If only it were dove season

Goose Hunting - Dec 16 2013 - 2

Goose Season is in full swing and, enjoying it as much as I do, I try not to pass up the opportunity to sit out in a corn field and try my hand at brining down a bird.

Over the weekend our area had a snow accumulation of a few inches. To make matters worse, some freezing rain followed the snow and created a hard crust. It would be a lot of work for geese to break through the crust and feed. Would we have any luck in our fields or would the geese try at easier food sources around the lakes and creeks in the area?

Not wanting to pass on the opportunity to hunt, I hopped in my car and headed out. When I arrived at the pristine field, with its icy crust, I nosed my car onto the shoulder and waited for my hunting mentor to arrive. I knew I wasn’t getting out without help, so the hunt had to be a good one to pay off.

We’ve had lousy luck on days with clear skies and today was about as clear as it could get. If any geese were in the area, they would be flying high and take a lot of convincing to come into range. Things weren’t looking good when my mentor arrived and we mulled over the idea of setting up in the field.

Just as we were approaching the point in the conversation where we would call the hunt off, we heard geese in the distance. Quickly, we gathered up our gear and trudged out into the field. Walking through the ice and snow was difficult but we setup two dozen decoys in short order.

Before we had the chance to settle into our blinds, over a dozen doves swooped in over our heads. Despite us moving around and our blinds sticking out like sore thumbs, the birds were checking out what the decoys were up to. Unfortunately, Dove season is currently closed and we had to pass up on shooting (not that we would want to use expensive steel shot on doves but, we couldn’t have fired even if we wanted to).

We laid out in the snow for a couple of hours and had a couple of small flights of geese fly over us. None of them got low enough to take a shot. On one occasion we had a group of four look like they were going to come into the decoys but a larger group got their attention and they changed course. Between flights of geese, dozens of doves flew well within range, right over our heads. At one point I was convinced at least one bird was going to land on one of our blinds.

At sunset we called it a day and packed up our gear. We didn’t take a single shot at a goose but I enjoyed myself nonetheless. As expected, I needed a push to get my car back onto the road and I was on my way back home.

When I got home my daughter greeted me with a hug and a kiss. She asked where her goose was (I told her I was going to try really hard to bring one home for her) and I had to explain that we didn’t get one. Her eyes welled up and she cried because “Daddy didn’t shoot a goose”. I was both sad and proud of that moment. After a few tears were shed, she told me that I’d have to try extra hard next time.

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