Electronic Snow Goose Caller - E-Caller
By: Barry Schindle
Midwest Waterfowl Outfitters
Another important piece of equipment in the snow goose spread for a snow goose guide is the use of electronic snow goose calls. It seems some guys seem to overlook the importance of these tool in the field and do not spend enough to get a quality system.
When I started out there was nothing on the market that was good enough for what I wanted it to do, or priced reasonably enough that I could justify buying. This resulted in years of me building and testing different callers ended with me finding the perfect caller for my style of hunting. The end result is the Snow Persuader, it is made with top of the line high power speakers and a powerful amp. The sound it is playing is produced by Jim Jones on his Snows on the Prairie II cd. This is the most realistic sound I have found to date and it is all played via an mp3 player that never skips and you don't have to worry about the CD becoming scratched. In the field I believe the more areas of your spread you have covered with sound the better.
Last season I ran 6 speakers and next year I will be running 8 speakers. The bulk of the speakers are set-up down wind of my blind and are the volume is not cranked up that loud, I like there to be sound projecting up when a flock of birds as traveling over the lower portion of my snow goose spread and not have all the sound coming from one point at the top of the spread. Near the top of my spread either directly in front or behind my blinds I will run two 100-watt high power speakers. This e-caller is placed directly behind by blind and has a volume control running to inside guide's blind. This is a very important thing to me as I have found you want to regulate the speaker volume as the birds approach and attempt to land in your kill hole. Distant birds you can crank it up to get their attention and then back it off as the birds get closer and closer. Just like with a Canada goose call you can dictate where the snow geese will go with the caller by adjusting the volume on the call.
When I am out chasing snows and blues the location of my electronic goose call is relative to the conditions in the field. This is what has worked great for me; by no means it is the only way to set-up, experiment with different set-ups and you might be rewarded with a better way to do it.
- Windy Days - On windy days I usually set up with my blinds on the downwind side of my spread, usually I will hide the blind right on the edge with maybe 5-10 yards of snow goose decoys between me and the edge. If I am only using one e-caller I will set it up with the blinds with the speakers split up with two in front of me and two behind me. The geese do come to the sound; I have seen it happen so often I am convinced you want your speakers where you want the geese to land. If I am lucky enough to be running two electronic snow calls I will usually set up my main unit with the blinds and have the other unit at the upwind side of the spread running at a lower volume.
- Normal Wind Days - If I can I usually will decide to set up on the upwind side of my snow goose spread. Snows are greedy birds and they want to get to the fresh field that has not been fed yet in my opinion. Once again, this is something that differs each day and depends on the lay of the land. Every day is different but I will usually set up so I can sit on the upwind side of my spread. When setting up in this situation I will have my main ecaller with two speakers 10-15 feet in front of my blinds, if I have a 4 speaker e-caller I will run two speakers right in front of me and the other two split off to each side of the snow goose spread. If I am lucky enough to be hunting with two callers I will put the 2nd e-caller downwind of my blinds on the other side of the snow spread. I will not have the volume on this unit cranked up since I want the birds to key in on the main unit near the blinds.
- Fog - If your every lucky enough to get a fog day while hunting snows and blues make sure you have a full case of shells with you….these days are few, but the end results can be amazing. Honestly in this situation I would only use one e-caller so not to confuse the geese where they want to go.
- The battery on the MP3 player should be changed daily, to be safe I change mine every morning and then again after lunch. It is not worth losing a monster tornado of snows because your electronic caller shut off when they where hovering at 100 yards…..change that battery!!!!
- Main e-caller battery - as a rule of thumb a small deep cycle battery will run a two speaker unit for 3 days if you make sure to turn off the caller when your not using it. The 4 speaker units will burn through a small battery in 1-1.5 days. I personally if I can drive into the field run mine on a large deep cycle or I make sure to have a fresh small deep cycle each day……once again you don't want to have the a flock working in when the battery on the e-caller decides it has had enough and it's a ½ miles walk to the truck to get another one.
- Saving battery juice - When there are no geese in sight or your breaking to pick up your geese I recommend you turn off the power to the electronic call. This can be done by either disconnecting the battery or by going with the optional power switch that is offered on all Snow Persuader e-caller systems. When I go on the road I usually plan on getting 3 days out of my main battery, the only way I can do this is by babying it and turning off the e-caller when not in use.
Hiding your electronic caller
- The unit itself is easiest hid under a shell decoy, I always have a few dozen shells in my spread to stash gear under and this works great for hiding your Snow Persuader too. I will usually be hunting a cornfield in the spring and can also add extra camo to the unit by piling up corn stubble around and on top of the unit.
- Speakers - I leave my speakers off stands so they can stay low to the ground so they can easily be camouflaged by stubble in the field. My lower volume downwind speakers I will often hide under a snow windsock, this might be excessive but what the heck. The speakers are white or gray which is the same color as your snow and blue decoys so I don't think they make much of a difference in the field.
- Speaker wire - I have never thought it was an issue to have speaker wire running on top of the ground uncovered. It is up to you if you want to cover the wire, it just makes pick-up harder since the stubble will get wrapped up in the wire. I do think it is important to make sure the wire is laying flat on the ground, not for the geese but for you…..nothing worse then tripping on the wire while chasing a wounded snow goose and doing a digger into the corn stubble.
- Placement of your snow goose caller - I usually have my unit right next to my blind or behind my backrest inside the blind if I have room. This allows me to control the unit when I need to and so I can unhook the unit when not in use without getting out of my blind.
Tips to using an electronic snow calling system
- Using your e-caller system in the field is really no different then hunting other geese. I have included a few tips that have worked for me in the past, by no means the "law", but things that work for me.
- Treat snows and blues just like you would a Canada goose, the farther away they are the louder you can call at them, once they start to get closer the more you want to turn the volume down.
- Not every day is the same, some days you have to turn down the volume to the e-caller to finish birds, other days you can have in blaring wide open right up until you call the shot.
- The snow goose comeback call - I have had success using what I consider the e-caller comeback call for flocks of geese we have lost or just shot into. Once I lose the flock or after we shoot into a flock I will crank up the unit very loud and give the "comeback" call…..it won't always work, but seems to work a lot of the time. This is way it is important to be able to control your volume level on the e-caller from your blind with the addition of an optional volume control.
- Calling the shot - I found last year that instead of screaming "KILL THEM" or whatever you use in the field to just shutting off the volume to the e-caller via the remote volume control. This makes it easy for members of your party that might be farther away from you to know when its go time.