It is beginning to feel a bit like the Bill Murray flick,"Groundhog Day!" We have been stuck in this warm weather pattern for what seems like most of the season. The birds in large part are completely neglecting a morning feed. They opt instead to feed in the closing minutes of what is left of legal light, more often than not flying just after time runs out. So with that in mind we did what we always do. We hit a loaf pond, with ideas on setting an ambush to catch them by surprise.
The gray morning minutes were filled with anticipation. This group of guys was heavy with excitement and light on experience. So when the first sound of wings overhead broke the silence, things got tense. The tension was near immediately assuaged by graceful fly-by of a pair. They eased their way down into the landing zone and were met by a wave of shots. This pair obviously had trained in dog fighting tactics, because they managed to make our hunters look foolish. A few dumbfounded looks were traded in the blind and then it was back to business.
As the early gray faded and gave way to a bright morning, the skies went quiet and the wind went still. Dustin did his best MacGyver impression and fashioned a makeshift jerk string from a few decoy ring bases and a bungee cord that held our blind grass in bundles. Once that was completed we were ready for the big finish that was about to come.
Around 9:30 we started to see new life in the air. As each flock made their fly-over we steadily picked away at the groups who couldn't resist the sultry sweet talk of Dustin and I on the calls. Of the several flocks that were coaxed into range, there are two moments that stand out above the fray.
First: A lone bird was heard honking in the distance off to the west. Dustin was the first to pick it out as it made its way toward us. Those two made quite a duet as they played the classic game of You Honk, I Honk. As this giant canada grew closer, Dustin could be heard telling the guys to get ready. Then the sound of safeties could be heard as they switched to fire. Just a few more wing beats and Dustin yelled take'em. From out of nowhere, Coach (aka: Ben's Dad) rose up and cracked off that first shot before the rest of the guys could even react. That goose folded up so violently that it caught the rest of us off guard. Mostly because Coach could most often be heard fast asleep in his comfy Zero Gravity layout blind. He showed us just how quick a motivated old fart can move when he is determined. (LOL I bet he will will get a kick that I call him an old fart.)
Second: Last week we had some brand new first time waterfowl hunters in the blind. We had a solid flock of around 25 read the script, line it up and then back flap their way into floating amongst the decoys. If you read the previous journal entry you know how that flock played out. This week we had an eerily similar flock find its way into our decoys. They broke off of a larger flock from the south east. They wasted no time on their descent. One solid swing to get set up for landing and then they glided in for a watery touchdown floating amongst the fakes. Dustin and I were there having flashbacks to last weekend with our fingers crossed. We hollered shoot them and it was a beautiful display of shooting. The guys all shot pump actions and with each round of shots you could see the geese drop away from the flock. When the guns were empty and the feathers had settled, they had managed to drop 12 birds from that flock.
If you would like to listen to a post hunt recap of this hunt, Ben recorded an episode of The Fowl Front Watefowl Podcast from the comforts of our cabin. Hope you enjoy the conversation. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/big-honkers-in-the-flint-hills-sky-panda-hunt-review/id1358111889?i=1000459735438