Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Great Goose Jump of 2011

This is my submission for the Sportsman Channel Writing Contest for Hunters hosted by the Outdoor Blogger Network.

For my favorite outdoor memory I am going to go with one fresh in my head. As it just happened in late October.

 I was in Okanogan County WA hunting ducks, the lakes are starting to freeze and I know this will be my last day hunting in this area. It is a Wednesday and where we are hunting you can only shoot geese on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. My wife had gone home and my friend’s wife had stayed in camp to pack things up before their 7 hour drive home.

Most of the lakes we checked were frozen, the wind was blowing very cold air and we had only shot 2 little teal. It was a long hard day so far. We go to our last lake of the day a small spring lake out in the middle of the sage brush. I am 100% expecting this lake to be frozen and my friend asks "Should we even bother?" I tell him we are here we might as well check it out.

We drive over to the lake and park in the sage brush and like I always do  I check the lake to see where the ducks are by peeking up slowly over the sage brush to check the water a little at a time as too not scare off anything on the water. (Believe me if the ducks see you they will be gone.)  As I look to the far side of the lake I can see ICE!!!!!!  I can remember thinking crap this sucks. I stand up a little more and I see two goose heads, then four. I duck back down below the brush line and turn to my friend back at the truck and give him the goose sign. (Which consists of me flapping my arms all the out as if I were a goose.) I don’t think I have ever seen him get out of the truck so fast.

Puting on a sneak

We started our walk around to the "Jump Point" where we are going to implement our attack on these geese. We load up with 3 1/2 in BB's and BBB's. It is about 1/4 mile walk around to the best jump point on the small lake. I tell my friend ok I don’t know how many or how close but if we don’t end up with four or more geese we should retire from hunting for ever.

We get to the jump point which is a berm with the lake right on the other side of the berm. We give each other the ceremonial fist knock and we jump.

All I can say is there were geese everywhere, they took off in a tornado of birds and we unleashed hell upon them. Geese were dropping and splashing everywhere.

When the Shooting stopped there were 5 geese in the water. Before I was able to celebrate I noticed a small group of geese turned the wrong way and could not make it out over the hill the lake is tucked into. But I was too far for a shot at this point. I grabbed another 3 1/2 in shell from my vest and went into a dead sprint down the bank of the lake. (I felt like I was a car trying to beat a train across the train tracks.)  Just as the geese got parallel I stopped pulled up and BANG! Wouldn't you know one of those geese just peeled right out of that gray sky. I was in complete disbelief...... I mean I knew I had it the whole time.

Now the real work begins, as in get back to the truck, get the dogs and then get the dogs to break the ice. See these geese were sitting in the only part of the lake that was not frozen. No matter where you started from the dogs had at least 20 feet of ice to break.  I started gathering rocks to throw at the geese to get and keep my dogs attention.

At first my dog Remi was not having this whole ice thing. Finally I get her to break a path way through the ice for her to get two of the geese in the water and my friend’s lab was able to get the other three.

We had all six geese laying there on the beach and we felt like we had just won the super bowl or maybe the 2011 Goose Bowl. There were hugs for everyone even the cold wet dogs. Now we get to carry these six Canadian Honkers as well as guns back to the truck.

On the walk back we asked, what ones did you get? I don't know, which ones did you get? Screw it how about we both got three.... Sounds good to me.

We ended the hunt with another ceremonial fist knock and a memory that will last forever.

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