by Bret Amundson
Sometimes you get the goose and sometimes you get goosed.
With the August goose management season being left to the hardcores, you wouldn’t expect too much competition for fields this time of year. Too many mosquitos, too much sweating and not enough geese make it a hunt not many hunters want to endure.
But occasionally you can get into a great shoot-and hey, you’re hunting! How can that be a bad thing?
Of course we’re out there to reduce the local goose population which has grown above management levels in recent years.
I had the chance to rub the sleep out of my eyes at 3:45 am this morning to head out in the St Cloud area. We’d climb into layout blinds and try and coax resident Canada geese into 12 gauge range.
I stepped into Tony Crotty’s 3-quarter-ton pickup with fellow hunters John Wayne and Tim Munoz. Along with Tony’s trusty lab, Nahla, tucked into the back.
As we rumbled down the road I didn’t quite have the nerves of the traditional waterfowl opener yet and my eyes did their best to stay open. This would mark my first morning in a blind since the spring snow goose season and I was anxious to knock the rust off.
But would that happen?
We went into the hunt knowing that there was a chance we might get skunked.
A pasture pond held around 100 geese and we would be setting up in a wheat field that the geese had been using for about a week. The previous couple of days however, they’d switched to an alfalfa field closer to the roost. That field would offer little in the way of cover so we opted to hunt the wheat.
Well, we opted to the hunt wheat mainly because someone else had permission to hunt the alfalfa.
Knowing how hard it would be to hide there, we decided to set up nearby anyway in case the geese spotted the other group and decided to head elsewhere-preferably our field.
We knew they were on the “X”, but since we didn’t have another option, we thought our best bet was to hide in the swaths of wheat striping their way through the rolling hills that we’d be headquartered in.
Despite the heavy fog a flock of geese appeared from a different direction shortly after sunrise and headed for our competitors. Without hesitation they cupped their wings and descended into their spread. Shots rang out and most of the flock escaped while a few unfortunate birds folded and dropped.
This excited the main group of geese we were hunting. Their roost was only around 1/4 mile from the shooters and gunshots tend to get animals nervous. They rose from their pond and headed towards the alfalfa.
Would they commit? Or flare and come our way?
The birds landed around 75 yards from their decoy spread. Out of their gun range and no where near our field.
The group decided to stand up and rush the birds cracking off as many shots as possible. We’re not sure what they ended up with, but that would essentially end everyone’s morning. The group of geese returned to their roosting pond and we contemplated our next move.
Will they sit until evening? Should we stick around to see if they get up again?
We decided to pack up since our guys wanted to hunt again the next day. We could use the rest of the morning to scout other fields.
As is the case EVERYTIME, one flock of geese got up and circled the field as our truck was driving through it, but it was too little too late.
We’d chalk this up to experience and utter the phrase, “That’s why it’s called hunting and not shooting.” That’s the way it goes with the early season. Or any part of the season really.
And it still beats sleeping in.