Check their flight pattern and see if you can ambush on the way in - least hassle first surprise method. After you do this and they have been shot at once, set out 6 - 12 dekes where they usually land to pull them into range. Make sure you get the best shot you can to hammer them - I use Bismuth as it flat knocks them out of the air - steel does not. When you get up to shoot, you say to your hunting partner - give them the Bismuth.
Thousands of geese would argue with you about steel shot. That's all I shoot, and I don't have any problems. I shoot 1-2 cases of it a year with very few cripples, and definitely no more cripples than other notox.
It sounds like you've got a good spot picked out. Keep an eye on them to make sure they're still there closer to the season, and you may not need dekes, but I would recommend at least a few to focus the birds where you want them to land. If you don't have any and can't get them, I wouldn't be affraid to go without as long as the birds are using the pond regularly.
Hey Crow Bait, these residents could just have been nesting there. Keep a steady eye out for them until season opens.
Residents wise up quick, first hunt I would use minimul dekes (a couple) if this a roost pond, might be best to watch it and decide to hunt it mid morning rather than first light spooking them off.
Can you call? if not dont, basically dont educate the flock. You should be in good shape to learn on resident young birds. No matter what you hear on shooting distance, pattern your gun and shoot wisely (to your lethal compfort) shooting and crippling birds early just educates them.[wink] Good luck Crow!goose hunting is awesome[grin]
Feed em. They will stay, and by round Dec.1, the flock will grow. Prime shooting from then till seasons end. Cheap decoys I tell ya, but don't bust em hard, pick out a few fat ones at a time. That's what I would do...
If they are using the area day in and day out, I would follow Choptank's advice (and the guy hunts almost everyday, so he knows a thing or two).
Steel kills, but not as hard as non-toxs. My favorite is Fasteel, stuff is relatively inexpensive, and LETHAL.
As far as baiting, its a good strategy, you just can't shoot it, You are not allowed to shoot a baited spot until 10 days after all the bait is gone. But it would work as far as building up numbers, just a dozen birds will get shot off quick. Bait them until you are ready to shoot and you may create a spot that residents and non-residents key on, but it will take you well into the 3rd split as Big Eye suggests. If you were to do that, bait until Thanksgiving, then quit, and opening day of the 3rd split, nail them. If it works out, birds should still use the pond even after being shot a few times.
The most important thing, as with migratory waterfowl.......is the birds 'have to want to be there'.
These summer birds dont have any real needs.......dont need food, water, or friends......probably still in family groups.
If they are using a field or pond on a regular basis......you got them.
Decoys should be used to steer them into range and take their eyes off of your concealed location.......resident geese dont get any easier.
The problem with resident geese, is that they are too low. They will land in a hurry so if you cant kill them with steel (or any shot) you need some time at the trap and skeet range as distances should not be an issue.
The issue of overhunting them will always be a problem that is tough to answer, as other factors could still screw up your easy hunts.
Come on down to Mississippi in Dec and Jan. You can just shoot in the air around Soybeans feilds and you will have 30 40 in a few minutes, There is no limit on them here... Theses are White Geese and they are a nusance to everyone!