Resident goose 2016 hunting debut goes better than last year in Pennsylvania
Faithful Outdoor News online blog readers might remember last fall’s Keystone State of Mind blog post: “Early resident goose hunting season in Pennsylvania is no chip shot.” (https://www.outdoornews.com/2015/09/16/early-resident-goose-hunting-season-in-pennsylvania-is-no-chip-shot/)
In the story, I talked about my first return to the September grain fields after a 12-year hiatus from goose hunting. My hosts were well-seasoned waterfowl hunters who regularly kill birds with repeated success. Not for a lack of trying, I struck out over three consecutive outings with them, as our hunts didn’t produce a single shot.
Mike and Chris must’ve taken pity on me, because I got another invite to try again this year. On the first Saturday of the September season, I joined them and the owner of the property they lease for a four-man layout field set not far from prime roosting water.
This go around worked much better than last year, and it likely had to do with location. Instead of birds giving us a look and continuing on course to their preferred destination, the geese naturally wanted to be here as they jumped from water to feed and back again.
Our setup was simple. We found some grass clumps in the middle of a cut cornfield, brushed in the blinds accordingly and placed a couple dozen decoys in concentrated family groups to our flanks.
Since Mike is left-handed, we placed him in the blind farthest to the right. He may or may not have “strategically” laid out the decoys to his advantage, because the first five birds to fall were those that pitched in to our right side where only he could shoot.
Actually, one other bird did come down in front, but I promptly whiffed as it gained altitude flying straight away. Only after three shots and no dead bird did I remember I needed to actually aim and not just point the gun in a goose’s general direction.
After some lighthearted heckling, we made a slight adjustment to our decoys to discourage birds from giving Mike all the action. We moved the three decoys we had in front of our blinds over to block their prior landing zone, which proved to be the ticket as the next few groups read the script perfectly.
As the geese cupped in commitment to the spread, they honed in perfectly for the front of our blinds with landing gear out. The call was made and we sprang from our hides. This time, I kept my cheek tight to the stock and looked down the barrel; my shots hit their marks, and a few nice honkers tumbled to the ground.
Another volley before 10 a.m. completed our hunt, leaving us with a grand total of 10 geese for the morning. We didn’t limit out, but we didn’t need that to make it a memorable morning.
Each of us went home with some fresh goose meat and another fond memory for the treasure bank. My gratitude goes out to my hunting partners for their generosity in giving me another chance. I guess when it comes to goose hunting persistence does pay off.