Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Adventures Continue...

"WTF mate?"
We rolled out of town early enough to fight ice on the lake if need be. Little did we know, word had gotten out about the high numbers of birds in the area and there were about eight other rigs at the boat-ramp that had already put in prior to our arrival. With plenty of room for hunters in the area, we weren't a bit discouraged and continued on with our plan.

We rode the GPS trail to a cove that was holding over 500 mallards just a few days prior. We were pleased to see a lack of ice and made it into our spot after a quick 20 minute run. We strategized our setup and began setting decoys and brushing up the blind. With just a few minutes until shooting light, I took off around the point, stashed the boat and made a mad dash for the blind before the magic hour started.

The view out front and right of the blind...
Unfortunately, we were given a harsh reality check and the magic hour never happened. A half hour into legal shooting time and not a single bird flying had us a bit confused. As daylight replaced darkness, I looked behind us and saw a boat stashed about 150 yards from our blind. Disappointed, we through our hands up in the air after seeing a wall-tent set up just up the hill from the boat. The tent was army-green in color, and we hoped it would blend in with the hillside, but that was wishful thinking at best.

What you don't want to see 150 yards behind your set...
What few groups came and looked at our spread were flared off over 100 yards out at the sight of the camp behind us! With not enough time to spare for a quick move and second set, we were forced to stick it out and hope something would come in low enough to not notice the camp behind us. We had to laugh about it, because otherwise we would drive ourselves nuts. We pulled our spread and headed for home with our tails between our legs!

Today we regrouped and headed to Tri-Cities  for a quick goose hunt with a good buddy of ours. Brent found a pile of birds last night using a field they have leased rights to just above the Snake River. We met Brent at six and started the process of brushing our laydowns and setting up the spread in the headlights of our idling trucks. Waiting for the birds to fly, reminiscing about previous hunts only added to the anticipation!

The birds began flying around 9 and we had our first group commit about an hour later. We let 5 birds land in the spread in an attempt to finish the above flock of 30 or so geese. Unfortunately, they were all Lessers and behaving as such, clucking excitedly as they circled pass after pass just out of range. After four passes they bugged out completely and we were left with the birds that had landed in the decoys. We jumped them out of the spread and dropped the pair, we were on the board at last!

All in all, the morning progressed in a similar fashion with lots of groups of Lessers coming in cupped and committed but unwilling to finish completely. We adjusted a few things with our spread but determined the conditions were to blame, with a 20 degree increase in temperature from the day before and most birds unwilling to finish to the grass field we were in. Maybe they were back on the corn today, hard to say. Such is life as a goose hunter! Overall we had a blast and Brent couldn't have been a better host. We worked a few groups, missed a few and shot a few and couldn't have asked for more.

Twilight on the spread

The closest thing I have to a pic of the super goose dance

Making adjustments

Looking forward to our next hunt with Brent and company! We're off to eastern Montana in the morning for a week of chasing honkers. Will have reports after the trip!

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