Goose Hunt, 9/14-15 2013

     I met up with my brother for a weekend of goose hunting in Otsego County, NY. Things got off to a bit of a rough start upon my arrival on Friday evening. About 30 minutes before sunset I ran into complications with setting up the blind. A few critical, load-bearing pieces of the frame needed to be screwed into place and I had forgotten to pack my cordless drill. I was able to borrow one, but neglected to check the battery. It was dead. I ended up having to get up earlier than usual to get the blind put together and drape it in camo burlap. At 5:30 am I was nearly done and realized I didn’t have enough burlap. I had to hustle off into the woods to poach some from a ground blind to finish it off. I met up with Dave, my hunting partner and brother, at 6:20. We got our modest spread of decoys set and were ready to go by 7. After roughly an hour of calling, listening and milling around we got some birds to come in.

Four Canadas, taken 9/15/13. Not bad for a pair of novice goose hunters.

     The first flight, six or seven birds, buzzed us and kept on going. Immediately following them were three more and they approached nicely. We got one, which we were mighty proud of considering we are both beginning goose hunters, myself more so than Dave. Approximately half an hour after our initial success we had a pair come in good and close and we got both of them. Our luck continued into late morning when a lone goose came winging in from quite a distance, high up and slowly descending as it approached. With wings set it looked like a done deal until it gave indications of flaring and we elected to take our chances with the bird barely in range. We got him.
      One of the morning’s highlights came when Dave reached down to pick up an empty shell laying next to the decoy bag our birds were under. A loud “honk!” emanated from under the bag and a bird that had been shot twice and had it’s neck wrung thirty minutes prior skittered out at a remarkable clip. It ran past me and since I was closer to the goose than my gun I made a respectable tackle in spite of stumbling at the last minute and slamming the right side of my head on the ground. I had always heard that geese were tough but wasn’t prepared for just how tough they actually are.
     By morning’s end we had four geese and were quite pleased with ourselves. The birds came in to the decoys just as they are supposed to and we had plenty of shots well within range. There were some misses mixed in as well but we were ecstatic with our accomplishment. We didn’t hunt the afternoon/evening due to having maintenance work to do on the cabin and some tree stands, but Sunday morning found us out before sunrise getting set up for another hunt.
     There was no wind to speak of on this morning and it was blowing in the opposite direction from yesterday, requiring a repositioning of the blind. I was none too keen about this since the blind was not held together very well and moving it could very well destroy it. But it had to be done. We carried it about 100 yards and all went well until we set it down. It got jostled a bit and some of the screws pulled out, resulting in a total collapse. But the situation was salvaged on account of my having retained the borrowed cordless drill. We got the frame reassembled and reattached the burlap and commenced to calling. Moments later we were diving into the blind as a flight of three Canadas flew in. We shot them all easily. Action was spotty for the next hour and a half and we ended up with a single to make a total of four for the morning. We were quite pleased.

The results of day 2. Four birds and two happy hunters.

     As we got our birds taken care of before packing up and heading home we exchanged thoughts on what worked and what didn’t. We discussed the merits of tackling crippled birds versus shooting them and congratulated each other on our success. We parted ways having agreed that we should definitely do it again next year. I couldn’t have had a better introduction to goose hunting.


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