Overnight temps are dipping into the 40’s. Primetime TV is filled with football. Hunting season is officially here.
Zeus, my dad and I chased geese in nothern Michigan this past weekend. Crops are up keeping the birds from working the fields. So we took the opporutnity to pass shoot local birds as they left the roost and headed to morning feeding spots. The sun quickly rose as woods ducks, teal, mallards and sandhill cranes bombarded us. Zeus had a great morning watching birds tear through the tree-tops landing within feet of his nose in the adjancent pond.
The geese sat on the roost for about an hour honking incessantly at one another. They took flight in small family groups of 4-6 birds and filtered out of the roost. We could hear them calling in the air as they skirted our blind by a 1/4 of a mile. The roosting marshland fell silent for half an hour. Zeus looked up and we all heard some distant honking. It was gradually getting louder. Each of us realized simultanesouly that these birds were coming right down the treeline heading to our blind. Four big Canada geese crested the trees about 40 yards away. We opened fire as they approached us. And missed them all.
I missed those geese because I didn’t take my time with the shot. Instead of shooting the birds as they approached, I should have turned around, let the birds fly over my head, then tried the shot. I’ve practiced the “over-the-head” shot 100 times on the Sporting Clays course. But I failed to put myself in the position to put my practice to use. I’ll chalk up the miss to nerves. That was the first flock of the year after all.
The next morning we went bass fishing. The water is still warm after the hot summer so top-water baits at sunrise worked like a charm. I walked a Zara Spook around weed edges hooking into 4 small bass, 1 pike and this respectable 4 lb largemouth. I expect the top-water bite to remain active for a few more weeks or until the water temps drop back into the normal range for autumn.