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Early Season Goose Hunting

South Carolina is fortunate, or so some say with a healthy population of resident Canada geese. Some will say we are over populated with geese. Wherever you stand on this issue, the early resident goose season opens September 1, 2013. The SC DNR set an early season for Canada geese from Sept. 1-30. This season is statewide. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. The daily bag limit for Canada geese during this early season is 15 birds.

Many waterfowl hunters look forward to this early season as a way to get started and to help farmers and land owners control the burgeoning population of Canada geese. Methods vary, but for many, it takes some scouting to see where the geese are feeding. Setting up along these feeding areas will get some shooting. But for many, the large reservoirs around the state are the honey hole for resident geese.  

Resident geese are accustomed to seeing people and boats. Laws prevent hunters from shooting geese or any waterfowl with the motor of the boat running. However one method that works well is using a paddle. Typical waterfowl boats are small jon boats, kayaks and canoes. Locating geese in coves or bays along the reservoirs is not difficult. These geese are very predictable in their reaction to a boat moving into the cove. The geese will congregate and begin to swim towards the back of the cove. Being a right handed shooter, I will paddle my kayak along the right side of the cove very slowly, as the kayak gets closer to the back of the cove the geese will spook and fly right past you in an attempt to reach big water. Geese need some room to fly, unlike ducks that can get up fast, geese have to get a running start. When the geese fly past, pick out some and shoot. Three shots will often result in three geese. The shots are close, and relatively easy. (CAUTION: Make sure you follow the rules about shooting within 200 yards from a residence and that you are aware of what is beyond your target when shooting.)

After the shooting, pick up your birds and move to the next cove. On many occasions our limit is filled in an hour of hitting a few coves on the upper ends or less populated areas of the lakes.

We seldom call to the geese, and never use decoys. It’s fast, fun and a great way to open the early season for waterfowlers.