Friday, September 2, 2011

A really slow start to the new hunting year

After those two shots I figured I should have spent at least as much time on the trap range this summer as on the pistol course.

It wasn’t a far poke, no more than 40 yards. If that, but the way the pellets sprayed the water behind the low-flying Canada goose I knew I had stopped in my swing.

Certainly, it was not much of a beginning to the opener of Ohio’s 15-day early Canada goose-only hunting season.

Then again, the day had started out badly enough. I had gotten as far as I-90 and Vrooman Road when the heavy-duty light show in the heavens appeared and the frog-choking rains tipped the scales in favor of returning home and avoiding the season’s first hours.

I’ll do some crazy things to chase waterfowl but I won’t sit in a blind during a thunderstorms. Not if I want to hunt again.

For the rest of the day I fidgeted at work, my thoughts drifting to the farm pond as to whether it was being occupied by any geese.

Though the temptation was strong to break free and head out once the storm clouds rolled away I stayed put. The reason being I had promised to take Bev, my wife, out in the late afternoon for a late-day hunt.

Sticking to the game plan we arrived at the farm pond. There we saw a small flock of geese taking refuge underneath some trees that climb out of the landowner’s lawn.

There was no point in trying to walk them up since they almost certainly would have taken flight, especially since Bev and me were being accompanied by our two Labrador retrievers, Berry and Millie.

So I drove the SUV down the oil tank right-of-way and then we walked the short distance to the hunting blind.

The hope was that the flock would eventually seek the water and maybe swim down to the five decoys we had staked out. No such luck as nearly all of the birds took flight after their rest and chow-down on the landowner’s prized lawn.

Except for two geese that swam in the central part of the pond and which displayed a definite lack of interest in our decoys and my calling.

A third goose was way at the pond’s far end, up on its dam. It too had no intention of coming our way.

When a hunting friend showed up and made a stalk on the goose from the dam side the bird took off, successfully avoiding the gunner’s shots. The bird flew just above the water’s top knot and straight across the bow of the blind. That’s when my two shots failed to bring down the feathered B-52 bomber.

The shots did, however, excite both Berry and Millie who each pranced at the water’s edge in a vain effort to see a downed bird that didn’t exist.

As for Bev, she never even raised her own shotgun.

“I just figured you’d kill it,” she said, adding some salt to my all ready bruised ego.

Of course that was just one bird and just one evening of the early season. There will be other opportunities and other geese but this year’s beginning of the hunting season sure does smart.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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