Time of Day: 0700 to 1130
Where: Saint Michaels, MD
Who: John M. , Al V. , John N. and Jake the golden retriever
Area Hunted: Open field; not sure of crop type; flat
Blind Type: Piano blind; ~12 foot, with cedar tree brushing on front and brown base coat of paint
Temperature: hovered between high 20’s and low 30’s
Weather: overcast; no wind until light wind and snow started. Less than an inch was on the ground at the time we drove off the field (and found the one goose that was hit and crash landed)
Direction Facing (compass bearing from blind: “12 o’clock” at front of blind): ~130 Degrees
Gun: Benelli Super Black Eagle II
Choke: Carlson Extended Super Steel Mid Range
Ammo: Hevi-Shot 2 ¾” and 3”/ #2 /12 GA
Decoys: Mix of Big Foot full body and shells, with approximately 12 full bodies and 12 shells
Wind: light, leass than 3 mph
Calling: Sean Mann Eastern Shoreman poly. Got in the rhythm and was told my feeding call helped with a flock.
Clothes: UA Metal, Patagonia top, UA long underwear, Patagonia fleece vest, liner socks, SmartWool mid-weight and Mucks, LL Bean canvas pants, UA Glomitts, UA balaclava, Drake boonie, Cabela’s parka with liner zipped in. Also, brought UA beanie and extra gloves in pocket.
Personal Comfort: comfortable, feet warm in new Mucks
Left Behind: goose flag
What I Learned: make sure that you can expose your trigger finger, and mount your gun with ease, ensuring it will not get hung up on blind, etc. Also, should probably tell the partner that if you are heads down, they need to call the shot. Always bring face mask and darker shooting glasses. Always wear hearing protection and use the Silencios (which I need to keep in gun case outer pocket). Next time, wear your glasses/brim down. Pick the bird and don’t stop shooting until it hits the ground.
Decoy Pattern: the decoy were placed in 3 spots. At our 7 o’clock, John set up four in a line that he called the “safety”, or confidence, geese. John commented that he believes these help provide a sense of safety for incomers. The remaining two groups were set up in: a open circular grouping of ~8 full bodies and shells at our 11 o’clock; and a teardrop with the remaining 10 dekes. The teardrop starts at 12 o’clock and curves to our 2 o’clock with the “drop” containing more dekes. This three grouping set created a nice X right in front of the group. and allowed nice size and safezone.
Personal Observations: Fun guys to hunt with; good conversation and insightful hunting commentary; always looking or a better way of doing things, they were commenting on everything from decoy placement, calling rhythms to proper blind placement at a new potential site we recconed after we left the field.
Concentration on the head of the bird was the key to my shooting success. I looked at the head, let the wings “not” appear in my vision. The first kill was a finishing shot on a bird that had been winged. Shortly thereafter, a flock came in from our 2 o’clock position and as he landed I sent shot downrange. The resulting headshot caused him to crater into the ground.