Monday, January 12, 2009

Wild Goose Chase

There has been a warm front here in Oregon for the past week and a half which is helping melt the the snow and ice. So I am becoming a little more optimistic that I can return to Lowlands for an attempt to hunt Canada Geese.

I don't know if there are many, if any in the area of where I hunt. Yet as the saying goes, "you won't know unless you go" means that I will venture south for a firsthand survey and at the very least go for some long walks with Jet. She is thoroughly bored with lounging around and I am missing being in the field. When I last departed Lowlands it was in early December after the first Arctic Blast had hit and everything froze up tighter than a drum. Including the cabin pipes and I am still a bit anxious about what I'll find when I get there.

The Klamath River has a ribbon of open water now, more so in the middle of the river with shelf ice extending out 20 or more yards from the banks. These are extremely dangerous conditions for all parties. I have hunted the river during these conditions although only with a hunting partner and not alone. Hunting in these conditions by myself requires me to be very selective in my shot choices. I have to have the bird land anywhere but on the river ice and it needs to be dead. If it is crippled and lands close enough to the river to get on the ice before I get to it, than I've lost that bird. I will not send Jet onto the ice, because the risk is just to great. Each year hunters lose their four legged companions when they break thorough ice or sieze up when swimming in icey waters. Nothing short of tragic.

Mostly it would be passing shots at Goldeneyes and other divers. Scaup is now closed for the season here. Anyhow, we all know how far those divers can carry after they've been shot. Seen them skip on the water and sail another 20 or 30 feet just from their momentum. I may get lucky and have a few flyovers that I can drop on the river dike. That would be great and Jet would be ecstatic! Often when there have been geese around the area I have set my G and H shells in the field just behind the river dike and then hunkered in the ditch 20 feet from the river's edge. Waiting for the geese to swing over the open water and take a look at the decoys. Usually the hunting pressure has eased a bit and the geese are less wary and in range. Even if the geese don't like my set or aren't interested in landing in the field they often will set in the river. It is between these two zones that presents a small window of opportunity.

I have spent many a chilly late season days laying in ditches listening for the distant call of wild geese and I miss being there. Often all it has yielded me was a cold backside and a long day of solitude. Watching Ravens, Magpies, Hawks, Eagles, Marsh Wrens and the occasional Vole scurrying about. Listening to the pack of dogs that lives across the river bark and the cows mooing when feeding time approaches. With my calls hanging around my neck I cusp my hand around my Iverson call and give it some wind making sure I haven't lost my touch. The call sounds good to me, just hope I get to do some calling for real. As I lay there reminiscing about past goose hunts I am still optimistic. It's all about putting your time in and being in the right place. Knowing this keeps my optimism up, cause eventually the odds will swing in my favor when the two line up. Being in the right place at the right time. Until those lines merge I am only paying my dues and it is with this knowledge I embark on another wild goose chase.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt


The Hunter's Wife said...

It is dangerous to be out on the icy waters. We just had a rescue near us for an ice fisherman that feel through the ice. Thankfully they were able to save him.

Tom Sorenson said...

Good luck - and for the record, that is a beautiful picture.

Terry Scoville said...

Hunter's Wife, I am glad the rescue was a total success. Just the thought of what can go wrong when hunting in icey conditions, makes me tuck my tail and cringe.

Thanks Tom.

Blessed said...

Good luck on your wild goose chase - I can't hardly bring myself to hunt in icy conditions (unless it's in a marsh that we know really well and know isn't deep) a few years ago one of the members of our retriever training club lost his life when he went out on lake ice to rescue his dog who had broken through while trying to retrieve a downed snow goose - the dog and his master never made it home. All the man's friends that were with him tried to stop him but he wouldn't listen, fortunately they immediately called for help and didn't try to save him themselves - we could have lost three or four friends instead of just one. That tragedy that close to home really makes you think three times before you go out hunting on the ice.

Terry Scoville said...

Thanks Blessed, so sorry to hear about the accident and the tragic loss of man and his best friend.

I have trained Jet to stay off ice, even if I know it isn't very deep. I am all to happy to keep my little feet on terra firma. It is not worth it and so sad when tragedy strikes.
More common sense and a healthy dose of apprehension can go a long ways.

troutbirder said...

My goose hunting was limited to a pond on a very small creek. The Mississippi backwaters is where the waterfowl hunters and ice fisherman find it treacherous here.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you spend more time in the outdoors than I do, I'm almost jealous.

Good luck to you and like Tom said, I really like the picture.

Terry Scoville said...

Well Rick I'm not out there yet, but hope to be sooner rather than later!

NorCal Cazadora said...

Good luck out there!

Live to Hunt.... said...

Hope the hunt goes well Terry. I know you'll have a great time no matter what. Take good care!

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