Tips for hunting late season Canada geese

Blake Hodge of Team Wrecking Crew shows off some late season Canadas.

South Carolina’s season runs through Feb. 28

The last hurrah of the season opened up for South Carolina Canada goose hunters last week. The season runs Feb. 13 through Feb. 28. It’s a great time to score some last-minute waterfowl hunting before stowing the decoys until the fall.

Late season Canadas aren’t as easy as many hunters think. But Daryl Hodge of Lancaster, S.C. and the rest of the Wrecking Crew (803-320-3477) can sure make it look that way. And they’ve got some tips to give other hunters a leg up on these honkers.

Number 1 — Scouting

“In the late season, scouting is very important. You’ve got to know what’s in your area and what they’re up to. Local geese know the lay of the land, and they know where the food is. New flocks are arriving from up north each week. They are trusting the local geese so you can use that to your advantage,” said Hodge. “They are going to feed in the same general areas that the local geese are.”

Number 2 — Decoying

Decoying is also important. And when you’re scouting, you’ll see how the Canadas are behaving and flocking. Hodge said he prefers to use a lot of decoys, but if his scouting reveals the geese are grouping in smaller numbers, then he’ll adjust accordingly.

Number 3 — Calling

“The new geese will feed near the locals, but they will usually give them some space. But if hunters call with a soft feeding murmur, it’s like they’re getting the okay from the locals to come on in. That will bring them right into your decoys,” said Hodge.

Number 4 — Camouflage

“This can’t be stressed enough. Naked faces looking skyward is a dead giveaway. And it will alert geese right away. They won’t even think about landing when they see that kind of stuff. And  we prefer wearing black skull caps and t-shirts over traditional camo. If you’re moving around at all when geese are passing over, those black shapes moving will look like other geese,” he said.

Number 5 — Use the right gun, and the right load

“When everything works perfectly, you could kill them with a .410. But I prefer a 12-gauge with No. 2 loads. Because things don’t always go perfectly. A 12-gauge will take care of things either way, and I’d rather be safe than sorry. And I tell clients to aim for the head. That’s the quickest and surest way to kill them,” said Hodge.

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Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. 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