The story I am going to share with you all is perhaps the most dedicated, die hard, insane and fruitful wild goose chases, I have ever had the pleasure of participating in.
The following events took place at a location known as Lowlands, in the Klamath Basin of southern Oregon. My good friend Larry and I set out on a cold morning to hunt geese in early January of 2004.
There was quite a bit of snow and the flooded fields, as well as most of the ditches were froze up. The local waterfowl population was long gone by now and only migrating Canada Geese were in the vicinity. We decided to take some goose shells with us for the field and we'd give it a try, in hopes the river might not be completely frozen. We broke trail through the foot deep snow for about a quarter mile or so before getting to the river. Well, there were geese across the river in the fields, although the entire Klamath River was frozen solid. Ummm, as we hunkered in after setting up our field shells I kept thinking to myself, "all we need is open water". Eventually I began repeating this out loud to Larry. The geese were pressured to find open water and need to drink on a daily basis. They can go days without food if they have to, but not water.
Because of all the snow we were unable to drive to the river and bring the Jon boat. So with much encouragement and enthusiasm I was able to convince Larry that what we had to do would be worth the effort. We headed back the same dike we came out and stepping in the" post holes" we'd made 2 hours earlier. We got back to the main road, jumped in the truck and headed up the hill to the cabin. We each grabbed a really strong cup of coffee, and began the checklist for our mission.
Life jackets? check
200' rope? check
8lb. splitting mall? check
Plug in boat? check
5 G and H floating goose decoys? check
Goggles/ eye protection? ? ?
Sanity? ? ?
We loaded the 10' Jon boat in the truck with all the gear and set off on our mission. Got back to the dike, parked and unloaded the boat with the gear in it when reality began to set in. "We're really going to do this, aren't we"? I was beginning to think I might have bit off more than I could chew this time. With the boat loaded, on the snow covered dike we commenced to drag it to the river. Larry was on point pulling and I was in the rear pushing with my head down hoping to stay in our tracks. We stopped a few times in order to keep shedding layers as we were really sweating buckets. The temperature was warming rapidly and the snow was sticking to the boat worse each time we stopped. It took us 40 min. to get there, but we made it! With a collective sigh we rested a few minutes, and listened to the geese chatting across the river. I was relieved they were still there.
Safety is always first when you do this sort of hunting. My mall has a whole drilled through the end of the handle just for the purpose of tethering it to the boat. (We've lost a few malls). The rope was our safety line between shore and the boat and always wear a life jacket when breaking ice on a river. It took awhile to get enough ice broke and cleared to set out our floating decoys. Larry did most of the ice busting and clearing, as it was about 4 inches thick and I was barely making a dent. Yes, these are the extremes to which a die hard dedicated huntress and hunter will go through for the opportunity to shoot a wild goose.
With a modest puddle of open water about 40 feet off the bank with 5 G and H floaters in it, I was feeling more optimistic by the minute. We had gone far and above the average hunters efforts, and I had a real strong hunch the pay off was just a field away.
Part 2 later this week.
Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt