Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2011 MN Goose Opener

Logan and I arrived at the shack around 8:00 PM on Friday evening in anticipation of the 2011 early MN goose season. This was also the official start of my hunting season. We arrived in just enough time to watch hundreds of wood ducks, teal and mallards buzz the top of our cabin on the way to their evening roost. A great way to start the weekend.

We woke at 4:30 AM on saturday morning and met up with Joe Salato of Wingwaver Decoys and his daughter Sierra. We set the decoys on the top of a small hill that sits between a small lake (north slough) and a small pond (Logan's Honey Hole). Our spread of 3 dozen flocked big foot decoys and 1 General Wingwaver decoy looked great in the cut wheat field. Minutes after the decoys had been set the wood ducks began to buzz the decoys. This took place all morning long. We must have honestly had 300 to 400 hundred wood duck in the decoys or buzz the decoys through out the morning. It was a fun way to pass the time between goose flights.
The temp was about 50 degrees at sunrise with a light west wind and some light drizzle off and on. The first groups of geese started flying early in the AM. We had our first pair work the spread about 30 minutes after legal shooting time. The birds locked up but landed on the far left side of the decoys. I made a kill shot on the closest bird just as his feet touched the field. The 2nd bird flew off at a sharp angle and I wasn't able to bring him down.
After that we saw flock after flock of geese working the far east end of our field and not pay any attention to our calling our spread. It wasn't helping matters that the wind picked up to almost 30 mph and switched to the north. Joe and I adjusted the spread for the wind change and quickly pulled in two separate singles. Both of which ended up in the bag. We called the hunt at 11 AM and headed in for lunch and a little dove hunting.

Logan, Oshie and I went southwest of the cabin a couple miles and found some doves working between some telephone wires and a picked wheat field. We set up in the ditch and waited. Minutes later I made a nice little 30 yard shot on a dove and dropped it into some thick grass. We walked down to the location the bird fell and seconds later Oshie came out of the thick grass with the dove in her mouth. Her first official retrieve and it was a bird we would have never found with out her. That was the only dove of the weekend.

We picked up our spread and moved it to the far east end of our field so it was closer to the flight pattern the geese where using in the AM. Joe added another single to our bag and that was it for the afternoon shoot. The move did put us in the birds flight path but they all wanted to roost on water. Things where looking up for the AM. We ended the day with 4 geese, 1 dove and a pigeon.

Sunday morning found us with temps in the low 40's and a northwest wind at 10-15. It truly felt like fall. We got into our blinds shortly before legal shooting time and minutes later our first single of the day came into the spread. I made an easy 10 yard shot on him just as he went to set his feet on the field. Minutes later another single made the same mistake with the only difference being Joe taking shot. Ten minutes later and Joe called another single into my side of the spread, with one shot we had three geese in the bag in the first 20 minutes of the day. Logan also put the finishing shot on the 3rd goose with his single shot 20 gauge.

Things slowed down until about 8:30 when the switch got thrown and the air filled with geese. We called in another single and Joe quickly dispatched of him with a nice little 20 yard chip shot. Minutes later we had a flock of 9 geese locked up and gliding into the spread. A five shot volley had 2 geese down on my side and one on Joe's side. As Logan scrambled to retrieve the geese Joe called in another pair. Joe and I knocked the pair down with Logan taking cover outside of his blind. With that my day was done and Joe needed 1 more bird for our 10 bird limit....and we wouldn't have to wait very long. Joe called in a single and missed after his gun got caught coming out of his blind. It didn't matter as literally 5 minutes later another goose was locked up with his feet down looking for a place to land in our spread. Joe put The 10th goose of the day on the field and Logan finished it off with a head shot from his 20 gauge. A great hunt and a perfect start to the 2011 hunting season.

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