Hunting geese with a bow is a completely difference experience from the more standard shotgun method. It takes considerably more skill, which is what makes it so much fun.
Where should you shoot a goose with a bow? When using a large diameter broadhead like a guillotine (2-4″), aiming for the lower neck will give the cleanest kill. With a smaller broadhead (2″ and under), aim slightly above the center of mass of the body and a bit forward.
Goose hunting is great for having some fun and improving your skills as a bowhunting. In this post, I’ll give a few tips on how to harvest them successfully.
Ideal Target Points
For this post, I’ll be using a Canada goose as an example. The information can be applied to any goose, though. The proportions are just a little bit different (neck is shorter on a snow goose, for example).
Large guillotine styles of broadheads are designed for neck and headshots. The reason that these work great is that they either miss or they kill, there’s very little chance of maiming the bird.
They’re usually marketed along the lines of “Dead on Contact”.
They’re specifically made for turkey hunting, but they also work well on geese.
In terms of where to aim, it depends on how skittish the goose is. When startled, geese tend to run forward and stretch their heads out. They’re not that fast, though. Generally, if you’re within 30 yards or so, they won’t be able to react fast enough to avoid a neck shot.
The only time you’ll really need to aim a bit ahead to predict their movement is if they’re very skittish and likely panic as you’re taking your shot.
With these styles of broadheads, I like to aim closer to the base of the neck, since their heads tend to move around faster if they’re on alert.
This can be a tricky shot if the goose has its head down and is facing away from you, so a quick cluck with your goose call might be a good way of getting it to stick its head up.
If you’re using a more standard broadhead with a diameter of about 1-1.5″, aim for the body, a little above center of mass.
If you aim too low, you could end up slicing right through the breast.
This usually isn’t a big problem if you’re just going to be making sausage with them, but I try to avoid it when possible.
Here’s a layout of target points (red) and where the breast meat roughly is:
Practicing the Shots
If you want some practice on placing the shots, it’s great if you can have some targets that look something like a goose. That way, you can plan your target, shoot it, then see if it landed where you want it to.
If this isn’t an option, I have a DIY target that I use to practice shooting from different distances and angles:
It’s just a 5-gallon bucket packed as tight as possible with plastic drop cloths, industrial bags, wrap, or whatever I can get my hands on. Then just wrap it with tape and lay them out wherever you want to practice.
The bucket is 12″ diameter, so it’s bigger than a goose. That makes it pretty good target for this.
Lay some out at 20, 30 and 40 yards and see how reliably you can hit center. Walk around a bit to practice judging the distance, and try hitting it at different elevations.
In the pic above, I just taped it on to a saw horse. Geese are much lower, so try setting them either flat on the ground or about 6″ above for something more realistic.
The other reason why I like this type of target is that it handles broadheads really well and it’s easy to fix. Just tape it back up.
It’s good to practice with the broadheads that you’re using, since they definitely affect the way your arrows fly.
They’ll catch the wind differently from your field points that you use for practice.
Also, the guillotine styles of broadheads have a really limited range. You’re usually maxed out at around 20 yards.
If you’re considering which broadheads you should use for your hunt, it’s worth your time to take a look at my guide about which ones are best for geese.
Goose hunting with a bow can be a lot of fun. If you’re in a spot that they want to be, they’re easy to bring them in with some calls and decoys, and you should have lots of targets.
Basically, you can have a great morning with a couple of your friends and be home in time for lunch.