A little scouting and conversation with a landowner provided a prime early season Canada Goose Hunt for Team Quacker Wackers. Pete Wyckoff assembled a group of friends for a hunt in a cattle pasture. Permission was granted by the landowner on Thursday prior to the Sunday hunt. A brief introduction and explanation of safety consideration and an offer of some of the game turned into a great hunting opportunity. The property is currently under pasture for production of beef cattle and the geese had been spending the middle of each day relaxing on the pond and picking grass in the pasture. Several days of scouting revealed a few teal using the pond and approximately 200 Canada Geese arriving mid-morning and staying for the majority of the day.
We got in early and set up our blind with about 3 dozen goose decoys and a handful of teal decoys. We watched geese fly most of the morning and had mallards, wood ducks, and wigeon work the decoys in the water. We also had a hen hooded merganser that decoyed three different times. Geese started to arrive around 10:30 am and we were more than ready for them. Due to narrow shooting lanes, the first flock landed unscathed and walked around the pasture in areas we couldn’t shoot. The second group landed with the first, but chose to walk right into the decoy spread. We let the lady of the group take the first shot as they took off before the rest of the group unleashed. The flock numbered about 15 birds and only 4 left the field that morning. We scratched out a few more and ended the day with 15 geese all together. It was a great early season hunt and a good tune-up for Belle who already had 8 teal retrieves under her belt this season.
Scouting for birds is the key to getting good spots and a friendly conversation with a landowner can lead to some really good hunts. My relationship with the landowner is continuing to improve and develop. Periodic contact with the landowners is essential to securing hunting opportunities and maintaining hunting opportunities. I see this landowner at least once a month in order to continue the relationship. My first encounter with him was 4 years ago in search of a turkey hunting property. He declined to let me hunt that year, but has decided that letting me on his property isn’t such a bad thing. He has refused the offer for the wild game that I take from his property and gets more enjoyment out of hearing my stories than any kind of physical gift can provide.
Do your work early and often and it will pay dividends. Stick to your ground rules and make them clear before each hunt so that your group doesn’t abuse the opportunity and you can realize high quality hunts day in and day out.