Story and Photos By Bret Amundson
After getting bested by the turkeys once again, (Bret – 0, Tom – 2), I grabbed the camera for some evening light waterfowl pictures. When the sun appeared the day before, the world seemed to come alive and I was lucky enough to capture it in pictures. You can see a few of them here. I returned to the same location with calmer winds and more time with the sun in the sky. Much like hunting, maybe I should have rested the area, because I didn’t have the success I did before.
What I did get to witness however was a midair dogfight between a couple 747’s. Canada geese can be big and lumbery. (“Lumbery?” Is that a word?) The resident giants are hefty and can sometimes leave a wake as they take off from a water runway. They spin in circles before coming to rest in a feeding field when you’re hunting them in the fall and overall don’t have the grace and maneuverability of smaller birds, like teal or even mallards.
But the nesting season is a whole different animal-er, bird.
Geese aren’t as quick to spook when something or someone invades their territory. They’ll protect their turf and nest, with noisy honks while violently twisting their necks upward and snapping their heads back and forth like a sprinkler on meth. Venture too close when they’ve got goslings and you’re sure to get charged, flapped, hissed at and possibly bitten. That happened to me on a golf course. I was just minding my own business, walking down the fairway when a goose took exception to my path. I didn’t even shank one into the cattails!
Despite the lack of photo opportunities last night, one of the coolest experiences took place. I wish I’d been closer, but I tried to get the best pictures I could. Two geese threw down a challenge to another pair that had staked claim to a beaver hut.
The moves these geese made defy the laws of physics. They took off, dipped and dove, turned at sharp angles and overall flew like a trick pilot at an airshow. Here are the pictures:
Finally the tension subsided and the offending geese vacated the area.
This was like watching the Discovery Channel without paying $100 a month for all the other channels you never watch. Waterfowl may be more fun in the fall since you’re probably shouldering a 12 gauge, but the spring can offer close-up views of these birds and help you understand them better. All part of the respect that should be given to any game animal that’s hunted.
-Bret Amundson is the publisher of Minnesota Sporting Journal Magazine and Radio Host of Minnesota Sporting Journal Radio. He can be reached at Bret@mnsportingjournal.com
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