Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Love the Smell of Gunpowder in the Morning

The weather broke into really nice days for snow geese.  Southerly winds, warm early spring temperatures, and clear skies prevailed.  The lake was totally open and additional floater decoys were in the water.  This would make the difference when the flight resumed.

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Amazed was the word when I arrived to the hunting spot.   No one was there, and I was going to have it all to myself.  Now this was good and bad.  It is always nice to have company, but it is safer to hunt with someone.   

By 9:30 the snow geese migration resumed with enormous high- flying flocks heading north riding on the strong south wind.  The high fliers were not going to decoy and I did not turn on the speakers.  The lower flocks that were less than 100 birds were susceptible.  More than one began to sail and break up from the V they were in.  By 11 AM, still no luck.

Around 11:30 a lone single dropped out of a flock.  With no hesitation it locked up and floated into the decoys on the water.  The bird just did not hesitate.  I have seen this with ducks, but this was the first time I have seen a snow goose do this.  Needless to say, the bird was toast before it hit the water. 

Wading out into the lake I could see large flocks of migrating snow geese heading north in all quadrants.  What was more amazing was the number of specks heading north.  I have seen speckled- belly geese in the thousands migrating north, but in the fall we rarely see any.  Either they go through at night or take a different southerly path in the fall. The stream was endless.  

Picking up the bird, I could see it was a very young. It was probably from a late hatch.  I had to quit staring around as there were more geese coming.  I won't shoot anything standing around in the water.

This process began to repeat itself about every fifteen to thirty minutes.  Large flocks at a relatively low altitude would fly over. Then they would begin to sail and the V would break up.  They would re-form again.  One to five birds would want to stop over at the spread for a drink. I was ready and "Old Betsy" was ready to bark.

I had been told by a friend to turn on the speakers to a call that had a sound like a low growl.  I was told this was a copy of snow geese in a field feeding.  It worked and I began to be able to pick off a bird periodically. 

By 3 PM I was done and the migration seemed to slow.  I picked up a nice mess of geese and went home.

I had mentioned earlier the massive flocks of speckled- belly geese that were seen.  The flocks of Canada geese were phenominal.  We have club members that put out nests for Canada geese, and there are thousands of local Canada geese.  Everywhere you drive year round you will see Canada geese.  In the fall they will come to the blind on opening day.  They learn quickly. Once their bottoms have been burned, they stay clear.  But these were migrators and they were in massive numbers.

In the fall the club's count of harvested Canada geese keeps climbing.  Maybe there will be spring season for Canadas in the future.

Great sales are taking place at all of the four outdoor companies listed on the website.  Cabela's has $5.00 shipping on orders over $150.00.  This ends Tuesday the 29th.  Orvis has it's annual hunting sale going on.  Click on the website and go to hunting clothing for some great deals.  Gander Mountain has new Apparel from North Face. Bass Pro has a Fishing Classic Online Sale. 

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

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