Anyone who waterfowl hunts knows that motion in a decoy spread is crucial. Sure, there are a plethora of motion decoys on the market to buy — battery-powered ones, mechanical flappers, windsocks, bags, kites, moving shells, etc. However, there is another kind of motion decoy used in waterfowl hunting by the hunter him or herself — the flag.
Who would have thought that attaching a set of fabric wings with fairly stiff wire on a wooden dowel in a T-shaped form and then waving it somewhat erratically up and down would attract waterfowl such as Canada geese? Not me. And, I would have been wrong!
Flagging was used in ancient times to harvest geese with throw nets but re-invented for modern waterfowl hunting in the 1980’s. It’s one of the most inexpensive, simple, but highly effective ways to attract the attention of Canada geese at great distances and lure them into a spread, especially a field spread. If you think about it, how many times have you seen geese frequently flapping their wings in a flock on the ground or outstretched and fluttering right before landing?
Every hunter in the blind can have and use a flag (or two) to add realism to a decoy spread.
So, how does a goose hunter in a blind go about flagging? Flag starting, stopping, and starting again when geese are seen off in the distance. This tactic, it seems, offers the perception that a flock is on the ground and can even imitate one landing. Another thing I’ve learned: Flag more at Canada geese further out and less as they approach the spread. Some hunters use a smaller, shorter flag as the birds draw nearer. The hunter can even hide behind a flag on the close approach of geese without having to duck down into the blind. I have also found that flagging sometimes works to bring a flock of geese that has flown passed the blind, back around to check out the spread.
I have learned a lot about flagging for Canada geese during the past three dark goose hunting seasons here in Nebraska, and had success with it!
To me, flagging adds another fun, action-packed, calorie-burning, low-cost dimension to any dark goose hunt.