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Image by Keith Misner

the Hunter's Lane
summer hunter's guide:
canada goose


















The Canada Goose, sometimes called Canadian Goose, is a large wild goose with a black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, and a brown body. It is native to the arctic and temperate regions of North America, and it is occasionally found during migration across the Atlantic in northern Europe. 


In Georgia, early Canada goose season begins in early September with a daily limit of 5 geese, and early teal season opens in early September as well, roughly a week behind early Canada goose season, with a daily limit of 6 teal. Nearly 40 states have established early Canada goose hunting seasons. These specially timed hunts typically occur well in advance of the arrival of migratory geese and focus solely on resident birds.


The first week of September marks the most common opening date. Some states like North Dakota offer an early Canada goose season that begins in mid-August.


Preferred Habitat: 

Canada Geese can be found in many habitats closely associated with water, including marshes, lakes and ponds. Canada geese typically feed in open grassy areas. 

Active Times:

Geese usually fly to feeding areas in the early morning and late afternoons but undertake increased flight activity throughout the day when it is stormy.


To find out exactly where they’re feeding, first establish where the geese are roosting. Get there before dawn in your vehicle, watch their flight pattern, and follow them as best as you can. It might take a few mornings to discover where they’re going. Alternatively, drive back roads early in morning and look for geese descending on fields. Use binoculars to watch geese and know in which area of a field they feel safe. With permission secured, walk the field and precisely identify the “X” by droppings and feathers left behind. This is where you’ll set up.


Like most other birds, Canada Geese are very unlikely to approach if they spot humans (or any other predators) nearby. Since you are trying to get these geese to fly within an optimal shooting range, wearing the right camo to help you blend in will be crucial. You may want to also consider a portable blind to mask your movement and position. And don’t be scared to rotate locations. 

Recommended Caliber for Canada Goose Hunting: 

12 or 20 gauge Shotgun

  • 12 gauge is the classic go-to for those hunting Canada Geese, ducks and other waterfowl.

  • 20 gauge shotgun options offer less recoil and work just as well for dove hunting, especially when using modern TSS shellshot


Taking Aim:

You want to aim over six feet in front of the bird. As a general rule, one inch of barrel movement equals one foot of lead for the bird. If you shoot like you are going to miss in front of the bird, you will likely put the dove right in the center of your shot pattern. The red target in the center of the photo below roughly represents where you want to aim before pulling the trigger.


Be sure to keep your eyes on the bird as it falls, allowing you to recover your game without too much searching involved. If you are fortunate enough to hunting with trained bird dogs, well...they know what to do.  

Image by Gary Bendig
Image by Eric Brehm
Image by Mary B
Image by Jeffrey Hamilton

[5] 12 gauge shotguns 
for hunting
canada geese

Image by Keith Misner

Cynergy Wicked Wing Camo Over/Under Shotgun

Caliber: 12 Gauge
Finish: Burnt Bronze Cerakote
Stock: Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Habitat

Browning® designed the Cynergy® Wicked Wing Over/Under Shotgun specifically for waterfowl hunting, with camo on the composite buttstock and forend, and burnt bronze Cerakote® finish on barrels and receiver. The buttstock features a Cynergy Inflex recoil pad, an adjustable comb, and a 1/4" stock spacer. A front ivory bead sight serves for a wide range of hunting situations. An innovative MonoLock™ hinge design on the Cynergy Wicked Wing provides considerably more surface area for the action to pivot on than tradition-style hinges, while creating a super-low profile that results in quick handling and reduced muzzle-flip. The Cynergy has reliable impact ejectors that have a secondary striker spring for more positive, reliable ejection of fired hulls from the chambers (unfired shells are elevated for easy removal), and mechanical triggers that eliminate the possibility of the second barrel not firing or doubling. The tang safety/barrel selector switch is rapidly accessible. Fully chromed bores minimize corrosion and facilitates cleaning. The Cynergy Wicked Wing Over/Under Shotgun comes with Banded Invector-Plus extended choke tubes. (F, M, IC).


