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Goose Hunting

Geese on Ice

I slapped the doors open and sat up. The vivid January sunset set the sky on fire with a warm pinky-purple glow. We had geese to retrieve. 40+ decoys to pack away. I didn’t want to move. I just sat there. Soaking up the moment.

It shouldn’t have worked.

Dusty called me the night before. He was fishing and watched flock after flock of Canada geese land on the ice.  What was open water the day before was now locked up. They landed anyway. Befuddled and noisy. Their ruckus pulling flocks of 20-30 birds from the sky to join the party.

The next evening we hiked out our layout blinds and sleds full of field decoys. Dusty lead the way chipping at the ice with a spud. The ice was vocal and pissed-off about having to support the first footsteps of the year.

We covered the blinds with white sheets and packed them in with snow. An ugly pile of zip-ties, canvas and cotton. I surveyed the scene. No goose in their right mind should land on this set-up.

Geese were at a distance moments later. A few flocks worked the decoys but flared. From the bay behind us we heard the honking quickly getting louder.

A group of birds, 12 maybe 15, cut behind us. They pin-wheeled and crossed from left to right. Dusty called the shot. My Benelli barked twice dropping two geese. Just 30 minutes in and we had birds down.

Ducks, swans and geese worked over the rig for the next hour and a half. Finally, with about 20 minutes of shooting time left, the geese starting landing short of the decoys. Flock after flock stacked up. They wanted down. Right. Now.

Two big geese hung like kites over Dusty’s blind. The doors flew open. The geese flared behind us. He spun to his knees, drew a bead and….click.

Nothing….snow jammed the action.

The geese were undeterred. Desperate to have their water back. Two more flocks locked their wings and coasted toward the blinds.

Adrenaline coursed through my blood. The air tasted thicker. Each breath more controlled and shallower than the last.

Take ’em.

By the time I got my gun to my shoulder, the flock had flared over Dusty’s head. I didn’t have a safe shot. I lowered my gun. And I wasn’t even disappointed. It worked.

Blind: Before

Blind: With Hi-Tech Cover

Checking the Decoys

Making Another Pass

Locked and Landing

Shows Over

The Frozen Cast and Blast

Future Goose Jerky



4 thoughts on “Geese on Ice

  1. Great progression pics! And a nice haul too. Never thought about getting out on the ice. Of course, I don’t think we had snow once during any of the three goose/duck seasons–let alone ice.

    Posted by Matt Smythe | January 30, 2012, 1:37 pm
    • Thanks Matt. It’s been a crazy warm winter. I went ice fishing yesterday for the first time this season. And we didn’t have any late season freezes during the duck season. Both….really weird for Michigan. We have a late goose season that ends tomorrow. I’ve never had any luck finding birds to hunt this time of year. Until now.

      I still can’t believe that plan worked. Try it out in your neck of the woods and report back. Thanks for the comment.

      Posted by Pete from | January 30, 2012, 1:51 pm
  2. Yo Bro-Pete! Incredible stuff! I have yet to discover the thrill of a goose hunt, especially with a frozen ass! If tempted, I suppose I could cruise down my driveway and peel a few out of the horse pasture. Speaking of a weird winter, it’s been like 65-70 degrees down here for the last few weeks. Definitely El Nino! You can bet your ass that this weather pattern will have a huge impact on your fishing and hunting schedule for the rest of the year. I’m guessing that the pre-spawn movement for largemeouth will be hot about 3-weeks earlier, and the dirty rut of the whitetail may be a few weeks later this year. It’s crazy! One thing is for certain; coyotes and crows can and should die year-round, regardless of the weather! Love ya Bro, see you soon! BH

    Posted by Ump Pappa the Boom Droppa | February 8, 2012, 6:03 pm

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