Thursday, August 21, 2008
Going The Distance . . . pt. 2
We have worked our tails off by the time we get our modest spread of goose decoys in the water. Now we keep our fingers crossed that the water will stay open for awhile. This is challenging hunting for sure and patience is important. Even more difficult is continuing to keep the ice chunks out of your open spot. The river is still flowing, so anything that gets a hold of decoy lines can be trouble. Thus making your decoys look more like cord wood than decoys.
Anyhow, we gave each other a big pat on the back and a, "I can't believe we did that" look then began to settle in. We were tired, and rightfully so. We'd just dragged a 10' Jon boat down a 1/4 mi. snow covered dike, with all the trimmings in it for a river goose hunt.
The sky was overcast and the air temp around freezing. Quite balmy for a January day on the Klamath River. We were comfortable laying in the tule's at the edge of the river. All we had to cover ourselves was some camo burlap. Just across the way in the fields the geese were really chatting it up, and I was getting that warm feeling all over anticipating the fruits of our efforts. It was about mid afternoon and we heard wing beats and before we knew it, the convention across the river was breaking up. It wasn't more than 20 minutes after we had our little patch of open water that we had geese trying to land in it.
We both had our faces covered making it tough to see what the geese were doing, and who was going to give the signal to shoot. Well, needless to say it all worked out just fine. The first small flock doing a fly by, made the mistake of swinging over the river dike for their final approach. We could hear their wing feathers cutting through the air and especially those that were a bit out of place or worn. We rolled, jumped up simultaneously and fired 5 shots and had 5 dead geese on the dike immediately behind us. Larry dropped them quicker than I could believe and and not a single cripple. WOW! I knew it would work, I just knew it! I was thrilled beyond belief and we were well on our way to our daily possession limit. It just about seemed to easy. Last thing you want to do is have to retrieve a goose out on the river ice somewhere. So, we timed our shots so as to attempt to drop them over the dike or fields immediately behind us. We kept our dogs at the cabin cause conditions were sketchy at best. I didn't do much calling, just enough to let them know which direction to get to open water. The next group came and we had our limits. It was the most economical hunt that I had had in a long time.
We were grinning from ear to ear and Larry had now experienced a goose hunt of a lifetime. Re invigorated from our success we began the careful process of retrieving the decoys. Getting the boat on the ice pointed in the right direction, with the rope tied between the boat and head gate in the ditch behind us. Larry carefully scooted the boat towards the open water then gets in it and continues to inch his way over the ice to the decoys. Using a combination of the oars and mall to get there while I keep a semi taught line from the bank. The ice is slicker now from the first time that the boat was pulled over it from the open water. Larry carefully slips the boat into the water and picks up the decoys. He gets to the edge of the ice and I give it the old heave ho and get'em on top and pull him on in. That was the easy part. Relieved that it went smoothly, we drag the boat over the dike top into the ditch behind us and stow the gear for the night.
Now the walk back to the truck. . . again. Only this time with 4 Canada Geese each. It was just about pitch black when we finally got to the truck, tired, hungry and even a bit amazed with our efforts. We grabbed a quick meal and some more coffee, then began plucking etc. It was 11 p.m. before we finished processing the 8 geese. I was starting to get more than a bit stoved up and was wishing I hadn't quit drinking the firewater. We were both exhausted, totally spent and I knew we'd be paying for it tomorrow. After all, this was only day one of our 3 day hunt. Larry was feeling it too. I guess Tylenol pm will have to do for now.
Don't go to far, Pt. 3 is on its way!
Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt