This week saw volatile weather in the forecast. We had a three day pattern that saw cold damp conditions followed by a weekend filled with crazy wind and warmth. Our clients were fairly local to us so we made the call to ask if there was any chance they could come a day early as the weather was supposed to remain the same as opposed to the massive swing back to the warmer side of things on their originally scheduled hunt. After a short back and forth, things were set in motion to have a Friday morning hunt.
We were slated to have dense fog throughout the morning that would later become light drizzle. (picture perfect waterfowl weather) Our plan was fairly simple, the scout showed that the birds were feeding heavily in two adjacent fields that were maybe a mile apart. Smack dab between them was a cattle pond. Birds were bouncing between feeds fairly regularly each day. Friday came and we opted for a water set. Planning to ambush birds as they traded between feed fields. (this would turn out to be the right call)
The early morning started out promising, with a pair of mallards giving it up right after first light. Then another single dropped in like a ninja in the shadows. All three met the business end of our group firing line. Ten minutes in and we had three mallards on the straps. Then things went pretty quiet until around 8:30. I could see the clients were starting to lose confidence. We assured them this was pretty well in line with what the scout said would happen. They were first time waterfowl hunters so they were not all that convinced.
Then the all to familiar sound of a distant honk broke through the fog. Their faces lit up and you could feel the excitement fill the blind. The distant honks drew closer, approaching from the East. The fog concealed their exact location, but we knew they were coming. The birds caught the south east wind and slid to the north setting themselves up for a graceful touch down in our decoy runway. Then like a magic trick they emerged from the fog. Their wings were cupped and they were about to meet their end. Just when they got into range we hollered Take'em. The guys jumped up and unleashed a fury of steel. not a single gun was left standing with a shell in the tube. Their faces were beaming and all their doubt had washed away.
They next 45 minutes would keep their barrels warm and their adrenaline pumping. when it was all said and done we were sitting at 17 birds for the morning. Dustin and I were happy with the hunt thus far but knew there would be a few more chances. We patiently waited for the next opportunity. Just as doubt began to creep back into our clients, we had an epic flock grace our spread.
25 of the largest honkers you ever saw crested the horizon and made their approach. They approached from the north, on a perfect line for us. This was the exclamation point flock that we were hoping for. A few honks from Dustin and I and they were lined up and fully committed to land. You could practically hear our clients confidence build. They were silently counting up the birds that were sure to rain out of this approaching flock. The geese gave it up... no hesitation, straight to landing gear down and back flapping over the water. Of the 25 that came in, all but three landed before we yelled, "Cut'em." the guys burned their barrels down on this group. When the dust settled, only two birds were left floating on the water to be added to the already heavy straps. After incessant ribbing, a healthy dose of shit talk, and an abundance of laughs it was clear this would be a flock that would live on in our conversations for the foreseeable future.