Saturday, October 31, 2009
Opening day of central illinois goose and duck season pics!
It has been about 5 years since I have been this excited about a waterfowl opener. I actually had a bit of trouble falling asleep friday night and was awake a good hour early Saturday morning. An absolute ton of geese had been working our field all week and I was just excited to get out hunting with some friends and family!
Hunting buddies Todd, Aaron and Matt along with my brothers and my two cousins- Caleb and David (both first time hunters) and I all met at 6 am and set up a nice spread of 3 dozen big feet decoys and 2 mojo ducks out in the field. I knew the geese didnt start flying till about 8:30 am so we brought the mojo's to try and get lucky with a group of early flying ducks. What happened next was really pretty unbelievable.
At 7 am the first group of 4 mallards came right in to our spread, and then about every 5-10 minutes for the next hour we were bombarded with small groups of mallards right and left! We were not anticipating bonus action like this one single bit and actually didnt prepare for it very well either. After the first 3 or 4 groups we were actually running out of shells and rationing and dividing amongst ourselves. Finally Justin knew he needed to make a break for the truck and was able to scrounge up about 50 more shells of various gauges- 20, 12, and 10 gauge so we could stay out long enough for the geese to fly!
So the ducks kept a coming and Todd's dog woody did an amazing job at fetching every singe one of the 23 mallards that came tumbling down! After burning through the reserve shells over the next half hour, the ducks finally quit coming and we all had about 5 shells left each for the geese. The ducks were just a bonus! We just knew the geese would be coming over the horizon any minute and this was shaping up to be the hunt of a lifetime!
Well, 8:30 came along and sure enough here comes two geese right from where they were supposed to! They came in to our spread like clockwork and pretty much landed at our feet. Caleb and David put the hammer to them and Justin finished one of them off with his single shot 10 gauge! The anticipation of several more small groups of geese was building! Adrenaline was pumping, we were hooting and hollering and just felt like kings (more like legends in our own minds), but we were flying high and just knew the best was yet to come!
Anyhow 9 am comes along and the air temperature starts feeling just a bit cooler and the wind starts biting just a bit. Still no sign of the geese anywhere. 9:30 comes rolling around with no sign of geese and stomachs start rumbling along with the much colder temps! By 10 am and no sign of geese the adrenaline and excitement is pretty much gone, it feels about 20 degrees colder than at 7 am, and the reality of our daily obligations starts setting in. We figure that once we pick up the decoys and are halfway to the trucks that the field will literally fill up with geese, but just couldnt wait for 'em any longer. We snapped some pics and then headed out to install an aeration system for a client.
Noah is definitely my son. He just absolutely loves fish and animals- dead or alive and is not afraid one bit to pick em up! Its always great to show Brook these kinds of pics later in the day and watch her reaction as she goes and washes his hands and changes his clothes!
I checked on our field several more times in the afternoon and was just amazed that the geese never did fly at all. Not even in the evening! They must have taken a day off and boy did they choose a good one to sit tight and hunker down. Oh well, were gonna be waiting for them in the morning! I just hope they fly before church starts, otherwise I might not be hunting again for awhile if I'm late.