Archive for January, 2008

Do you remember your first?

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

The other day hunting with Jake, it got me to thinking about the first time that I shot a goose. I was 12 years old. I had been hunting geese for a couple of years at the time and we would only average about 3 to 6 geese a year. The club that my dad was a member of had leases up around the Windsor reservoir. We never hunted over decoys because we were in these box blinds that were spaced about 150yds apart and there were usually 15 to 20 in a field. The hunting wasn’t that great. Most of the shots that we had were passing shots and most of those were usually way out of range. Sky-busting is what we called it. We used 00 and 4 buckshot to hunt with. That morning was typical of most other mornings. It was cold and the geese were slow in coming off of the lake. We had one flock come over that we shot at and I can remember that the floor in our blind had a covering of snow over it that had turned into ice. As I would shoot that old 870 straight up, granted I barely had arms long enough to work the pump, the recoil after each shot would slide me across the floor until I was backed into the corner. About mid-morning another flock came over us and finally I was able to connect on a goose that was towards the back of the pack. I have killed a lot of geese since then and hunted them a lot of different ways but after almost 26 years, I can remember it like it was yesterday. I have been fortunate to harvest many animals in my brief hunting career, but the ones that stand out the most for me are always my firsts. As I reflect back on the hunting that I have done, I look at all of the memories that I have made for myself and I can only hope that my kids will be able to build there own memories and adventures. To my friend Jake and to my future best hunting buddies Jacob and Caleb. (I know that you are too young yet!) Remember your firsts, because that is where it all begins. Oh! One more thing. To my good friend Jim: “How about them Tigers!” You owe me a soda pop! It’s the first time I beat him in a bet if you are all wondering.

Hunters: 1, Geese: 1

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Can you remember where or what you were doing the last day of 2007? I can tell you exactly where I was! Sitting in a wind swept, snow covered corn field southwest of Greeley, Colorado, trying to keep my nose from freezing in the sub zero wind chilled air hunting geese. Sounds fun? Well, I will tell you that I would not have missed it for the world. I took a good friend of mine, Jim and his son Jake, out that day to try and get in one last day of goose hunting before our licenses expired for 2007. This was the third time that I had taken them out this past year. The first time was at the beginning of 2007 and the second time was the day after Christmas. Both times we had come up empty handed. The first time we ended up getting my truck stuck and spent most of the morning getting it out and the last time we sat there in pea soup thick fog until we finally called it a day. To say that they were getting good at putting out and picking up decoys was an understatement.  This time I was keeping my fingers crossed that Jake would be able to knock down his first goose. Hopefully we all would at least get some shots!
All morning long we watched as geese flew around us from field to field, but by noon, we had not had any come in on our set. Jim and Jake had planned on hunting only the morning.  As they were getting ready to leave, Jim offered to buy me lunch. Being the starving type of hunter that I am, I graciously took him up on it. About half way to the trucks, geese started coming in on our decoys out of nowhere. I suggested that we go ahead and head to lunch. I figured that the way the geese were starting to fly, the afternoon hunt would be good and I sure hate hunting on an empty stomach! After lunch we headed back out to the field. When we got there we noticed that we had 20 to 30 extra decoys! Of course these guys were a little bit more apprehensive than there molded plastic playmates, especially when three large camouflaged men started coming at them with shotguns. Trying to put the sneak on a flock of geese in an open field is about like trying to win the lottery, TWICE! It just doesn’t happen (at least not very often). Once we had done a good job of scaring off the geese that were in the decoys, we disappointedly hopped back in the pit and got ready. We didn’t have to wait very long before the previous hunts started to pay off. The first flock came in and we knocked down a bird. Then gradually the chaos began. We started having flock after flock come in, almost so fast that you didn’t have a chance to completely load your shotgun. Then it happened. We were coming out of the pit to shoot at a group behind us when Jake and his dad spotted two that had landed in the decoys on there end of the pit. They quickly swung on the geese as they took off and Jim and Jake both connected! We had several other opportunities to shoot at birds that afternoon, but like all good things the day was getting late and we needed to pick up and get home.

Here is a picture of Jim and his son Jake with the geese that they shot. Congratulations Jake on a job well done. See you in the pit!