The last day of the 2014/15 season started off well enough. I had the Mayberry marsh to myself and set up in a spot that had potential. With about a dozen duck and goose decoys spread about, I had a bit of a struggle getting set up in the optimum spot.
Cattails and tules complicate hunting at Mayberry. If you sit down against a wall of these tall plants, you can’t see anything until it’s right on you. That’s OK if you have the patience of Jobe and the desire to shoot only ducks that are landing.
As various ducks passed by me without getting a shot off, I moved several times until I finally commanded a good enough view of the area to see ducks coming.
By that time I was in a bit of a frustrated state. Then I proceeded to miss a couple decent opportunities at pintail and mallards.
Then I heard a honk, hoonka, hoooawnka…from the field to the north. I reached for my honker call, which I carry on my string of calls for this occasion.
Not finding it there, I realized that I’d taken it off to add an additional spec call and resigned myself to silence.
Then they appeared, two honkers flying very low and calling. Apparently they could see my three spec decoys because they were heading right at them.
I raised my gun to be ready to shoot and got my feet under me so I’d be able to stand. When the birds were about 150 yards out, they began to fade away from me towards the far side of the decoys.
It looked like they would pass out of range, so I resorted to the only option left – a mouth honk. It was fairly soft, but the two giant geese heard it and immediately turned right towards me. At 20 yards, I swung past the head of goose one and down he came. The I moved over to goose two with the same result.
Goose one was DOA, but goose two was a swimmer. I raised my gun and fired, but the pattern of shot around the bird convinced me that it was futile trying to kill this bird on the water.
I hollered, “Lo,” and looked over to see that she was already in pursuit.
Realizing that there was a channel between me and the bird, I turned towards my boat. Then the goose disappeared into a band of cattail with Lola in hot pursuit.
This was a little scary to me as I had no idea what would happen in a face off between this giant Canada and my dog – a dog that had never (as far as I can remember) retrieved a honker before.
I recall another day when a white-front goose had faced off with Lola while standing on dry ground. With wings spread and head erect, that goose had looked intimidating, but to my surprise, Lola ran right over that one. But, this honker was at least twice as large as any spec and Lola was in deep water and thick cattail.
Getting into my little 8-foot duck boat was a water rodeo. I could hear Lola barking and growling from the cattail and I didn’t like the sound of this confrontation.
Powered by my electric motor, it didn’t take me long to circle to the other side of the cattails from where I could hear Lola growling.
There she was, swimming with the goose’s neck in her mouth, all the while growling. I think the sound of her own growling may had helped her generate the courage to tackle the very large goose. She turned the goose over to me and I hoisted both of them aboard the little boat. Lola had the drowned-rat look.
Having her back in the boar was a relief. And, the two honkers turned the hunt around.
Looks like we’ll soon have some smoked honker breast.
You can tell which honker was Lola’s.
Note: If you read my previous post, you know that my cell phone later went swimiming with me. However it did take pictures, but it was two days later before it came fully back to life and not before I’d ordered a new phone from Verizon. Since it’s now working again, I guess I’ll send the new one back unused.