There is nothing like the sound of geese setting their wings as they willow leaf into your spread. To me, that sound is even more incredible from the pit. There is such a rush when the call to ‘shoot’ is made and you slide that door back. Even if you can visualize a small amount of the sky, it is so exciting when you slide the door, see the geese and drop a bead on a lunker of a goose.
Clearly, I love hunting geese from the pit. (With the exception of fleeting feelings of claustrophobia, it is one of the best-spent hunting days imaginable.)
As with any type of hunting, there are a few tips that should be followed for a fun, safe, and productive day in the goose pit:
- Practice sliding. I learned this one the hard way after a few missed attempts. Practice sliding your door and shouldering your gun until you get comfortable and fluid. Let’s face it, there are a lot of moving parts when it’s time to shoot and things happen quickly. Getting a little muscle memory will help ensure a more productive and fun hunt.
- Know where you are. Take a couple of seconds to get your bearings once you slide the door. Know exactly where the geese are in the sky as well as in relation to you and your fellow pit mates.
- Stay in your lane. I admit it can be a bit disorienting when you slide the door and step up to shoot. A lot of things are happening all at once. It is extremely important to only shoot within your lane. It can be easy to want to swing laterally over your hunting partners to shoot. To do this can result in one of two things: (1) An angry partner for shooting a bird out from under him/her; or (2) A catastrophic injury should you shoot over the pit. While this should be common sense, events occur quickly and if you do not take the time to truly pay attention to where you are shooting, mistakes can occur. Do not muzzle past your frame. Follow directly overhead from front to back but never side to side.
- Safety first. Check and recheck your safety. Things happen, and even the most experienced hunters may forget to slip back to safety. Watch not only YOUR safety but the safety of others. You are in very tight quarters in the pit with multiple hunters and guns. While no one ever intends to have errant discharge, it does happen.
- Reload savvy. Much like #4 above, safety is paramount in the pit. When reloading, take special care to keep the muzzle up and away from everyone. It is easy in the tight confines to muzzle to the side when reloading. Again, the results could be catastrophic.
- Clean and clear. Should you find yourself in a pit that has a lot of debris such as dirt, husks and various other doodads, take caution to keep debris from getting into your barrel. Debris can collect quickly in the barrel and the action, resulting in jamming. Sometimes it’s just a losing battle, but attempt to do your best to keep clean and clear. Also, if you bring your soft gun case into the pit, keep it closed at all times so additional debris doesn’t collect in there as well.
- Eye protection. No matter how careful you are, you will indeed wind up with at least 2 lbs of debris in your eyes. Take clear shooting glasses for early hours and non-mirrored sunglasses for the afternoons. I do believe I went through a bottle of Visine every hour on our last excursion.
Hunting big Canadian geese from the pit is one of my very favorite hunts. It’s action-packed, exciting and fun!
Following a few basic tips can keep everyone safe and help ensure a great hunting experience for all.