Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
Yesterday’s clear skies, cool temps and ripping NW winds put migratory birds on the move. The airways over North Iowa were busy as everything from shorebirds to hawks to warblers made their way southward. When the winds suddenly switched to the south, I hoped newly arriving geese would take a migration break and provide some future hunting opportunities. When the sun came up this morning, I got my wish.
Taking a brief recess from the mud flat I’ve been hunting during the past few days, I decided to return to a picked cornfield where I had success earlier this season. I was surprised to see and hear geese already on the move before legal sunrise; a development that obviously threw my decoy setup into high gear. After getting the decoys out in record time, I ditched the vehicle and had just set foot back in the decoys when I heard geese approaching from behind. Executing a hasty porpoise dive into the decoys, I grabbed the gun and hurridly raked some corn stalks over my clothing. Turning my head in the direction of the honking, I spotted a group of four Canadas headed my way. A couple of clucks on the Eastern Shoreman, and the group simultaneously locked their wings and dropped the landing gear. It was still so early in the day that the incoming honkers seemed to glow in the light of a still rising sun. I waited until the geese were on my left hand side before sitting up. The lead bird presented a perfect, back peddling 15 yard shot. Just as I began to squeeze the trigger, one of the other Canadas played catch up and began to pass the leader. When the shell ignited, I was amazed to see two geese tumble to the stubble. So there I was — less than one full minute into the hunt and two beautiful Canada geese already on the ground.
I guess October goose hunts are a lot like snowflakes [or maybe a box of chocolates] — No two are exactly the same, and you never know what you’re going to get. Although painfully brief, this morning’s hunt had certainly been one to remember. I celebrated by picking up the decoys before driving into Lake Mills to have coffee with the regulars at the Rice Lake Bull’s Table.