Running traffic on migratory geese tests hunters’ resolve
Eleven hours in an A-frame goose blind might seem like insanity to most of the general public. But when the birds are flying, waterfowlers have to keep trying. At least that’s what I kept telling myself last weekend as I endured fog, drizzle and high winds for the entirety of my Saturday off from work.
The morning started with eight guys, some of whom I had hunted with before, while others I met for the very first time while setting silhouette decoys in the pre-dawn darkness. The field was full of corn fodder and stubble, but we opted for two grass-covered A-frame blinds butted together to conceal our human form — by far the quickest and easiest hide on the market.
We had high hopes for the morning, but with impenetrable fog and uncooperative birds, we had scant shooting by the mid-day breakdown when several in our party had to leave for other commitments and responsibilities. With that, one blind was disassembled, and the other was repositioned, as were the decoys for an afternoon sit.
While the two remaining hunters other than myself went to grab something to eat, I volunteered to “hold down the fort” since I had packed along a sandwich for the day. Just as the guys were getting to the truck, several large flocks gave a fly by, and while my incessant flagging brought them over for a closer look-see, I wasn’t able to make good on any, “Man, you never should’ve left the blind” remarks. My calling is terrible, so I didn’t even try, and the birds never came quite close enough for a shot.
But by 1 p.m., the fog began to clear even more, and birds were flying everywhere. Mike and Ryan returned with restored energy to hunt hard for the remainder of the evening, and I was hopeful we’d each get a chance to bag our two-bird harvest limit by nightfall.
It soon became evident we weren’t exactly on the “X” for the big migrating flocks, but we still had the opportunity to whittle away at smaller groups and singles that appeared on the skyline. It would take patience and resolve but was totally possible.
Ryan flagged, I kept eyes on the birds, and Mike called until his lips hurt. We kept after it, shot one bird, then two more, then two more again (and missed one). By quitting time, we had scratched out 5 of 6, which would’ve made our three-man limit. Though we came up one short, we had a really enjoyable time working birds, and seldom went 30 minutes without action.
It was a grind, but very much worth it — even if everyone else thinks we’re crazy.