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Monday, January 10, 2011

Startin' the New Year with a BANG!!! January 1, 2011

With the pounding that the geese in my neck of the woods have been taking it was time to let things settle back down again, and hunt on some new ground. My hunting buddy Mike lives in an area that's also holding good amounts of birds right now, and he's got a field that provided a 3 man limit of geese in about 45 minutes the day before. With the New Year coming in the next day, we decided to give it a go, and test out skills for a 5 man hunt.
Nice way to start off the New Year with a 5 man limit of Canadas.

Weather Conditions: Wet. Really, really wet. Any muddy. Temperatures for the day started with early morning low right at freezing, before topping out in the afternoon in the mid 50's. Winds were steady for the most part out of the SSW, but only pushing around 10mph. Barometric pressure measured in at 29.98, with the forecast calling for a chance of thunderstorms.

I had a light drizzle hitting the windshield on the drive over in the early morning darkness, but it wasn't really enough rain to make me think twice. Only enough to have the wipers on their lowest setting, just to keep things clean. Besides, misery loves company, and it seems like the more miserable the weather the better company the birds keep. As the truck is rolling down the road, I'm watching the other cars out there as well, wondering if I'm the only sober person behind the wheel at this time of the night.... errr morning. A couple people on the roads seemed to confirm my thoughts.

We grouped up at Eric's place, exchanged smiles, firm hand shakes and well wishes for a Happy New Year, checked out some of the taxidermy in progress in Eric's shop for a bit, then introduced another new hunter to the addiction that we call goose hunting. (I gotta say, was definitely surprised to see that my buck is almost done, that made the trip over worth it for me!) Time to fill my truck with a few more layout blinds and what ever decoys we can stuff into the back. Everybody hopped into the vehicles and we were off for the field by about 6:30am.

The set up that morning was in a cut bean field. Not much in the way of cover, so we took a rake along with us to help gather the remaining bean stubble, then blended in the blinds to try and breakup any outlines. Trying to hide 5 guys and a dog in a cut bean field is not an easy task, but when you're where the birds want to be, and the weather conditions are right you can get away with a little more.

It was a steady stream of geese from the moment legal light came about, but there were more hunters than anticipated in the same area, and hunting pretty close, if not on, the roost. That kinda complicated things a bit. Smaller groups of birds were giving us looks, and occasionally committing, but it was evident that we were gonna have to earn the birds today. A few changes to the decoy spread after the wind moved on us a bit, and that seemed to help seal the deal. The rains came down of course, shortly after we set up in the field, but when the geese are cupping their wings, dropping their feet, and trying to land on top of your blind the annoyance of a wet ass seems to disappear.

Once again we were in the right place, or at least pretty damn close to it, at the right time, and under the right conditions to make for a great hunt! Our 5 man limit came with some great effort put forth by everybody. It's a lot of work doing what we do, and for only being able to take 2 birds at that. But if you hunt, then you know it's not about the number of limits you take, or the meat in the freezer, those are just a bonus. It's about the experience, the adrenaline, the heart-pounding surge you feel when you're in the moment. There's nothing like it that....

Too wet to take the camera out to the field, L to R: Rob, Eric, Mike, Timber, Sean, and Andy.     

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