Here in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, the two-week break between archery and rifle hunting for deer is filled with a perfect form of outdoor action. – the first segment of the season for the Atlantic Population of Canada geese.
Sitting tree bound on most days over the final two weeks of the archery season, I was often pleasantly entertained by the honking of migrant Canada geese as they’ve passed overhead.
I knew many of those birds were heading directly for Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a spot where they’ll spend most of the winter. But I knew just as well, many would be staying, for at least awhile, on the local lakes, ponds and quarry holes that provide open water for resting and roosting to journeying waterfowl.
The final Saturday of archery season was also the opening day for the geese. Having already ended my quest for deer, I hooked up with a few hunting companions and headed for a local corn field now in a state of stubble and waste grain.
Two pickups full of decoys, we assumed, would be a sufficient enticement for any hungry birds passing our way, at least compared to the second part of the season when cold and often snow blanket the fields, and we have to scatter a whole trailer full of fakes to brings geese to the gun.
The morning was unseasonably frosty, and as the sun edged over the eastern hills it was also a morning of light wind and blue skies.
Taking some ribbing – I was the one who had seen geese in this field three days prior, and chose this spot-for nothing flying, I was relieved when some honking of a moving flock came from our right.
The birds locked wings, and with hunters hunched to hide and the retriever leashed, we called with excitement as the birds headed toward us.
But, for a reason known only to themselves, they turned out of range, and departed.
Discouraged? Oh yes. But it was short lived as more flocks came, and finally four birds with wings flattened and legs dropped for landing, glided to us. They stayed, courtesy of our shotguns.
For those who have never experienced those instances when these big birds have locked into a landing mode and come close enough to shoot, I feel a bit sorry. Hearts pound, excitement rules, and it never, ever stops being so – each and every time we goose hunters are lucky enough to have fooled some geese.