Friday, September 17, 2010

First Goose Hunt Of The Season

While I have been working various odd jobs this summer, one of which has been weed eating for some friends who live just outside Bend. I know this landscape well for it is within a stones throw of my old stomping grounds. During the days I was working I had been keeping a watchful eye on the Canada Geese in the adjacent pasture. They started out as small fuzzy awkward goslings and have become full fledged manure spreaders and eaters of fresh grass shoots. Thus leaving the neighbors cattle less than thrilled, not to mention the owners. Ah a sigh of relief washes over me as I here my friend say "you're welcome to come shoot some if you like". My eyes must have lit up like saucers as my friend smiled and nodded in agreement. "Really" I said, "that would be o.k. with you"? She assured me indeed it was. I asked about her neighbors whose pasture the geese were residing on and she encouraged me to talk with them and so I did. They are very nice neighbors and certainly interested in getting the geese to reside elsewhere. I mainly wanted to introduce myself and make sure they were o.k. with me shooting as well as for me to recover a goose if it went on their property. Yes to all the above, in fact the wife also hunted with her dad when she was a young girl and enjoys eating geese too. I told them I'd drop off a goose to them after the mornings hunt and they were excited to fire up the Traeger and smoke the goose whole. I felt my body heave a big sigh of envy with the thought of a Traeger smoked Canada goose. I can only imagine how good that will taste. Alright, another savings fund has started for my own Traeger.

So it was set, that I was to have my first goose hunt of the season. Let me catch you up on this early September goose hunt. The ODFW has a special Canada goose only hunt for a week in early Sept. to reduce the numbers due to an over abundance of geese. There are only specific counties that the hunt takes place in and it is not statewide. So that's how I was able to hunt geese this month.

Now back to my story. I figured it will take me 40 minutes of travel time and then time to grab decoys, headlamp, gun and shells. So that meant a 4 a.m. wake up which hurt a bit just thinking about. Shooting time was 6:10 and I like to have a few minutes to settle in before legal time. Well it all worked well with the exception that the ditch I was planning to lay in now had irrigation water flowing down it, so I had to opt for plan B. which I didn't have but managed to come up with one, being a resourceful hunter and educated in the days of minimalists field comforts.

I found a not so comfortable rock crib to hunker behind and threw some camo netting with weeds over me to break up my outline. I had set out 8 G & H standard goose shells off to my left at about 10 to 20 yards away. The mild temperatures found me quite comfortable wearing my chamois shirt and cotton camo bdu's. It was about 55 degrees and all I was missing was another cup of coffee. I had that to look forward to once I got back to the truck. So, I am all dressed up and waiting for the guests of honor to arrive. The morning is slowly waking up as the vroom of cars, trucks, school buses and farm equipment starts to rumble. Horses are knocking on fencing panels impatiently waiting their morning ration of alfalfa and the geese are starting to be vocal off in the distance. My heart quickens with the first true "honk" that rang through the distant junipers. Oh how I love to be affected by my quarry, it's magical!

I was facing south and the horizon was thinly veiled in cloud cover. To the north I heard more geese and slowly leaned from out behind the rock crib to catch a glimpse of just where the geese were coming from. It was a pair coming in on a string low and close. They passed by and did a fly by over the neighbors pond, then spotted my decoys. I got ready to roll to my knees and timed it well as they passed by just off to my right. I fired twice and dropped one on the first shot and didn't make a good second shot so away it went, all the wiser. The goose landed by the adjacent rock crib and as I got up to go retrieve it, it was standing and ready to take evasive actions. The pursuit began and eventually I was able to reach out and put my gun barrel on its back to stop it before it got to the neighbors fence line. It was either that or a full fledged tackle. With goose in hand I returned to my make shift ground blind behind the rock crib and waited for the next guests to arrive. It didn't take long and a string of 20 or so came from behind off to my left side. They also knew where they wanted to go and I was able to drop another out of this flock. I again hunkered down hoping that maybe one more group would come by, but none did in more than an hour and a half of waiting. That was it and at 8:45 I picked up my decoys etc. and had to get on with the rest of my days obligations.

