Two Firsts for the Year

Two Firsts for the Year

After breaking the losing streak last weekend, I had a feeling things had finally turned for the better for us for the 2013-14 waterfowl season. Truth be told it hasn’t been much fun this year, grinding on low numbers and things where getting almost stressful in the blind. When Saturday morning rolled around I just had a feeling something good was going to happen. Chip Vanhouden, Gary Mellard and Jason Surface joined me at one of my favorite honey holes in the NE corner of the state for a morning set.

The start of a great day!

The start of a great day!

As we pulled up in the morning we where all flabbergasted to see the pond had stayed open from the weekend before… Two nights this week had been in the single digits so to pull up and have almost a full acre of open water had to be a good sign right? We proceeded to put out a moderate sized decoy spread and hunker in for the morning, hoping for the best.

About 9:30 in the morning the first group of about 15 birds came over us, circled once and dumped right into the decoys! Thus the problems started here and developed into the theme for the day, the dog broke. Dakota knowing she didn’t have her shock collar on decided that once the first bird hit the water it was time to shoot, the only problem was most of the birds where still high… Gary didn’t shoot and the other three of us pulled three birds out of what should have been a 6 or 7 bird kill. Now they say in every gray cloud is a silver lining or in this case a silver bling lining. Dakota came trotting back with a big old Canada in her mouth that was banded. First one out of our blind this year!

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The next group worked much like the first and the sadly the same thing happened with Dakota taking an early start that caused a murder to be turn into one bird… Car time!! She didn’t like and it was my fault for not having her collar on her but she spent the next hour in time out up at the truck.

Shortly after Dakota got put in time out a nice 3 pack came in and two stayed with us. (Video below)

While cleaning these birds up off the ice we had a group of geese come over and try to land but as theme of the day goes, Gary’s pup Riley was out on the ice chasing a crippled goose. The birds cupped and tried to come in three times with Riley running after her bird but finally the birds gave up and headed on, that could have been 6 or 7 more easily. As Riley was finishing up her fetch a single goose came over the decoys at about 60 yards, knowing it wasn’t going look at us with the dog out I rose up and took a clean kill on a long shot. This day was turning into the day of what could have been.

As the morning wore on the snow geese kept flying over but the Canada’s seem to have stopped. As we where debating picking a group of 8 Canada’s dropped out of the snows and started working us. They took one look cupped their wings and came right into the kill hole. Guns blazed and in the end 7 of the 8 birds stayed. Including what we believe to be one of the rare Quill Lake geese. Chip got this amazing video of it all.

http://vimeo.com/85049761

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When the smoke cleared and the day was done we ended up with 14 geese for 4 guns, one band and what I believe to be a Quill Lake goose. Good Karma brought no ice and solid birds… One of our best days of the year.

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When we got home my new puppy Paige was more than excited to see all the birds and spend the next 20 minutes fetching her own goose wing that she proudly trotted around with.

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~Nick

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