How to Set up Goose Decoys for the Best Success
Once you’ve found the perfect spot and concealed your blind, the decoy setup is the next thing to cross off your list to prepare you for getting your goose limit.
Types of Goose Decoys
The first step of decoy setup is getting your decoy collection right regarding how many and what kinds you have. I prefer to use a variety of decoys, from full-bodied decoys to silhouettes and both feeders and upright decoys. I also have fixed-base decoys and decoys that are on a stake and swivel with the wind. Having a variety of decoys will only make your decoy spread appear much more natural. I always like to set up around 18 decoys per person, right at my blind and within 40-50 yards of my blind. Two main formations will lend themselves to your success.
Goose Decoys Setup Formations
Lazy J Formation
I prefer to use the Lazy J formation because the way the decoys are set up, the geese will likely land right in the pocket that you create when setting up your decoys. To set up the Lazy J formation, you will set up half of your decoys on one side of you, with the furthest decoy being 40-50 yards out from your blind. I refer to this side as the “long arm,” I typically place the long arm on my right side, but it doesn’t matter which side you choose. I set these decoys up on a 45-degree angle and usually on a curve.
On the other side, I place the other decoys up, with the furthest decoy being 15-20 yards out, again at a 45-degree angle. The setup of your decoys and your blind should create the shape of a “J” with your blind at the bottom of the “J”; this creates that pocket for the birds to land in. Be sure to place your decoys in a way that makes them appear natural, facing different directions and varying distances but about a couple of feet apart each. I will vary which kind of decoys I will use between feeders and decoys that are in an upright position.
My number one pro tip regarding the Lazy J Formation is to place a family of four decoys right in the middle of the pocket, about 25 yards from your blind. This will again appear more natural as it looks like a flock of four has just landed and is walking towards the rest of the flock to eat.
The other formation, the W Formation, is pretty much like the Lazy J Formation. It is two Lazy J Formations placed back-to-back and ideal for larger hunter groups. It should resemble the shape of a “W.” Again, the long arms will be on the outside, with the short arms butting up against each other in the middle. The downside to this formation is that you would need many more decoys, at least ten dozen. That is why it is ideal for larger groups where you can pool your decoys, creating more space for more blinds.
The other downside is that the geese will land in one of the two pockets your decoys create, so there is a chance that one-half of the group will get more shots in than the other half will. Because you would have more decoys in the middle of the formation, any birds flocking in would feel more comfortable landing as they are landing in a larger group.
Overall, goose hunting can be a lot of fun, but having the correct decoy setup can make it much more enjoyable! Obviously, there are many steps into a successful goose hunt, but starting with the decoy spread will increase your chances of catching the attention of that big flock. Try out these tips this season and make your hunts MORE enjoyable!