Monday, December 27, 2010

On the X ; December 26th 2010

Twas the day after Christmas and stuffed throughout the truck,
were shotgun shells, blind bags, and essential goose hunting muck.
I was behind the wheel with Timber perched in the back,
looking onward toward the field where the geese would get wacked.

Weather Conditions: N winds blowing from between 10 - 15mph, with gusts upward of 30+ mph. Snow flurries, overcast skies, and temperatures starting off in the upper teens in the morning.

The scouting for this hunt started on the 23rd of December, where I watched about a hundred or so geese feeding along the northern portions of the property. With the Christmas holiday, and family obligations to come first, the actual hunting portion of the hunt didn't take place until a few days later. With no drastic changes in the weather, and no other hunting pressure on this spot, I was hopeful that the birds would keep to their feeding and flight patterns.

So, with that being the case we actually slept in a bit, and didn't wake up at 0' dark thirty in the morning to set decoys in the dark. Our trucks were driving into the cut corn field by about 8:00am, with some quick work we had the layout blinds, and decoy spread set up and ready to go in under an hour.

Mike & Timber waiting on the flights of geese
It wasn't much after that we were standing around BS'ing like usual. I had no sooner poured a cup of coffee, and raised the steaming thermos lid to my lips, when over the treetops the first flight of birds were spotted. Oh shit, GEESE!!! Everybody dove into their blinds, covered up, and readied themselves.

These birds were committed to landing in this field from the time they first opened their eye lids and took flight from their roost. A few clucks was all the calling that was done, and their wings were set. In just a matter of minutes there were already birds on the ground, with our tally being only one bird short of our daily limit. 5 birds down, only 1 to go. It wasn't much longer before more birds were on their way in, however it would be a little bit longer before we finally finished. Apparently the next flight of birds were either bullet proof, or the shells I was shooting weren't properly packed with shot because nothing fell from the sky after my next attempt. I mean, what fun would it be if we finished that quickly anyways. Might as well make it a little dramatic for all the work we did setting up the decoys. Not much later through, I was presented with another opportunity and made good.

They're locked in on us now boys!!!

Wait for it, wait for it....
TAKE 'EM!!!!
We all agreed to stick it out for about another hour, hoping that one of the future flights of geese would have some greenheads in tow. That never turned out to be the case, but we did get to enjoy the spectacle of what it's like to be on the "X" for that hunt. Geese flew in steadily from just before 9:00am that morning until we were driving out of the field with our trucks once again loaded down with decoys at around 11:30am.

I'll let the field rest for a few days and then hit it hard again later in the week. Hopefully we can put together another hunt like this one again!!

Eric, Me, and Mike after a great hunt.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Second Split opener 12/11/10

We decided to hunt the big cut corn field for the second split opener. Not because the scouting turned up piles of birds sitting in the field day in , and day out, but because it's in a location that gives you a chance to draw birds from all directions. The scouting efforts, in fact, only had birds in this field on Tuesday the 7th, and nothing that I saw after that. So, rather than wake up at 3:00am to go out and battle other hunters for possible spots on the Public waters, we made the call to go to the field.

The weather for the day changed from clear skies and zero wind early on, to an overcast sky that finally produced enough breeze to make the spread move, before clearing again and bringing back the blue bird skies. Winds were out of the South, South East for the entire hunt. Temperatures were in the upper 20's to start the day, but climbed with the southern wind into the lower 40's by the time we were driving out of the field.

Bird movement was mostly out of the south, with only two groups of birds that we spotted coming from the north. One was a group of migrating geese flying waaaay high at 8:15am, one hour after legal shooting light. We did manage to get spotted by them, but the appearance of the decoy spread we laid out in the pre-dawn darkness wasn't enough to make them drop from the heavens and into shooting range. Another big wad of ducks came though from the north and spotted us all standing in the decoys, stretching our legs and sipping coffee, instead of laying low in our blinds. We didn't get a look from them either.

Most of the huntable birds in the area took to the air between 9:30am and 11:00am, with some large groups of geese heading north east of the spot we were located. Hopefully some scouting in that direction this week will turn up the location of their buffet, and possibly land us a new field to hunt.

All in all we had a good hunt, with the jump shot of a lone Ruddy duck from the pond, as well as a few geese that committed to the landing hole and didn't end up leaving. Timber did well too, not breaking on the geese that we called in and let land in the spread while the remainder of their group circled one more time before locking their wings, dropping their feet and following the same course. With about six or seven birds on the ground, feeding only ten to fifteen feet from our layout blinds, and nothing else in the air that was working, I called out "Kill 'em!!" to the group as we let chaos break loose. There's nothing like it!!

Yeah, we should of had a few more geese to take home, and probably some mallards too. But, that's why it's called hunting I guess. All in all a good time was had by everybody, and that's really what it's all about.