SilloSock Snow and Blue Goose Decoys
By: Sean Sutherland
Big-spread realism, setup ease and efficient transportation are key factors to serious light-goose hunters.
I've been chasing the elusive spring snow goose for more than a decade, and believe me, the huge, easily decoyable flocks of the mid-1990s are a thing of the past. Unless the hunter is precisely where these unpredictable birds want to be, chances of pulling them down to sure-shot distance can be slim to none. However, with the right setup on the right day, success is not only possible, it's probable.
Southeast Nebraska resident Josh Lorenson, a light-goose devotee, is one of my closest friends. We spend a great deal of time waiting for, watching, and learning about snows and blues every spring. While lying beneath enormous flocks of circling snows is breathtaking, frustration sets in quickly when birds will not finish beneath the 40-yard marker. Years of gunning snows have shown us that the first and second shots, despite using unplugged, extended magazines during the spring conservation season, are usually the shots with the highest percentage of hits. Getting a group of light geese tight on the first or second pass is key to laying down the big hurt before the wily bunch senses danger is afoot.
After first hearing about SilloSocks a few years ago, purchasing a few dozen, then watching them dance in light breezes and heavy gales, Josh and I realized it was the best way to go for our growing collection of snow and blue decoys. Not only does the windsock body catch light breezes to duplicate the frantic movements of feeding snows, but the body-support feature keeps the decoy in the shape of a real goose on calm days. We've seen these decoys pull in bunches of birds on no-wind mornings and evenings, a solid testament to their realism in the decoy-savvy eyes of spring snow geese.
Assembling pre-made SilloSocks is fast and easy, but does take a little preparation. Josh and I have found that a clean table is important for putting the metal-wire stakes through the corrugated plastic heads. We use spray-on adhesive, though other metal-to-plastic adhesives will work well, too. Heating the stakes with a propane torch is helpful to ensure a firm bond between metal and plastic.
We run just under 1,000 SilloSock snows and blues with a mix of other decoys. The Sillies, as we affectionately call them, store well in large plastic totes. Josh, an organizational expert, discovered the most efficient way to stow them is in groups of six. Each group is pointed to a different corner of the tote. This method takes a little extra time, but it pays off with increased numbers of decoys (as many as 300) per tote.
Fast deployment is another of the SilloSock's strengths. A few whips through the air will open a stored decoy body for an instantly lifelike appearance. One hunter can carry and deploy up to four dozen without straining, an important quality when you're at the far reaches of a 200-yard-long spread.
We will continue to make these decoys a large part of our constantly adapting collection, as they combine most, if not all, of the qualities light goose hunters request from a decoy. Spring snows and blues are tough geese to fool, and we'll be ready with our effective spread of SilloSocks for their return each spring.
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