Goose Hunting

hunthog

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Ok guys and gals,

Anyone out there spend much time hunting Honkers at Lower K and Tule?  Or want to?  I sometimes have the itch to go but can't get anyone else to jump in the truck and do an overnighter.  I work 12 hour shifts and prefer to go Monday - Friday.  Hate the weekends because of the crowds.  Love it when it snows early like last year but only took 2 trips while the snow lasted because of a lack of desire among my partners.  We limited both trips for 2 days each trip.

I've got the decoys (18 Big Foots, 4 1/2 dozen sylos and a quite a few shells(though I rarely use them)), a huge cart for dry weather and a pull sled for snow.

Let me know and maybe we can hook up during the season some time.

Write me.  lap2@netzero.net

hunthog
 

MNTNMAN

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During my 4 year stint in Klamath Falls, I spent many mornings on the Oregon side of the line. By far the Cal. side is way better as far as the number of birds. The only ones we get shots at are coming from klamath lake on their way to the California side.
 

Chance

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The wife and I are seriously considering a trip to the TL LK area in November.  We'll have our 14' jon along.  We want to split our time between LK where it sounds like we'll be using the boat and Tule Lake where it sounds like mostly field hunting.  I'll be bringing 2 dozen canada silos, 8 canada floaters, and I have 3 doz mag  shells but am debating whether to bring them or not.  We'll also have our usual sack of duck decoys.  So please help me out with a few questions.
1- How many goose decoys will I really need?  
2-  How far will we be packing these decoys?
3- Would one of those fat tired Radio Flyer wagons be effective for hauling stuff?
4- I don't have field layout blinds.  Do I need them? Can we lay in the decoys?
5- Are the spaced blinds really blinds or a stake in the field we hgunt next to?

Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Frank
 

MQ

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I have hunted Tule and LK once or twice a year for about 15 years now, and I love ti up there. Here are answers to your questions Chance:
1) I have had honks come into a dozen duck dekes layed out in the field, however I wouls haul out as many as possible.
2) you could end up hauling the dekes 1/4 mile or more, depending on where your blind is. Some of the free-roam type areas allow you to drive into the field to drop off your stuff.
3) a wagon would help, especially in the spaced blind area
4) I dont have any blinds either so I usually just lay out flat in the field on top of a burlap sack and throw some straw over me
5) the spaced blinds are really spaced stakes in mowed fields

Hope this helps
 

hunthog

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Big Foots are the real ticket but most of your shells and the sylos will do the job.  MQ is right, the spaced blinds are not too well marked stakes at Tule.  You could be in for a long walk on some.  The wagon isn't going to help much with the amount of decoys you'll need to drag out.  That said, I've seen the big boys work to just my 18 Big Foots as well as the whole spread of 80 or so.  What you need is one of those Cabelas Magnum Game Haulers or something like it.  I have one I modified extensively that is about 10' long that hauls the whole load.  

At Lower K you'll need to find out which field they are hunting this year and the walk there is VERY long.  You need to get way out there and they are all huge fields.  You'll definately need a game hauler, maybe.  The other possibility is hunting in the Sheepy East area of LK or League Of Nations at Tule.  You can drive out, dump your decoys, leave your buddy to set them up and park in the corner of the field.  You walk back and hope your buddy is done (ha, ha) setting up the dekes by the time you get there.

The MOST important thing you just gotta' do is scout the day before for ducks or geese.  Remember, hunting stops at 1:00 PM so you have until dark to drive both Refuges and see where the birds are working.  Find out where that is and your chances of a good hunt increase 10 fold the next morning.  They work where the food is and where they feel safe then they go back again and again.

At LK and Tule hiding in the fields is difficult, even with a layout blind.  The barley stubble is very light colored and most conventional camo is useless.  There also is very little available stubble to cover up with and it's cut very short (about 6-12").  The spaced blind areas at Tule unsually are cut fairly long but still not long enough.  The only exception seems to be Sheepy where they very often leave as much as 1/3 to 1/2 of some fields virtually uncut.  A goose chair works well but you still need to cover up your legs.  Bringing a dark dog without some means of hiding him will also hurt you badly.  A dog you can't control that runs around after a shot will kill you.  When I hunt the fields the dog stays home.  She's good but she thinks every time I shoot I kill something and goes for the retrieve while the next flock of Honkers is starting to set up downwind.  She has much more confidence in my shooting ability than I do.

Here's what works pretty well.  Make a square or oval frame out of PVC.  Make it big enough to just encircle you and paint the PVC light tan (marsh grass camo paint works best).  String some of that black netting they use to keep birds off of your plants across it and while you are scouting the first day pluck a bunch of the uncut or long dry barley along the roads and ditches.  Take it back to camp, or whatever, and weave it into the netting so it provides a good cover-up that you can still see through.  Make yourself some long U-spikes to hold down one side of the cover (it gets windy up there and the thing will end up in the next county if it's not staked down when you throw it off).  Get really good with a really good call, don't over call and absolutely buy and use a goose flag to get their attention.

If the ground is covered with a good layer of snow, YOU have the definate advantage.  The birds move all morning.  Get a white face mask and gloves and buy the biggest Tyvex coveralls you can find to put over your insulated gear.  Lay right in the middle of your spred and you disappear.  Cover your dark boots though.  You can use a heavy tarp to stack the decoys on and drag it out or drive up to Klamath Falls and spend the money at Big R for one of the sleds they sell every year.  About $100 bucks, but you'll never regret it if you hunt LK and Tule when it's at its best, with a foot or more of snow on the ground.

Write me when you go, I might join you.  If not, good luck.

hunthog
 

huntducks

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Chance

I see your in Az. why bother with LK head east like in CO. KS. and hunt 7 days a week daylight to dark with lots of elbow room.:smile-big-blue:
 

Chance

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MQ and hunthog,
Thank you very much for the info.  I'm sure I'll be able to put it to good use.  My wife is just getting into the hunting and I've got a 1 1/2 year old chocolate lab I'm training.  I'm sure I'll have my hands full.  Where would you guys recomend I stay at when we're there?

huntducks,
I hear you.  I went east last season twice.  Once to North Dakota in November and once to Oklahoma in December.  Both hunts were fantastic!  Great training for the new pup and good experience for my wife.  I grew up in California around Chico, hunting the Sac Valley yet I never managed to get to Tule lake before I moved away in 1982.  So this trip has been on my list for a long time.  I'm also very interested in points east of AZ.  I don't have anything against guide services but I prefer to hunt areas where we can do our own thing.  That was easy to do in North Dakota and in OK we hunted Lake Fort Supply and Fort Cobb out of our jon boat.  So if you have any suggestions for CO or KS I'm all ears.

Thanks much!

Frank
 

MQ

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In the town of Tulelake is the Ellis Motel and the Park Motel that cater to hunters. There is also a campground at Sheepy Ridge where you can pitch a tent or stay in your camper. I actually stay with an old homesteader just south of the TL refuge....
 

hunthog

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For the life of me I can't remember which but between the Ellis or Park Motels one is much nicer than the other.  I've stayed in both.  One, never again.  It's really obvious when you look at them.  The worse looking one, is the worse.  It's the closest Motel to Tule Lake Refuge.  The water there smells like sulfur and the rooms are.....well, pretty run down and VERY drafty.   To tell you the truth, the Motel 8 in Klamath Falls is much better and they have a bird cleaning station on site.  A bit of a drive if the weather turns sour but much nicer and not that much more expensive.  Don't forget to eat at Papa Ganders in Merrill, Oregon.  Great food!!

hunthog
 

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