22 November 2010

Slice of Life: Goose Season Returns! "Well Great, Now What?!"

Wildlife: Noun, Wild animals and vegetation, especially animals living in a natural, undomesticated state.  Add lib: "Well great, now what?!"

On opening day of goose season this Saturday, that was exactly the question myself, my father, and our friend were left asking as we sat in the blind befuddled, amused, and amazed.  Hunting isn't supposed to be easy, or hard, but it certainly is unpredictable.

I arrived at my parent's place for a quick breakfast and cup of coffee before heading out to the blind.  My dad is fortunate to be surrounded by farmland on three sides of his place, and even more fortunate to be friendly with the farmer.  Factor in that the fields were due for a corn year in their crop rotation and everything was coming up Milhouse.  So our friend arrives a few minutes before shooting time (whom we shall name as Agent Parsimonious, AP for short) and we depart the 100 yards from the house to the blind, a tough walk for three's company and the dog, I can assure you.

A beautiful morning greets us with little dew and some chill and of course just enough sun to blind a horse.  Fortunately, it wasn't a completely bluebird day as to prevent the goosers from getting off their full moon duffs and getting out for a morning flight.  From 0700 to roughly 0930, we had a steady stream of action to watch, call to, and even a few chances to take a shot.  So in an early summary, it was a nice start to the early season, and I hope that holds well into January.

The first flock that looked "goosy" (as my dad describes groups that are willing to come to the rig) looked at our bias ply tires and silhouette decoy spread, and even seemed impressed with our calling.  They circled several times, before making one final pass which allowed my father to call the shot.  From left to right Agent Parsimonous, myself, and my father stood up to take our bead and our shots.  The salvo opens!

BANG! pump BANG! pump BANG! pump, SHIT!  I had missed on all three of my shots.  My father to my right missed his (or hit it and the goose refused to fold).  AGENT Parsimonious to the rescue!  One bird down, and I resume blowing on my call profusely to bring the flock back.  Kudos to the birds for knowing when in danger, the best thing to do is fly away.  Reloaded and confusion settled, time to get the dog to retrieve the bird.  No wonder I missed, as the dog had to hike her butt a good 65~70 yards to make the retrieval, but to her credit, she came back, bird in mouth!  Good dog Holly, good girl!  Note to shooter:  MORE LEAD STUPID! 

Bird retrieval completely and situation returned to nominal, the three of us settled back into the routine of talking, telling stories, and watching the various flights of geese far off on the horizon.  Next thing we know, we're feverishly attempting to call in another group.  Dad is quietly giving instructions on how much to call and how much to listen, as well as tracking the birds through the intensely blinding sunlight.  As the birds circle we hear, "This time, I want them to come into the decoys, let them come final."  We waited for the shot to be called, but alas, it would never come.  The birds flew right over our heads, with no volley, only to turn around and land into the wind about 110 yards from the blind.

Decoys in foreground, the invaders afar!

"Well great, now what?!"  The calls go silent, and so do the birds.  It's a standoff!  No one moves.  AP and myself start chuckling quietly as neither of us have ever seen such a sight before.  It was humorous and neat in that we did our job, only that it wasn't a complete success.  My dad shakes his head and says "I'm gonna have to move those birds."  Not wanting to let them sit there and eat out the field, or ruin our chances at getting another flock to the blind, it was necessary to move the birds.  Doggy up!  She goes for the birds, only for the stinkers to move about 25 yards further out.  "Good dog Holly," my father shouts.  "Guess I've got to go out there and help," and finally the invaders departed.

Departing from our high ground, the invaders are forced to leave.

In all, it was a great hunt and when you consider I didn't even make a shot on a goose last season, I was certainly excited by the flocks that were attracted to our rig.  Hopefully this will be a good start to the rest of the season!  I can't wait for the next hunt, and neither can the dog! 

1 comment:

  1. Two explanations to this story...

    First, an apology for the crappy pictures as they were taken from a crumby cell phone camera and the best that I could do for the situation.

    Second, Agent Parsimonious. Parsimonious is a nice word for cheap, an adjective appropriately given to my father by AP himself. Hope that makes better sense to the readers!