Hunting Stories

Early Goose Hunt 07

The last time I hunted geese was during the late Dec. season in the Horicon Intensive Zone at least 10 years ago before I had Beau and Scout.  Those hunts were entirely different then the one shown here.  Back then decoys and lay out blinds were not part of my arsenal.  I'd find a spot the geese were working, build a make shift blind, sit and wait hoping to get a couple shots.  Things changed for the better when my nephew Dennis called in the AM. of Sept. 6th. asking if I'd be interested in coming down to Wausau in the morning for a hunt with him and his friend Eric.  Dennis wanted to see if one of my poodles was capable of retrieving a goose.  Both Eric and Dennis own German Wirehaired Pointers.  Limited to taking one dog I chose Scout, Beau would have to wait for another time. 

Eric had recently purchased a large enclosed trailer.  Between Eric and Dennis they had it loaded with full body goose decoys and 5 lay out blinds.  Dennis assured me Eric had scouted a spot where geese would be sure to show up but had to wait until that evening to contact the land owner for permission.   I told Dennis I would be there pending his call confirming permission, time, and place to meet.  I didn't hear back until 8:15 PM. that evening with instructions to be at the Quick Mart gas station at 4:30 AM.  That's 70 miles south meaning I needed to set the alarm for 2:45 AM and immediately headed for the sack.  

I didn't get much sleep waiting for the alarm to go off.   A quick cup of coffee at the Quick Mart woke me up a bit just as Dennis and Eric pulled in.  I followed them on back roads not having a clue where we ended up.  Once at the spot Eric said if anyone asks tell them we hunted in Michigan.  Eric backed up Dennis's story saying he had watched 75-100 geese come into the field at 7:15 AM. the previous morning.  Eric drove out into the field as Dennis walked ahead, flashlight in hand, looking for goose droppings at the spot Eric said most of the geese had landed---the field was huge.   There was plenty of sign along with lots of left over corn on the ground that had just been harvested.  Now I was really looking forward to sunup and the sound of incoming geese.

We put out about 30 decoys with the lay out blinds right in the middle.  I practiced getting Scout to lay at my side in the blind with the flaps closed.  At first he wasn't sure what to think about me pulling the flaps down over him.  However, it was easy to get him to lay down inside and relax.  Dennis made sure I had him on a lead attached to the blind.  I felt confident he wouldn't break but didn't argue.  I was surprised at how comfortable and roomy the blind was, even with Scout next to me.

By 6:30 AM we had parked the vehicles far enough away so as not to spook the geese, walked back, crawled in our blinds, loaded up #2, 3 inch steel, and settled down to wait.  Now I was really pumped with anticipation and not worried in the least that Scout would disappoint me.

One honk was all we heard as a small flock of 7 geese cleared the trees a quarter mile away headed straight at us.  They passed to our left out of sight.  I was severely temped to crank my head around to see if they would turn back but resisted.   Almost immediately I heard the sound of air whistling through wing beats and saw to my amazement geese landing not more then 10 yards in front of us.  Eric said something but nothing happened.  Earlier Dennis had made it clear we would all wait for him to make the call.  Two seconds later he did and the blind flaps flew open. All the geese were air born instantly before any shooting started.   My first shot I know missed. Geese however were falling like rocks.  I took my time for the second shot and dropped the goose I had picked out.  I'm not sure what happed on my third, hard to tell if I hit or missed.  One lone goose made it out of range but made the fatal mistake of circling back behind to my right.  I tried a left handed shot with no chance.  Eric's pass shot, a dandy, at an easy 50 yards did the job.  One goose was up walking, headed for nearby cover.  It took two shots to finish the job.

Now Scout was trying darned hard to get out of the blind.  Dennis was right.  He wasn't waiting to be sent.  I hit the snap release and he was gone.  He piled into the first goose he came to, grabbed it up and headed back wide open.  He didn't wait to deliver to hand while I was fiddling around trying hard to get out my camera.  He dropped it right next to my blind and took off for another goose.  By this time I was ready and got a couple pictures of his second ever goose retrieve.  He did deliver that one to hand.

None of the dogs had noticed the last goose that Eric dropped go down a long way behind us.  I kind of had an idea where it might be.  It sure wasn't visible.  I lined Scout up for a blind retrieve.  He went perpendicular across the corn stubble rather then angled as I had lined him but stopped dead 60 yards out on my whistle.  I cast him left over, no voice.  He took off down the corn row, saw the goose and made a nice one whistle blind retrieve. 

When we counted up what we had it came to 7.  We had the entire flock in the bag.  By 9:30 AM it looked like the shooting for the day was over.   Nothing else showed up.  We took pictures, picked up and headed for the barn.  I was one happy poodle owner.  Scout made me proud; did a great job.   Both Dennis and Eric agreed. 





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