Pass Shooting Can be Messy Business

Last Friday, Fred and I went to Webb Tract for an overnight goose hunt. The hunting on Friday was slow as the birds we’re moving and the fog wasn’t quite right. By the end of the day we had four geese and two ducks. Our attitude was waining and with doubt about the Saturday weather, we were not optimistic about our chances.

To our surprise, the dawn arrived with a perfect fog, just off the ground, but apparently thick enough to force the birds to fly underneath it. We walked to the south end of our property and immediately began to get action, mostly from white-fronts, but occasionally snows and Aleutians. Ducks were also in the mix, just about every variety you could think of.

As the morning wore on, the hunting seemed to get better, peaking about 9:00 AM. The shots were long, but do-able. My first three geese came down on third shots. Typically that means I was not leading them enough with my first shot. As the birds flare, they slow and rise, making them more vulnerable to followup shots. With three specs and an Aleutian, I was pretty satisfied and starting to think about picking up when Fred sailed a bird about 150 yards across a nasty pond.

As Fred was hunting about 150 yards from me, we were conversing with our walkie talkies. I agreed to take one side of the pond while he took the other. He almost immediately shot a snow goose. Lola took off swimming the pond after the goose. A while later she came back with it – she retieved it from Fred’s pile of geese.

A flock of specs flew over me and I downed one. Sometimes retrieving is productive. Still heading after Fred’s goose, Lola and I trudged though the mud along the edge of the pond. Fred and I completely circled the pond from both sides – no goose.

We let Lola search, but nothing came up. Fred suggested he take Lola out into the field to see if it had traveled. I agreed.

About that time, three pintail came flying by and we dropped two of them. Once again, retrieving was productive. Not pretty, but effective.

Fred and Lola headed out into the field and Lola jumped the goose which she dispated with a growl.

Now I had four specs, an Aleutain and a pintail. I told Fred I was ready to head in. All this walking in thick Delta bog was making me tired. As I returned to my gear, I heard Fred shoot and down came two ducks, landing in front of me in the middle of a fairly large pond. Fred called on the radio an asked if I’d seen his bird come down. I asked if it was a duck and Fred said yes. I sent Lola after it.

I put her at heal and repeated the words, “Mark, Mark..” Her ears perked up and I sent her. Not being a perfectionist, she ran around the edge of the pond until she was close to the bird and then went in after it, but the mallard hen was lively and she couldn’t catch it.

I decided to help out and followed Lola around the pond. Half way to the chase, a large flock of snow geese appeared before me in the fog, I kneeled and waited. As they passed overhead, I picked out a bird and missed with the first shot and hit it with the second. My third shot hit it again as it sailed down about 150 yards away in the direction I’d come from. It looked like it died before reaching the ground, but  a rise blocked my view of where it came down. Now I had more work to do.

Wading the pond, I finished off the mallard, ending the chase. Lola brought it to me and we took off after the goose. After a lengthy search, she found it. Now I was really ready to head in. The load was so great that I walked back to camp and returned with the ATV as we had well over 50 pounds of ducks and geese in the bag.

After we left the island, we found a place to pluck the birds. Fred posed for a photo. Here’s what a goose mess looks like.

This is a pile of waterfowl.

One thought on “Pass Shooting Can be Messy Business

  1. One day, I will ask if I can go goose hunting with you.

    I enjoy duck hunting, but I have never taken an animal or plant as tasty as a speck of the year. I am hooked, just by the flavor.

    I’d be willing to do some work to pay off. I’m not good at calling, and I don’t have decoys, but I’ve all the makings of a good hand – a strong back and a weak mind.

    What great hunting you were blessed with! It looks like your year is off to a great start.

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