You have to start at the beginning to appreciate the end.
We had spent the previous Sunday building two field blinds on a cool, muddy day, interspersed with rain.
Walking a pine forest to find limbs and other brush, we spotted two fallen trees that must not have done well in Hurricane Sandy. Hatchet and loppers in hands, we dragged and filled a truck bed full of brush.
It was a good day of hard work, for we had never built a blind and give me a hatchet and a design plan in my head, and I am a happy man. Here are a few pictures of the first blind, which had a good set of natural cover behind us.
|Stakes Ready for Backing|
|Backing Ready for Camo Cloth|
|Brushed Up with Pine and Cedar|
The second blind was on the edge of a field and was comprised of a simple camo screen. The Wildfowl Ninja suggested the grass. It turned out to be a great suggestion!
|Second Field Blind against Marsh Grass|
|Grassed Up at the end of the Work Day|
Little did we know that it would pay off in what I considered the less concealed of the two blinds, on a bluebird morning that next Saturday.
Arriving close to sunrise, we were treated to a Hunt Breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and coffee. The Wildfowl Ninja's grandmother was so kind to prepare it for us and it was just what we needed to start the day. After carrying more gear than a Sherpa on the way to base camp, we settled in at the second of the two blinds and made quick work of setting up our spread. With no wind, I set up three "pods" of four oversize shells on motion stakes, with five silhouettes at our 1 0'clock position to close off that part on the "X".
|Looking Out over the Dekes|
This left a nice landing zone in front (with a range decoy at 35 yards) and after we added some camo netting, we settled in. The Wildfowl Ninja was using his Weatherby SA-08 in 20 GA, with an extended IC Carlson's waterfowl choke and 3" Hevi-Metal #2's; I had my Benelli SBEII, with an extended Mod Carlson's choke and 3 1/2 Hevi-Shot #2's. If there was anything within the range decoy, our heaters were up to the task. But were we? Early on, it seemed we would be skunked.
|The Wildfowl Ninja wearing his Xmas Present!|
I was vigilant in looking for birds, but not good on blind banter. Changing that, before long we were laughing and I looked up to see six geese doing a fIy by fifteen yards out and banking up over us. Whoops...I hope this was not the only set. From 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., we had seen high flying birds coming from our 9 to 3 o'clock position and some had gotten close. Out in front and 100's of yards out, we had flagged in some for a closer look but no one was committing. I went out and checked the blind for any tell tale giveaways and "opened" up the spread a little, making more room between decoys.
|Awaiting the Honkers|
As the sun warmed things up, so did the action. There were a few flights that came in close and then a set of eight came in from our 8 o'clock position at 50 yards high. They looked like they would fly straight out and away, until they banked back toward us, dropped and came by for another look. I dropped the flag, gave one last call and told my partner to get ready. They cupped their wings and committed.
"Now", I called out, and as he stood, they tried to gain altitude. He took his first shot and the goose pinwheeled to the ground. I stood up and took a shot, as he took his second. My first shot connected and so did his second. My last shot went high.
I looked at him and he was beaming. Hours talking over strategy on the skeet range; setting up blinds and all the times he came as an observer paid off. In a big way. Two shots. Two geese. We put our guns on safety and went into the field. The last bird was winged and after I checked the other two, we went after him and brought him back to the other two.
It was a fine first goose hunt and I told him, "This was a good day, but there will be many times we won't bring home birds". Looking at me with a knowing smile, he replied, "I know". We did not need to say it. It was being together that was the true bounty. In learning from each other and spending time in the outdoors we always "limited out" And today, he did. On his first goose hunt. How cool is that!
|Wildfowl Ninja with Half of His Limit!|