|Christmas Goose(s)...or Geese!|
With a full Christmas Eve day schedule, including church at four and dinner to follow, could we squeeze in a morning goose hunt? How could we give up the opportunity for a Christmas goose!
With the hot chocolate stowed and decoys loaded, we left in the dark. Arriving at close to sunrise, we humped our gear out to the field blind, which the Wildfowl Ninja had taken his limit the Saturday before.
With even just a dozen shells and half a dozen silouettes, it seems we are loaded down Gunga Din Style. When did the blind bag get so heavy? Ah, yes, the Ninja's gear this year. Last year, he only brought himself and not his Weatherby, shells, snacks, etc.
|Benelli Keeping Watch|
High winds early in the week had blown down much of the pine boughs and the grass we used to brush the blind. After filling in the front of the blind with fresh grass and setting up the decoys, we settled in. We ended up extending the blind with ultralite Camo Systems netting. This stuff is packable, light and provides great concealment while allowing me to look through.
|Blind Extension with Camo Systems Netting|
The birds that were flying were focused on the scores of geese loafing on the creek about 50 yards behind us. It was interesting to hear them so close, and I used the opportunity to mimic their calls with mine. There were some high fliers, but we started to think that a waxing moon had provided night feeding opportunites.
Walking back to check on the geese on the creek, three or more dozen lifted off in a crescendo of roiling water and wingbeats. We may have helped some folks down the creek. Overall, there were alot of hunters out, based on the staccato sounds of shotguns in the distance. It was a holiday and I assume there were many weekenders in from D.C. with their guests filling the blinds.
As it warmed slightly and the wind remained calm, movement started. First, it was a few dozen about a 1/2 mile out and more began to criss cross above our position. Three circled in behind us at about 100 yards high and flew directly out. I flagged. As they came back for another look, they canted their wings dropping in quick.
Cupping their wings and flying in about 40 yards out but coming in straight, I quietly said, "put down the hot chocolate and get ready".
Time seemed to slow down as I looked out of the corner of my eye at my partner. He moved with deliberate action, knowing fluid slow movement was required. "Ready?", I said. "Now", I declared, as I stood and they flared about 25 yards out. I swung on the last bird and took him with a solid shot. The Wildfowl Ninja shot next, as the remaining two banked hard and accelerated. My next shot hit the second goose and he pinwheeled into the soft clay. The third goose was out of range and I did not want to take the chance on a crippling shot.
Guns on safe, we gathered our birds and brought them back to the blind. Walking the distance on the birds, the first was at ~30 yards and the second at ~40 yards. Though I have counted the $$ when I pull the trigger on Hevi-Shot, the #2 payload from the 3 1/2" shell delivered a solid knockdown of both geese.
We settled back into the blind hoping for another flight. I looked down at the full hot chocolate cup on the uneven ground between our chairs. Put down with celerity, he had not spilled a drop. Nice work, partner.