Sunday, December 23, 2012

The day the world ended (for the geese)...

We got in late last night after a long 16 hour drive back from eastern Montana. The trip was about as good as any I can remember. With wonderful hosts, great company, and lights-out hunting, it really was one for the books.

Compared to most of our goose hunting here in eastern Washington... well it really didn't compare. Our birds in the Columbia Basin are hunted hard from top to bottom. Greater Canada Geese, or "honkers" are now a bit tougher to find with the large increase in numbers of Lesser Canadas spread throughout the Basin. Lessers are a fun bird to hunt, but they're very finicky and on many days, tough to finish into the spread. Honkers have a reputation for being big and dumb but they wise-up quickly when the hunting pressure is on.

The birds we found in Montana were big, unpressured honkers, and as our buddy Rex put it flock after flock, day after day- "They came to die."

This was hero-hunting at it's finest. Kill limits in the morning, pull out of the field and go scout the afternoon. Our biggest problem each day wasn't finding fields with geese, it was deciding which one we would hunt the next morning. Our trip finished with a hunt in a field we nicknamed "the silo field". We had seen 1000+ birds using it each morning but were unable to get permission to hunt it until Mark received a call and the go-ahead the morning prior to our last day. We didn't have time to scout it again, but we knew it didn't matter. The birds had been using the field for the past week and were comfortable feeding in a zone close to the edge on a fenceline that would provide an easy hide for our layout blinds.

We set the spread and brushed our blinds just in time to watch the Montana sunrise. As I pulled my camera out to take a few photos, I was interrupted with our first incoming group of birds. They were 150 yards out and already cupped and gliding. With a bit of light calling, the bird finished perfectly into the hole just 10 yards in front of the blinds. After the volley we high-fived and cheered with excitement. What followed in the next hour was heavenly. Group after group finished beautifully on the X, some coming in quiet, others honking and moaning excitedly as they glided into the hole. We finished with limits in about an hour and watched the birds still piling into the field as we drove off. I will forever remember the famous Apocalypse, December 21, 2012- the day the world ended for all those geese!

I hope you enjoy some photos from the trip. I'm now winding down the waterfowl season and gearing up for my winter guide season for steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula. If anyone is interested in booking a trip, please contact my via email at or on the phone at 509-460-9519.

Rex picking up after a good shoot
The pile

Stackin' up the natural sleepers next to fake ones...
Headed for the truck at the end of the hunt...

Brushed up good in the wheat stubble...

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