By Bret “T-Bone” Amundson
When snow gives you lemons, you..wait what?
Last week over 65,000 geese were counted on the Lac qui Parle refuge. It felt like Christmas morning.
With one exception-I wasn’t there. I was like the kid who’d saved up for months, looking through the window at the coolest new toy, but the store was closed.
I had planned a trip to Watson Hunting Camp for one more late season goose hunt. I was bringing out my father, Ron, my brother Wade and his son, Danny. They’d never hunted out of layout blinds before so as a Christmas present, they’d get to experience lying on their backs waiting to see these feathered 747s with their landing gear down.
2 days before we were scheduled to leave, Chuck Ellingson from WHC called and said, “I don’t know what to tell you. The geese are gone”. The snowstorm that blew through the area (forecasted 4-6 inches, actual snowfall amount 15 inches) pushed 95% of the birds south.
1 day before we were scheduled to leave, I called Nick Trauba from WHC and said “Come on…tell me more birds are there today.”
I hesitated calling the guys because I knew they were looking forward to this trip. After a short discussion, we realized that even if we didn’t get to goose hunt, we could still chase roosters and get a weekend hunt together. Hunting with family is all about being able to get out with the guys you’ve been doing it with for years, while introducing the next generation.
Plus giving the 12 year old a chance to walk cattails with waist deep snow is a good way to break him in! Of course it’s a good way to turn kids off too, luckily Danny is a pretty tough kid that loves to hunt.
He also had the chance to see what 4000 geese stacked together on 15 square feet of open water looked like. They must all get along well to be able to spend that much time in such close quarters. There is probably a ban on Mexican food.
Instead of that last late season goose hunt underneath a solid mass of honking madness, we made lemonade and went pheasant hunting. Walking was tough and we encountered rain, fog, snow and wary birds, but everyone left with a smile on their face and roosters in their coolers.
That’s the way hunting goes; you have to go with what opportunity gives you. Thankfully I was able to spend it with family.
This may also be the earliest I’ve ever bought Christmas presents.