THE LAKE THAT SPEAKS IS YELLING!
Lac qui Parle by definition means “Lake that speaks”, but during my recent trip to Watson, Minnesota, the lake would have been kicked out of the library. A gaggle of geese 60 thousand strong is capable of causing a ruckus. What ruckus you might ask? Well, you can hear what it sounded like here.
I detoured towards western Minnesota during my return trip from Wisconsin with one thought in mind: climbing in a layout blind beneath flock after flock of geese heading out to feed.
Late in the season, the cold weather can change up feeding patterns slightly and when you throw in a full moon, it can literally be a wild goose chase. The pattern had shown a late afternoon feed, so on Thursday afternoon, Nick Trauba and I set out with a 22 foot trailer full of big foots, strategizing for putting ol’ black foot on the ground.
Four firefighters from the Twin Cities area would be joining on this hunt and the six of us weren’t even in our blinds by the time flocks started appearing on the horizon. For the next two hours we were treated with one of the greatest shows Mother Nature puts on: The Fall Migration.
Each fall migrating geese bunch up and rest on the Lac qui Parle refuge. Numbers can range from 50,000 – 150,000 geese and setting up a field hunt nearby can be a blast. Literally. With a constant flow of geese coming out to feed, there was no shortage of birds to try and trick into flying within range. These birds get hunted hard so they’ve been trained a bit and not every flock was fooled, but they would all give us a look. Watching 500 geese spin and cup, almost in slow motion, can raise the heart rate of someone who’s been dead for 50 years.
We shot our share of geese and had a front row seat to one of my favorite shows. Like those people who go and see the same movie more than once, I plan on going back the last weekend of the goose season. With temperatures remaining relatively warm, I’m confident that we’ll see plenty of geese when we get there.
Either way, there are some of my other favorite birds there too, as we found out on a couple of quick walks the day before and after the goose hunt.
I’ve said it many times, just because we’re on the backside of the deer season, it doesn’t mean it’s time to put the shotgun away quite yet. I understand the urge to hit the early ice, but I’ve still got shells bought and paid for burning a hole in my shell bag.
by Bret “T-Bone” Amundson/Bret@mnsportingjournal.com