Goose Hunting An Annual Tradition
Whether you're goose hunting for the first time or a veteran hunter, you will be challenged and satisfied with the results of your hunting adventure. It's generally accepted that bird hunting isn't all about the kill, it's more about accurate marksmanship, precision and sportsmanship. A favorite for the most traditional of Christmas dinners, goose is a popular game bird with hunters.
There are five big names in the North American goose game, the black Brant, Ross's goose, the snow goose, the white-fronted goose and, of course, the Canada goose. A couple other common species worth noting are the barnacle goose and the emperor goose, both of which appear in the northern regions during winter. Like in all areas of hunting, you should adequately prepare the right hunting equipment and make a hunting plan if you expect to succeed at goose hunting.
Because there are plenty of hunting grounds for birds around the continent, you don't have to fret too much about finding a spot that's right for you. It is a good idea to scout your location, then scout it again to be sure you have the place right for you.
If you're hunting outside your local area, feel free to consult locals. Checking on sweet spots through regional hunt clubs online is a great way to do this. Also, many guided programs will provide a limited consulting service to people interested in potentially booking a hunt with them and no one said you had to book the hunt in the long run.
It is also necessary to know what to do with the fallen geese. In terms of field dressing, birds are a lot easier to deal with than most other game you'll encounter. They're small, they're light and they're relatively simple to deal with. However, a number of different ideas abound for exactly what you ought to do with your birds before you get back home.
For example, some real old school hunters will tell you you've got to gut the bird, and stuff the cavity with dry grass immediately. This might sound a little crazy, but there's some truth to it. The keys to success in handling your fallen birds include cooling the carcass quickly, gutting your birds, skinning or plucking it, wiping the cavity, and storing it correctly.
If it's a trophy mount you're after, proper field care of the bird is the first step toward a good result. Choose a taxidermist in advance of your planned hunt and obtain instructions from their staff regarding how to best preserve the bird for mounting. Following these steps will ensure that the meat is better retained and no damage is done by entrails left inside.
Some argue that gutting isn't necessary, but research shows leaving the entrails inside makes the carcass retain heat. If you opt to save the liver and heart, do so in a plastic bag you can keep on ice. There are also plenty of people who argue for and against skinning and or plucking the bird in the field. Plucking isn't easy under any circumstance, and the only way to avoid the task is skinning your bird.
However, you're likely to lose the fat along with the skin, which encourages the meat to dry out prematurely and can lead to loss of flavor. Once the bird is gutted, use a clean towel or cloth to wipe it clean. Grass should not be used as it could contaminate the carcass. Finally, once all the other steps have been completed, you will need to store the bird so air can circulate around it.
Again, there's a fair amount of debate as to whether it's necessary to hang birds but most experienced hunters agree that storing them in suitable bags out of direct sunlight before transferring the carcasses to a cooler is suitable when goose hunting.