After waiting for a week or better for the snow geese to come in force, I was extremely eager to hunt them the day after they finally showed up. This in spite of the fact that it had been raining for 4 days and was supposed to continue raining another day before the sun finally broke through again.
Despite the gloomy forecast, soggy fields and cool temperatures, I headed out to drive some roads to see what I could find. Shortly into my scout, I realized that the roads were really soggy and I took a dirt road I shouldn’t have. I just about didn’t get out of there. First thought: I don’t think the 4×4 is fixed on the truck.
Armed with the vital knowledge that things were definitely wetter than I thought, I was forced to avoid roads I normally travel on a regular basis. Of course Murphy guaranteed that the biggest flocks of snow geese were located down those roads. The easiest field with birds on it to access was located a mere mile away from hunters already set up in a field. I realized it would be likely pointless to get permission there with other hunters staring them down across the road.
After a quick drive around on what roads that were passable, I decided that the best chance was on a field off of the main grid kitty corner to a field that was occupied by a large flock. I started making plans and lining up some guys to come along. Like flies, they kept dropping out: Little Brother, football game in the afternoon, needs his sleep; Dad, too wet and muddy; family friend David and his son Zachary, had to get a service job finished on a truck in the morning; my buddy Jesse, “Ya I looked at the forecast. And there is no way I’m getting up at 5. Sorry I’m a wus. With weather like this id need to be payed.” After a quick look in my wallet, I realized I couldn’t afford him to come along. At that point in time, I had already loaded my trucks with decoys, hooked up the trailer and quad and had psyched myself up for hunting in the rain and mud. I figured there was no backing out.
4:40 came at the usual time the next morning: way too early. Knowing that I had set up my spread by myself, I got dressed quickly, grabbed my wallet, phone and my gear and headed out the door.
I was in the field about 10 after 5 with legal light around 6:05. I quickly loaded up the trailer and hooked it to the quad and headed out. I set up my spread as quickly as possible, I set up a few flyers as well even though there was no wind to speak of. I then set up my e-caller and reached in my pocket for my ipod. “Hmm, not in my pants pockets, must be in my jacket, nope not there either. I had it all set together with my phone and wallet, oh right: I decided not to get it right then as I figured it could stand about 5 minutes more charging…” After a couple of minutes wondering whether I should go back to get it, I hit on a plan. I phoned my wife (who likely hadn’t gotten to sleep yet again) and asked her to transfer a few of my snow goose mp3’s into our dropbox account so that I could get them on my phone and use it instead. A few minutes later my hunt was saved as they showed up on my phone.
I was ready to go with about 10 minutes to spare. A few ducks started buzzing by right before legal light and I too a few cracks at them when it was legal, knocking down a couple. About 15 minutes after light, I started to get a few flights of geese coming over. despite my inaccuracy with the ducks zooming around, I started to knock the geese down with pretty good accuracy. I had 2 come in and took them both with 1 shot and the following flight of 4 I managed to knock down with 4 shots as the last one swung back around and gave me time to get another shell in my trusty Weatherby. I also managed to give myself a fat lip as one of the shots, I somehow was positioned wrongly on my stock (obviously) and had the stock recoil upwards into my face and send my lip into my tooth to be cut up. To add insult to injury, (or rather injury to injury) I did it again on a subsequent volley of shots. I did not realize how impressive it looked until at work later in the morning
All in all it was a good hunt with some good shooting. I did not have any snow geese come into the decoys, only Ross geese and the odd Canada flight flying over. I finished off with 12 Ross geese, 4 greenheads (although not yet green, some of them were showing a few green feathers) and 1 canada goose. I had gotten a slight reprieve from work and did not have to be in till 9, but wanted to have everything dropped off and birds cleaned before. I started picking up at 7:15 after an hour of shooting and was out of the field by 8 and cleaning geese at home by 8:15. I finished off cleaning the 17 birds in 15 minutes, cleaned up, dropped off the quad and trailer and was at work by 8:45.
First words from the 2 year-old when I walked in the door? “You’re dirty, we need to wash your clothes.”