When selecting the ideal shot size for geese hunting, it is crucial to keep in mind the range of your hunt. For snow goose hunts, using patterning loads with BB steel shot can provide adequate penetration and consistent kills on decoying birds up to 50 yards away.
Since lead was banned, waterfowlers have adopted high density loads like Hevishot, TSS, and Rio Bismuth for waterfowling. These loads produce enough pellets in an accurate pattern to cripple geese or force them into flight.
When hunting geese with a shotgun, use larger than standard #2 steel shot. These pellets travel well through the air and maintain a dense pattern over long distances, making them an excellent way of shooting geese when they approach your decoy spread or are flying over. Furthermore, it works equally well when targeting geese in grain fields or on bodies of water.
However, when hunting Canada geese from 50 yards or further, tightening up your choke can increase your chances of making clean shots on larger birds quickly and cleanly. A full choke tube that accommodates larger shot sizes such as Carlson’s Cremator Choke, Patternmaster Code Black Choke or the JEBS Waterfowl Choke would be indispensable in this instance.
Additionally, an effective goose load will require sufficient pellet density to penetrate their thick bodies and take down geese at any range. Thankfully, more high-density goose loads than ever have become available this year from Hevishot, TSS, Rio Bismuth manufacturers, providing loads with higher pellet densities than lead that can effectively take down geese of any distance range.
While a #4 steel shot can effectively bring down small snow geese close to your decoys, its lack of power prevents it from handling longer shots of medium or large geese that move across your spread. Therefore, when hunting geese at distances beyond 40 yards a #5 or BB shot should be your preferred choice.
As geese approach your decoys, they will begin slowing and winging down to land on them – at this time a hard-hitting goose load must be used to quickly stop the birds before they return home and land again. With Hevishot, TSS or Rio Bismuth hunters now have more options than ever to find one that meets both budget and hunting requirements.
If your shell selection leaves much to be desired, experimenting with various loads before heading out into the field can be extremely helpful in finding your ideal combination of shot size and choke – something which could save time when shooting geese this season and allow more focus to be put towards hunting rather than worrying over shot selection.
If you want to hunt geese effectively, then BB, BBB, or T steel shot will provide enough power. Waterfowlers often prefer these loads because their smaller pellets offer greater knock down power from longer distances. Furthermore, smaller pellets pattern more closely than lead shots and can even withstand crosswind conditions more effectively.
BB shot has excellent pattern density and is easily available at sporting goods stores or online retailers, making it an excellent choice for pass shooting geese flying over strategically-placed decoys. However, for more reliable hits at greater distances it may be beneficial to switch to T shot; 12-gauge 3-inch T loads are the optimal way to put enough force onto goose heads and chests from up to 50 yards away.
The key is finding a choke that works perfectly with your shotgun, enabling it to deliver larger pellets while maintaining an effective tight pattern. There are various chokes designed specifically for both BB and T shot, so waterfowlers should practice using different loads and chokes before selecting their ideal combination for their next hunt.
If you don’t have time to test a variety of chokes and shot sizes, there are a few goose-specific loads which work effectively. These modified or improved mod loads are specifically designed to produce wider shot patterns than standard lead loads. To determine which load works for your gun, place a 40×40 sheet of paper at your target range, fire several shots into it, then count how many pellets hit within a 30-inch circle after every shot you fired it – this should show how densely packed its pattern is.
Waterfowlers often make the mistake of selecting too small of a shot size when hunting waterfowl. This leads to wounded birds rather than instant kills; geese are especially large birds so make sure each pellet hits their vital zone for instantaneous death.
The #1 shot size is perfect for goose hunting as it provides enough energy to take down birds quickly. For those who lack time or patience to test a range of shots sizes, BB or BBB are an effective alternative that offers enough power. Pairing one of these sizes with an appropriate choke will ensure that you have sufficient force with each shot to kill any geese that come to your hunting site, without crippling or sailing back to their roosts; with such power behind every shot taken you can maximize the number of geese taken down without follow-up shots or follow up shots; giving more opportunity for success on hunt.