Geese hunting alone is one of the most thrilling experiences. Hunting with a bow is one of the most challenging types. Mixing the two together becomes addicting, to say the least. Will you miss more shooting with a bow rather than a shotgun? Most probably, yes. But here comes the fun!
Hunting itself is a controversial topic. A good hunter at heart, has a high respect for the nature. Ethics have to come first in hunting.
For inexperienced archers, starting off bowhunting geese can be extremely difficult. Moreover, it can cause more harm than good. Even for experienced archers and hunters, preparing the right equipment is essential..
Regarding bow choice, both compound or recurved bows are used. When it comes to arrows, most prefer broadheads, either simple or expandable. Some combine the broadhead with judo arrow points for a better outcome. Others swear by Gobbler Guillotine and Magnus
bullheads. But, a few argue that those two are more suitable for turkeys. Flu-flu arrows are also used, especially for those who shoot the geese at short distances or in the air.
Now that you have the right bow and arrow, you must also have the right outfit. Geese are highly alert birds and they are well-known for having an excellent eyesight. Make sure to camouflage well, in accordance to the hunting terrain.
Next: building a blind/hide. It is far more challenging to build a blind/hide for hunting geese with a bow than a shotgun. The limbs of the bow and arrow shafts need more space.
The most common and effective way of hunting geese with a compound bow is using decoys. Decoys spread around rather than placed close to each other can give far better results. It gives the geese flying over that the place has plenty of food they can feed on.
The behaviour of the decoys should imitate the real behaviours of the geese. Moving decoys (even the ones places in water) bring more geese to join. Geese lay down if the temperature is less than 20 degrees. So should the decoys. If the terrain is right, spread the decoys in both land and water for better success.
When it comes to calling, it is recommended to keep it simple, but keep more than one style at hand. If it is a windy day, use the sharp, loud, high-pinched call. Otherwise, if the weather is clear use a softer call. Foggy days are an exception. Listening carefully instead of calling, and just flagging can be a game changer.
The season when the geese and other migratory birds can be hunted depends on the country. Countries of a big geographical area have specific zones for different dates. There is also a limit on the time goose hunting can be practiced. It is usually half an hour before sunrise to sunset. Not all types of geese are allowed to be hunted each season.
Is It Illegal To Hunt Geese With a Bow?
Geese and other waterfowls can be hunted with a bow in most countries worldwide. However, the specifications of legalization depend. One has to familiarize themselves with the rules.
Countries where bowhunting (of all kind) is illegal include Romania and South Africa.
Countries such as France, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Spain require undertaking a special Bowhunter Educational Program to be able to hunt with a bow.
Hunting geese and other animals with a bow is legal in the USA, Canada, and Oceania.
The International Bowhunter Education Program (IBEP) gives more detailed information per country
Can You Shoot Geese On The Water?
There is a myth that if you shoot geese on the water, it will leave an never come back. The water is their roost. Whatever you do, don’t hunt the roost, right? That can be true. A good hunter though, knows which spots are for roosting and which just for loafing. It’s part of the scouting process after all.
Once that is figured out, the short answer to the question is, YES! It is both legal and doesn’t impose anything unethical (if done right). You can shoot geese both landed on the field and in water. Some might argue that this is like cheating. However, having a goose come down it’s an indication of proper setup, scouting, hiding and calling. The only thing left would be shooting. So, especially when bow-shooting geese, this shouldn’t necessarily be a topic of debate.
Moreover, shooting the geese flying comes with a few drawbacks. First, getting back arrows of a missed shot can be hard. Some can’t afford losing dozens of arrows every-time. Second, a lost arrow can land on a populated farm which can cause other undesired accidents.
Interestingly, if you shoot with a shotgun and you miss, you might just wound it. If you shoot with a bow and you hit it, it knocks it down. But, never shoot a goose over your head. You won’t be able to make yourself small enough!
Where Do You Aim When Shooting Geese?
For animals on the move, shotguns are more suitable since there is spread of pallets. However, when shooting with a bow or a rifle one must hit the animal in the right spot for it to be killed quickly. For this reason, it is better to shoot the birds in a stationary position rather than flying.
When using a shotgun, the head of the geese is normally aimed. The reason being, to avoid pallets on the breast (which makes them better for the table).
When using a bow either head or body can be aimed, depending on the type of arrow used. Gobbler Guillotine and Magnus bullheads are good for head and neck shots. Broadhead arrows are great for body shots. A simple blunt trauma is not going to be enough to get a goose. The arrow must cause penetration on the internal organs. Also, since geese are strong filers, the key to a successful body shot is pinning the wings to the body.