little depending one when a field is harvested, but decoying and calling them is pretty much useless this time of year. They have their minds made up on where they’re going each day,” said Hodge.

But that brings up another facet of goose hunting that Hodge enjoys — scouting.

“Scouting is far more important in the early season. It’s really the key to taking geese throughout September. They are territorial to an extreme. You just need to watch the different groups of geese frequenting your area, and identify where they spend their time each day. The trick is to be at one of those locations when they show up,” he said.

For anglers who fish farm ponds this time of year, the Early Canada season brings a bonus. They can fish like normal, but bring a gun along in case the big birds show up. This is especially true for anglers who have been seeing geese while fishing all summer. Those geese that have let their guard down around anglers aren’t wary — yet. They will get the picture quickly, but not before you get a chance to stack some in the freezer.

Know your regulations

Click here for more information on South Carolina’s early season. And click here for North Carolina’s regulations.

And don’t wait until Sept. 4 to shoot your favorite shotgun. We’ve got plenty of geese in the Carolinas, so take a shot on them on Sept. 1.

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About Brian Cope 2016 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of CarolinaSportsman.com. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@sportsmannetwork.com.

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