I’m just trying to get caught up here so I’ll throw a bunch of hunts in the same post. After our moderate success from the week before, I figured we would have some really good hunts this week. Several factors played into this. 1. There were starting to be a lot of snow geese 2. They were coming in earlier than usual, meaning outfitters didn’t have hunts booked and hunters coming up from the US on their own weren’t around either. 3. Harvest had had a slow start, leaving very few fields for the geese to go to, giving us a higher concentration. 9/16: We left them alone on Monday for some unknown reason. I scouted and found them going on a pea field about 7-8 miles out of town. There was quite a few on the field and I got permission to hunt it easily enough. My little brother did not want to hunt as he had been working long hours. I thought he should come hunting as the field that he would be combining that day was the next field over. He could have literally got out of the blind, walked 400 yards to his tractor and started greasing it for the day. Oh well, his loss. So it was just me and my dad and we knew that we should easily be able to limit out on the snows, even though we had never limited out on snows. We knew that this was likely the only year we would be able to do this as I have heard rumours that the daily limit for snow geese will likely go up from 20 to 50 in the near future, leaving a daily limit pretty much unattainable. We set up our 150 sillosocks in the middle of the pea field surround about 10 yards of tall grass to set up our blinds in. The geese were flying over 15 minutes before light. Luckily the first ones to try landing were right at legal light and we opened up on them. What followed was up to that point our best day of hunting ever as flight after flight piled into the decoys, direction not mattering as the wind was pretty much nil. We were getting close and did a count, 36. We knew we had one down further away, so dad went to get it and I sat in the blind waiting for 3 more geese which I was able to shoot by the time dad returned with the other goose and the truck. As we were picking up, the geese were still trying to land, just about hitting the truck in the process (well not quite, but probably flew within 15 feet of it, only 6 feet off the ground) We added 4 ducks to our tally of 40 snows. Here is the obligatory 4-0 picture… I’ve always thought these pictures kind of tacky, so I’ll probably only do it once in my lifetime.
9/17: I found a good concentration of snow geese going on a barley field. Some coing from an adjacent slough and some from a bigger marsh a couple miles away. Dad and Aaron declined to hunt this day due to various reasons. So I called a good hunting buddy (David) to see if he and his boys wanted to come. Only one of his boys (Zachary) came so we had 3 of us hunting. It was a foggy, low cloud day. The geese were piling into the decoys, landing next to us about 10 minutes before legal light. Finally we were able to shoot. We knocked quite a few down before the dad started having trouble with his firing pin on his shotgun refusing to fire. That left me and his 13 year old son to fill all 3 limits. I tried my best and probably knocked down 35 birds before I ran out of shotgun shells and then forced him to use my gun to finish out the hunt. Zachary tried his best and knocked enough down, but there were a few times, when, he *ahem” forgot to cycle his shotgun or finish loading the magazine after shooting. I heard a few clicks the next flights that came over. It was kind of funny, as he was not completely and properly loaded for probably 3 flights in a row. By the time we had to pick up and go to work we had shot 54 snows and 7 ducks. Had his shotgun worked that morning we would have had no problem filling our limit. Highlight of the morning for me was knocking down 4 with 3 shots. It was one of the most intense hunts I have had, rivalled only by pheasant hunts in ND where 15 guys limit out in 8 minutes…
9/18: So the next day, my buddy, Seth (the one trying to get some goose to supplement his deer meat in the freezer) was off and ready to hunt. I had the one land owner telling me I could hunt his land whenever and he had just finished combining a half section of barley the night before next to the big roost and the geese were filling the field even before he was finished combining. The wind was not good for this hunt as it was coming pretty much from the roost, meaning they would have to go past us and then come back to us. Not the conditions for an awesome hunt, but I knew it would still be good. 4 of us set up that morning, my little brother joining us as well as Seth’s brother, Jesse (the one that split his pants earlier in the year on a hunt 🙂 ). Once again, the geese were landing amongst us as we waited for legal light. We had good shooting early, but as it got lighter the geese were going past us and then swinging to go at a right angle to us and few decided to come into us. We had enough to keep in interesting though, but nothing compared to the previous 2 mornings. We had several flights of Canadas come over us low that changed it up a bit and we managed to shoot 5 of them. WE were able to get 58 snows between the 4 of us, before we had to pack up and head to work (well, 3 of us anyways)
9/20: So after 2 days we headed back at it. I had found a barley field with a good number of snow geese on it and we set up on it. By this time, there was starting to be a few trucks and trailers driving around and the birds were starting to be hunted more. The first field I had wanted to hunt was taken. Again 4 of us set up, me, my dad, and 2 other buddies. True to form, the snow geese were there to test our endurance before legal light. Once legal light came and the shooting started, the geese started landing a couple hundred yards north of us, but lots of smaller flights started hopping over to us. I noticed a truck pulling into the field and start coming along the edge about 400 yards away from us. I could hear shooting north of us and figured that he was probably sent by an outfitter to spook the geese back to their setup to liven their hunt up a bit. I was not impressed. We discussed a few options, but he finally drove out and left us alone. It was not going to be my only encounter with impolite, inconsiderate hunters that day. As the morning progressed, I pulled out my camera to try filming. I quickly realized that my digital camera was not suited for it and that my cell phone was a lot better. Here is a clip from my camera of a goose that I had to roll out of the way of.
Here is a clip from my cell phone.
We will refrain from posting more video from that morning due to embarrassment… Final tally from the morning was 62 snow geese.
Evening: I wanted to see what was happening in the evening and wanted to see if I could get a nice blue goose. I got permission to hunt a field down there and when I got there it was covered as it the snow geese were using it as their afternoon roost. I snuck into a corner of the field and set up for the evening. I was just about done when 2 trucks and trailers came barreling into the middle of the field scaring half the geese and started setting up about 300 yards from me. After talking to the landowner a few days after, he said he told them they could only hunt it if I wasn’t hunting it. They knew what I was driving, had already passed me and had to come back past my parked truck which was visible from the road… Well I was determined to not let them outshoot me even though it was a slow evening. I had very few birds come to my spread as they had to pass the other guys first, but I made good on the ones that came my way. I took a total of 12 shots, getting 7 geese and only 2 more made it past me. They probably ended up with 20 between about 5 guys and a pile of shooting, so I felt I had outdone them. I have no idea if they felt that way or not. Thus ended our best week of snow goose hunting. The next weeks would entail trucks, trailers, and hunters from everywhere. Our tally over 4 days was 237 birds, over 18 birds per person a day. Needless to say, freezers were starting to fill up.