No teal, but early geese didn’t disappoint
As much as I love to hunt waterfowl, I believe I’ve written before about how it has always been difficult for me to get in the mood for the early goose hunt – and now the concurrent early teal season – because the weather is so un-duck-and-goose-like.
Temperatures are usually in the 70s, or pushing 80, the humidity is thick and, quite often, so are the mosquitoes. That was definitely the case on the opener for those seasons this year, which I had to miss for the first time in many years because I had to work. My partners went without me, but they were waylaid by lightning on the first day of the season and fog on the second.
When I finally could get out with them a week later, the conditions had improved. On the first day we hunted, the temperature was much cooler; on the second day, there was scattered light frost.
Now we’re talking.
A friend had been giving us reports in recent weeks about the geese he’d been seeing on his property. He joined us for the hunt with his 11-year-old daughter, Aubrey, who was along to observe. He was carrying a gun that he never loaded. Joe and I were loaded for bear. Or geese. All of us were tucked away in what used to be known as coffin blinds but are now more commonly referred to as layout blinds.
Aubrey asked if we would let her know when we were going to shoot, so she could cover her ears. It brought back memories of having my own daughter in the goose blind, because she would make the same request. I told her not to worry, that the geese would announce their arrival and one of us would holler when we were going to shoot.
Well, the first bird, a loner, surprised us by arriving much sooner than we anticipated, and as it was on my side, I rose and shot without announcing my intention. As the bird tumbled to the ground, Aubrey hollered, “Wow! You got it on your first try!” And then she told me she didn’t mind that I didn’t tell her to block her ears.
The morning progressed like that, but with Aubrey given ample time to cover her ears as the flocks came in. Most of the time, her observations were, “They’re still flying!” instead of “Good shot!”
But that’s all right. She had fun, and so did we. Aubrey’s dad had the right idea by not loading his gun and just letting her soak it in. She certainly did. I wish I had the same mindset when I was indoctrinating young hunters.
All in all, it was a great opening weekend, albeit one week late.