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How to use a goose flag

Like a lot of my current fowling gear, the goose flag is another toy that originates from across the Pond, where shooters have used them wildfowling with a lot of success for a number of years.

A goose flag is a simple piece of kit, hand operated and extremely easy to use. It consists of a piece of material (of a colour and pattern similar to the quarry) on a ‘T’ shaped frame which makes it look like a kite. As the set up is operated by hand, it can be used in still or calm conditions.

Goose flags are designed to imitate a goose either landing or stretching its wings. All it takes are a couple of flicks of the wrist at the right time and you’d be surprised how even distant skeins will react positively to it. The difficult part to flagging is knowing when and how much to use it. I have found that if the geese appear to be committed to the decoys and are heading straight for you, no matter how tempted you are, hold back on the movement. The flag works best for birds that either haven’t seen the pattern or seem to be interested, but just need that extra encouragement.

Be sure not to overdo it. The aim is to almost tease the geese with the flag. Give them a few waves and then keep the flag moving down towards the ground, replicating a landing bird. Similarly you can keep the goose flag a constant height just above the ground to replicate a bird already on the deck that is stretching its wings. If you’ve ever watched geese feeding then you’ll know it is natural for birds to occasionally stretch out and flap a couple of times before tucking their wings back in. The key with the goose flag is not to leave it in a position bolt upright for too long, otherwise the geese will soon realise that something isn’t quite right and will no doubt be wary.