In the region of Saskatchewan that we hunt in, there is an odd regulation. One cannot hunt dark geese (Canadas and Specks) after noon. You can hunt cranes, ducks, and snows in the evening… ours is not to wonder why. After October 15th can you shoot Dark Geese in the evening. One day I wish to ask a Conservation Officer why this regulation is in place. I doubt they will know why 🙂 . I usually take a week starting on the 15th to hunt, since nothing is more annoying than an evening hunt targeting snows and a couple of adult specks dive bomb your spread and you cannot do anything about it.
This week we had a full group. My brother Phil came out from BC once again to hunt along with our good friend Brad from California. The Alberta crew consisted of Tim, Lyle, Matt, and myself.
We started the hunt looking for birds. It seemed that the birds had left the area, which is unheard of for this time of year. It appeared that the only birds in the area were roosting on a large body of water near my aunt’s farm. It took a while to get landowner’s permission for a wheat field that was holding birds adjacent to ground zero (a lentil field that someone else had permission for but wasn’t hunting). We hunted there for 3 days in row, not my preference but it seemed it was the only place holding numbers of birds. We had 2 days of good hunting there and the 3rd day was weak. We decided to divide and conquer, my brother Phil and me scouted in one area and the rest headed south into the adjacent county.
Phil and myself found some birds, scouted where they went and figured we could hunt the field since we knew who owned it. There were about 10K on the field. It seemed decent. Lyle, Brad, and Matt found the mother-load. They found 2 fields holding massive amounts of birds. We received landowner permission and setup on the field they found early the next morning.
Right at the start of legal shoot time, we knew it was going to be great. I soon came to realise that there were A LOT of Sandhill Cranes in the area. We had a long line of the ‘Rib-Eye of the Sky’ coming right for our decoy spread low on the deck. Cranes take a while to drift in and we watched in anticipation and they came to under 10 yards of our blinds. We knocked down 8 on the first pass. Cranes hitting ground make a loud thump and we got to hear that thump over and over again. We had many specks and some snows work us as well. We had one of the most memorable hunts of our lives. We shot a full 5 man limit of cranes (25) and full 5 man limit of specks (25) and 10 snow geese to boot. If we had a few more people with us they would have filled their limits as well. What a hunt.
We were at the end of our hunt. I am glad we all had a great time. Such an odd week of hunting but it will be one of my most memorable ones. Here are a few pics of the hunt.