|Three degrees (farenheit) and sunny. May as well stretch out!|
When the thermometer in the truck bounced between -14 and +3 degrees at 4:45am, I knew I was in for a cold day. Eventually the rascally piece of ice on the sensor flew off, and I got a real sense of what I was up against: 3 degrees farenheit. On the radio, they said the wind chill was -15. Hooray again!
Fellow blogger and occasional conservation accomplice Steve Kline had invited me over to his lease on the famed Chester River. Steve and his buddies had been hunting hard for two days with very little luck, and we knew at some point that the thousands of geese resting on the icy river would eventually have to come into the corn fields to feed. We knew it. As we set decoys in the frigid pre-dawn, we heard geese cackling on the river, though not as loud as we would have preferred them to be. Based on calories and warmbloodedness alone, those birds would eventually have to come get some food. We were simply asking for a small tax: the lives of the first four geese to arrive.
As the sun came up and the temperature did not, it became clear that the geese simply might not fly. Groups would spiral up off of the river and then funnel back down to another spot just hundreds of yards away....on the river. It was incredibly frustrating and quite cold. The only action of the morning ended up being a large white-tailed doe running from across the farm directly toward our hideaway of standing corn (with a few corn cobs still intact). She pranced and pranced and pranced, and eventually our scent betrayed us.
This was a rare saturday hunt - I
Steve stayed put, and another buddy joined him in the late afternoon. On this day, the geese did fly, and they sure came right in to Steve's setup. It was 4:15pm, 30 minutes shy of the end of the hunting day. For me, a bit frustrating because with better planning, I could have been there, and I wouldn't have missed a shot on these birds. For Steve, it was the reward for three full days of hunting in the frigid cold and knowing that surely, eventually those birds will have to feed. Great shooting, Steve.