For quicker, cleaner kills on early-season honkers, take a page from the wild turkey playbook. Like geese, turkeys are large, heavily feathered birds, so downing them with body shots is difficult, and can detract from the dinner-table result. Spring gobblers are usually standing still when a hunter aims at the head-and-neck region, preferably with a number-six package delivering a dense pattern. One pellet in the neck or head and the bird is toast… and mashed potatoes and gravy.

6503063233_5f78c01986_z[1]Waterfowl present a different situation. You’ll need to fight your instincts for the best results. A goose or duck’s wings will be moving, which naturally draws attention to that part of the body. It’s also the largest target and, as you lead a bird, you’ll naturally lead what your eye is focused on — the body. Instead, focus on the head of the bird and lead the head so that your shot pattern targets the most vulnerable portion of the bird — the cranium and spine. This sounds simple, but you must mentally control the shot process until it becomes a habit. Then there will be many goose dinners in your future.

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.