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Flagging down geese takes a team effort

Flagging down geese takes a team effort

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Goose hunt

Flagging adds an action-packed element and team approach to hunting Canada geese in Nebraska.

Anyone who hunts waterfowl knows movement in a decoy spread is crucial.

There are many motion decoys on the market to buy — battery-powered ones, mechanical flappers, windsocks, bags, kites, moving shells, etc. There is another kind of motion decoy used by the hunter — the flag.

Who would have thought attaching fabric wings with relatively stiff wire on a wooden dowel in a T-shaped form and then waving it erratically up and down and at angles would attract Canada geese?

Flagging, as it is called, was used in ancient times to harvest geese with throw nets but reinvented for modern waterfowl hunting in the 1980s. The method used by the hunter with his or her flags gives the appearance of live ducks or geese in the air either landing or stretching their wings on the ground over a decoy spread.

Coupled with calling, flagging is one of the most inexpensive, simple, but highly effective ways to attract the attention of Canada geese at great distances and lure them into a spread. The use of flags by hunters even complements other motion-activated decoys in a spread.

If you think about it, how many times have you seen geese flapping their wings in a flock on the ground or outstretched and fluttering right before landing? How many times you have seen Canada geese fly toward the decoy spread when one of your hunting partners is out of the blind rearranging decoys. Quite a bit, right?

The cool thing with flagging is that every hunter in the blind can have and use a flag to add realism to a decoy spread. Everyone is involved and part of the team effort to lure the waterfowl close enough for shots.

Begin the process with the T-flag held high and flap downward with plenty of wrist action. This could be compared to jigging while fishing.

Start flagging, stop, then start again when geese are seen in the distance. This tactic offers the perception that a flock is on the ground and even can imitate one landing. Flagging at Canada geese in the distance is effective. Waterfowl have tremendous eyesight and the line from veteran waterfowl hunters is: If you can see them, they have already seen you.

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Another thing I’ve learned about flagging: Flag aggressively and more so at Canada geese that are further out, and less and subtler as they approach the spread.

Some hunters put their flags on long, flexible poles to allow geese or ducks to see the movement at even longer distances.

Then, hunters will use shorter flags as the birds draw nearer. The hunter even can hide behind a flag on the close approach of geese without having to duck into the blind. I also have found that flagging sometimes works to bring a flock of geese that has flown past the blind back around to check out the spread. The hunter stops flagging just prior to picking up their shotgun to shoot.

I have learned a lot about and had success with flagging for Canada geese during dark goose hunting seasons. I encourage hunters to try it.


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