That cup of coffee was tastier than the earlier cups as I headed out to BLM to pluck and process the birds. Then stopped at the neighbors to thank them and give them a previously processed goose from this past season for their Traeger. Also tossed in a White fronted goose as they have never eaten one of them. Told them that was the fillet mignon of the goose world, none better. What a great morning and I was ready to continue with the final weed wacking of the season. All in all a spectacular day full of everything I enjoy doing, yes even weed wacking.

In approximately 2 weeks I will be out on my Buck only deer hunt. Close to home and sleeping in my own bed, not such a bad deal. Til then enjoy each day and may your shots ring true.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt


Main Line Sportsman said...

Well done..I am jealous. Our East Coast res. Goose season has found me unable to get away...the time I have had I've been chasing teal.

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

Way to go Terry! Huge geese and a huge smile on your face to match! Love the pic, but where's Jet?

Terry Scoville said...

Main Line, nothing wrong with Teal just takes a few more. Swinging on Teal is a great way to get tuned up for the rest of the season.

Karen, Jet stayed home because it was a hot day and I was going to be in town for the most of it. She's happier at home instead of inside the back of my truck with the canopy. She did give me a good sniffin' over and a look to go with it that evening. I'll make it up to her, promise.

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

Looks like you're ahead of the game on me, the geese have been all over our athletic fields and the principal asked me how might we be able to convince them to head elsewhere. My response, "could you plug your ears, close your eyes, and not mention we had this discussion".

All jokes aside and that I would rather not go to jail, congrats on your early success. Season is so close and I'm dying to get the lobster boat out and the duck hunting machine in!!!

Terry Scoville said...

That's great Tony! Just about my sentiments too regarding your athletic field. Yep, waterfowling is just around the corner. Next shot is yours!

Jennifer Montero said...

Terry - I learn a little more fieldcraft from every one of your hunting posts. And your descriptions of your surroundings are so well observed. I also like your attitude pre-hunt, checking with the neighbors and just giving sportsmen (and women) a good name.

I'm so glad it's hunting season again. Congrats on your geese. I've seen a few skeins migrating over the house here, and my hair stands up on end when I hear the distant 'honk honk' getting closer.

Can't wait to read about your buck hunt!

CDGardens said...

Congratulations Terry! Those are fine looking birds you took home.

Terry Scoville said...

thanks and I also get a mild case of whiplash when I hear geese honk too. It doesn't matter what time of year, I still need to stop and try to see them if I can. Just habituated over 30 plus years of hunting.

CDG, thanks, they will feed several friends that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for friends like that!!! Way to go, and it's good to see some waterfowl action on the blogs starting to show up.

Hope you have a successful year, and looking forward to reading about it!!!

Terry Scoville said...

Hey there TCSR, thanks and I am looking forward to the waterfowl season and reading about your adventures too! Like being a kid at Christmas time all over again. How lucky we are.

Blessed said...

Sounds like a great start to the hunting season... I can't wait until Hubby brings home some waterfowl!

gary said...

Wow, I never realized there was a season that started this early. You are right that the feathered fowl are 'full fledged manure spreaders'. They need to open Drake park in Bend for doing some thining as they had about made that place unuseable when we lived there.
Appreciated the obvious feelings put into your hunt from the planning to the Traeger - there was no doubt that you had a great time. Had to kind of chuckle thinking of the irrigation ditch, now with water in it. Better that way then to have them turn water down it while you're in it. Early morning unexpected cold baths are not high on most peoples agenda.

Great hunt, great story, and great eating. Can't beat it! Now if only the deer will cooperate.

EcoRover said...

Beautiful hunt! Good luck with your deer hunt--whitetail?

Terry Scoville said...

Thanks, I am hunting Mule Deer.

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