Geese: Choosing the proper shot size

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Many hunters new to the sport of goose hunting are unaccustomed to firing at such a big bird. More familiar with shooting ducks, they often fire with too light a load at geese too far away. To improve hunters’ effectiveness and reduce the crippling of geese caused by ill-placed shots, the DNR has begun teaching hunters how to shoot more effectively, and hunters are learning how to improve their odds of bagging a honker. Although it’s a big bird, a goose has a relatively small vital zone. The total area in which pellets will kill a goose is just one-tenth the bird’s total size. To ensure they hit the vital zone with enough oomph, waterfowl hunters need to pattern their guns and find the correct loads. Also to maximize the changes of successful hit, hunters should use the best hunting scope available. Most experts say the best loads for geese are sizes 1, BB, BBB, or T steel shot. For most hunting situations, BB or BBB shot is the most effective shot size. Both have plenty of pellets, but still enough energy to bring down a goose. Guns are usually 10- or 12-gauge. Because steel shoots tighter patterns than lead does, the best chokes for geese are modified and improved modified. However, each shotgun choke is unique, which is why hunters should pattern their particular guns.

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