Cabelas - Browning Cynergy Wicked Wing Camo Over Under Shotgun.PNG
Image by Keith Misner

Ultraleggero Over/Under Shotgun

Caliber: 12 Gauge
Finish: Blued
Stock: Walnut

Built to give hunters and competitive shooters the lightest steel receiver shotgun available, the Beretta® Ultraleggero Over/Under Shotgun offers proven Beretta strength and performance made light. A lightweight, yet sturdy, over/under shotgun ideal for upland hunters and competitive shooters looking for a fast-handling gun, the Ultraleggero delivers consistent, quality shooting performance that swiftly gets onto the game. Built around a lighter steel receiver with internal relief cuts and techno-polymer receiver inserts, this gun features weight-saving features throughout to deliver the same comfortable Beretta balance you expect. The gun's Extralight recoil pad, Steelium Optima-Bore® HP barrel with no side ribs, increased stock, aluminum forend iron system and trigger guard all work to deliver less weight to handle and hold.


Cabelas - Beretta Ultraleggero Over Under shotgun.PNG
Image by Keith Misner

Super Black Eagle 3 Semi-Auto Shotgun

Caliber: 12 Gauge
Finish: Patriot Brown
Stock: Optifade Marsh

The legendary Benelli Super Black Eagle® 3 Semi-Auto Shotgun is now offered in Gore® Optifade® Concealment Camouflage along with a weather-resistant Cerakote® finish. Benelli built the Super Black Eagle using the same basic technology as the previous SBE lines, incorporating elements that enhance recoil management, ergonomics, and functionality. The SBE 3 features the Comfort Tech® 3 recoil pad, with optimized chevron size and location; and a Combtech cheek pad, which greatly reduces facial impact and vibrations. Thanks to its oversized controls, the enhanced SBE 3 is better adapted for hunters wearing gloves. The synthetic buttstock and forend are finished in Gore Optifade Concealment Waterfowl Marsh or Timber camouflage, patterns that consider how ducks and geese see as they look down from above on high-contrast, vegetative areas with water-surface reflections and dappled sunlight.


Cabelas - Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 semi-auto shotgun.PNG
Image by Keith Misner

New! Browning:
Maxus II Wicked Wing Semi-Auto Shotgun

Caliber: 12 Gauge
Finish: Burnt Bronze Cerakote
Stock: Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Habitat

The Browning® Maxus® II Wicked Wing™ Semi-Auto Shotgun is specifically designed for hardcore waterfowl hunting. This Wicked Wing autoloader features a Cerakote® Burnt Bronze finish on the receiver and barrel that blends in beautifully with autumn marshlands. The extended bolt handle and oversized bolt release are friendly to hunters with cold, gloved hands, while the bolt, bolt slide, shell carrier, bolt release button, and cocking handle boast a nickel PTFE coating for added corrosion protection, lubricity, and easier cleaning. The upgraded composite stock features a straight heel section that makes it easy for a gunsmith to shorten the length of pull up to 3/4" and refit the Inflex® Technology recoil pad for a comfortable, custom fit. The Inflex recoil pad shoulders quickly, and absorbs felt recoil from magnum waterfowl loads for reduced fatigue, while the SoftFlex™ cheekpad offers improved comfort and control. 


Cabelas - Browning Maxus II Wicked Wing semi-auto shotgun.PNG
Image by Keith Misner

A400 Upland Semi-Auto Shotgun

Caliber: 12 Gauge
Finish: Nickel
Stock: Walnut

The Beretta® A400 Upland Semi-Auto Shotgun shoots 2-3/4" and 3" shells interchangeably without having to make adjustments, making it an extremely versatile shotgun, well-suited for hunting upland game—from woodcock to ringnecks. The A400 Upland features a beautiful walnut buttstock and forend; the buttstock is outfitted with Beretta's advanced Kick Off™ Plus recoil reduction system that reduces felt recoil by as much as 50%. The nickel-plated, alloy receiver is embellished with an exquisite upland game engraving. To aid shooters in hitting quick flying, multiple targets, the A400 semi-automatic shotgun uses Beretta's Blink operating system that cycles super-fast—capable of shooting 4 shots in less than 1 second.


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