At the time of this writing, Snow Geese must be actively managed. Bag limits have been increased to 50 per person per day and electronic calls are allowed to encourage hunters to make a larger impact and help control the species to a more healthy population. Snow Goose hunting involves lots of decoys, good quality camouflage or white clothing, and good scouting. Before heading out to a snow goose hunt, I asked Cabela’s if they could supply some decoys for use and review. They provided the popular SilloSocks snow goose decoys and have them available here for purchase.
Snow Geese travel in very large groups of thousands of birds. To convince those birds to get low and think of landing in a decoy spread, avid snow goose hunters deploy hundreds or thousands of decoys to increase their chances of success. Traditionally, these have been with full body decoys or half shell decoys, but the space requirements of those thousands of shells requires that you use giant cargo bags or horse trailers to get all your decoys out to the field. It makes for a very big setup effort and a really early morning co-ordinating and getting those decoys out. If the fields you’re hunting are muddy, you may need to park your trailer and ferry decoys to the field with a quad.
SilloSocks pack up very densely. Because they’re thin around the Tyvek bodies squish down so nicely, you can pack 300-400 decoys in a bag slightly larger than a hockey bag. That same bag might only fit 2 dozen shell decoys, so there’s an extremely big advantage with Windsock style decoys in the raw volume that you need to ship out to field.
Setting up SilloSock decoys
SilloSock decoys are pretty easy to setup. They come with a wire stake that needs to be pressed through the coroplast head. This is best done at home before the hunt because you can use a lighter to heat up the tip of the stake and make it easier to drive through the plastic. You can also take your time with getting them in the right spot in proper light. Morale of the story: make sure the metal rods are in the decoys before you head out to your spot.
The other large advantage to windsock style decoys is that you get good, natural movement in a light breeze. Gusts of wind move the bodies side to side and since they’re all facing into the wind, you can simulate a feeding line. You can simulate a feeding line with shells, but if you opt to put them on wobblers for movement, they can face any which direction. Sillosocks do a good job of natural-ish movement while still keeping pointed in one general direction.
Because Sillosock decoys are made of a coroplast head, neck, and spine, with a Tyvek outside and harder plastic bag inside, there’s not much to them and so, they’re made and sold at a lower price. Shells go for around $90/6 and full body decoys are as much as $180/6, while Sillosocks go for $50-$90 per dozen. If you’re gearing up for serious snow goose hunting with a lot of decoys, they’re not going to break the bank.
The decoys are also washable. As long as you don’t use hot water you can even wash them in the washing machine. Just drip dry though, throwing them in the dryer won’t be good for the Tyvek or plastic.
Close up, shells look better than SilloSock decoys. The real question should be whether that’s important to the geese or not. It’s hard to get decoys down to a real quantifiable number in how well they convince waterfowl to come in, but with so many people out there using SilloSock decoys and seeing good success, including me, maybe the detail doesn’t matter as much?
It’s hard to say definitively if decoys are a success or not, but if we consider having birds interested enough in the spread to try to land and downing some of them a success, then they worked. In combination with great scouting, good blind layout, electronic callers, some additional shells in the spread, and good shooting, they added up to make for some successful hunts.