After getting my ducks in a row the other day regarding shipment of my new wide belt sander, Jet and I took off for an afternoon adventure.
I was so relieved to have gotten my sander ordered on the last day of 2009 for tax purposes that I was just beside myself and ready to celebrate. We headed south not far from home and checked in with a land owner for permission and to say thank you for letting us hunt on their property. While visiting with the land owner I gazed out the window to see a Canada Goose swimming non chalantly upstream next to the cut bank. Then I exclaimed my find in a controlled manner as much as I was able to and politely excused myself.
My pulse was racing and the adrenaline fully charged my system as I hurriedly walked to my truck to get Jet, gun, shells and coat. I was already wearing my breathable chest highs as I knew we'd be getting wet either from the snow, retrieving birds or both. This stretch of water is the Little Deschutes River and it is not a big river, although it runs deep and has a fair current to it with lots of oxbows. We had to negotiate several split rail fences to find clearance enough for Jet to go underneath. The bottom rails are less than a foot off the ground and Jet is a bit bigger than that, so we eventually found a higher rail for her to crawl under. Then I made the executive decision as to where we would sneak in hopes of jumping the goose or geese as I figured there would be at least 2, if not more. Seldom do geese hang out by themselves. So it was that we headed to a split rail fence that was within a foot of a high cut bank along the edge of the Little Deschutes. With the fence being as high as I am tall, I positioned my gun over the top rail and made my presence known. With as much surprise to myself as the geese I had snuck in on them right where they were. With wings flapping and bills honking I let go of both barrels knocking down first the larger of the two and then the smaller one. WOW, a double on honkers! That's doesn't happen every day and we were both thrilled.
Now comes the challenging part, retrieving them. The river had areas of ice extending out from the banks on both sides, with open water in the middle and a decent current too. I began to access my options and no sooner done, did I see jet drop down off the bank onto the ice and immediately break through. She was surprised and I moved into rescue mode. She was caught up between the vertical bank and ice without being able to touch the bottom. She was literally spinning vertical on her axis trying to get a hold of anything on the bank. I jumped in with my waders only at waste level and reached over to grab her and pulled her up the bank. Then got myself out and told her to stay! I then took my coat, vest off and got my waders as high as they would go. Then we began the retrieve in earnest. One goose was on the far bank itself and the other had drifted down river a bit and got hung up on the shelf ice. Jet was not going to stay while I went without her so, I grabbed her scruff and we waded across together. As we got to the shelf ice she was able to get her front feet up on it and I reached down and gave her a boost to get the rest of her up on the ice. I grabbed the first goose that got hunt up while she retrieved the smaller one on the bank. She was so proud of herself as she brought me the goose. Wagging from head to toe and looking like a pup again, if it weren't for the gray she now wears.
With both birds firmly in my left hand we began to cross back over. I grabbed her by the scruff and helped her into the water off the shelf ice and we made our way safely back. The water was just shy of reaching the top of my waders. I walked as tall as I knew how and was very thankful we both made it without any further incident. The weather was mild and a light drizzle began as we headed back to the truck. I was now overheating and just happy that we were able to recover both birds. No cripples and no major incidents. We went to a couple other areas to check for birds and saw nothing. Then we found a comfortable clump of turf and I began to start plucking the geese. I saved the down as well and after an hour or so we started to point the truck home.
Jet was wet through and through and darkness was upon us. We had enjoyed a wonderful afternoon on a wild goose hunt, and there was no better ending than a hot meal and a warm fire. The geese dressed out nicely without any shot to the breast or back(as they took the shots to their head and necks) they will be wonderful eating. What a great day after a long dry spell on waterfowl.
Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The hunt