Calling Geese with Steve Bierle
Steve Bierle of Canton, South Dakota has hunted geese in various areas of Canada and the northwestern United States his entire life. He’s won several state championships and has competed in and judged many regional and national goose calling championships.
Goose calling is basically simple, if you understand the primary components for being a successful goose caller. The most critical ingredient to calling and taking geese is to be where the geese want to be. If you’re in a place where the geese don’t want to be, you may be a world champion goose caller, but more than likely you won’t take many geese. However, none of us are lucky enough to be in the right spot at the correct time every time the geese arrive. So, the second biggest key to being a successful goose caller is to learn how to read the geese when they’re in the air and understand what calls they want to hear, how they want to hear those calls, and when they want to hear those calls.
For instance, sometimes geese will come off the roost and be silent. You don’t need to call then but instead depend on your decoys to lure in the geese. One of the hardest calls to teach a goose caller is the shut up call, when you just sit still, be quiet and watch the birds. On other days, geese will come off the roost and are extremely vocal, even if they’re in pairs or small bunches. On those days, you have to understand how to blow a goose call, if you want to bring these geese to within gun range. You need to talk to the geese the same way they’re talking to each other and listen to what they say and the way they say it. Also, for successful goose calling, don’t be afraid to make the cluck a goose gives, and learn how to produce the basic moan of a Canada goose. If you feel comfortable giving those two calls, then more than likely you will call in about 70 percent of the geese that you have an opportunity to call. You can use your calling skills, if the geese are somewhat off-course, or if you haven’t guessed exactly right on where the geese want to be. If the geese start to slip away from me, I’ll often change to a different cadence or note to once again get the geese’s attention on me and my spread and help the birds focus on where they need to come. When the birds start doing what I want them to do, then I continue to hit the same note that I’ve used to get their attention.
A good goose caller is like a fisherman. The advanced goose caller has more notes, which are the same as the numerous lures in a fisherman’s tackle box. The more lures a fisherman has, the more chances he has to catch a fish. The more goose sounds that the goose caller can blow, the greater his odds for calling in geese. But, whether you’re calling geese or trying to catch fish, watch the animals, and let their responses to your attempts dictate how you continue to try and fool them. If one style of fishing or goose calling doesn’t work, use something different.