Friday, December 18, 2009

Too Smart For My Own Good

A few geese on our spot, 12 hours before our hunt.
Got an opportunity to go out with Rich & Mike to hunt a goose field near the duck club I joined for opening day of late waterfowl season. It did not go as planned. About 1,000 birds were sitting on the field the afternoon before the hunt. Weather was pretty standard - 26 degrees (-3C), no clouds, 10-20kt NW wind, and no moon. We thought the next morning would be great.
I was really confused by what unfolded. At first light, ducks were flying - a welcome sight after many warm months. A few flocks of geese, 10 to 30 birds each, moved off of the nearby creeks as the sun rose and the wind increased. Most flocks flew between us and another group of hunters, gave us a look, and kept going. None of the geese seemed to be coming from or going to the same place. There was a steady trickle of geese for the first two hours of daylight - not large numbers that one would expect this time of year, but significantly more birds than were present just one week before. By 9:30am, the birds had stopped flying, and we hadn't shot.

Outer edge of our decoy spread - 4 dozen silhouettes and 2 dozen full body decoys - what we thought was a convincing layout really failed for us.
We hung around until 10-something o'clock and packed it in. On my drive down the eastern shore back to work, I saw bored hunters in field blinds everywhere....honestly it made me feel a little better. I also passed several farm ponds surrounded by cut corn / soybeans. Each pond had 300 to 500 geese sitting on it or around it. How did we miss this call? On a day when the geese should have been in the fields early, they spent the day on the water (which is what they do when it's about 20 degrees warmer).
We have a gigantic nor'easter headed up the coast, bringing 2 to 3 feet of snow to our area. I'm looking forward to getting out for some hunts as soon as the roads are passable again.
Snow cover map - making progress!

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