Just ahead of the Storm – Oct 31/17

We had said goodbye to our American friends for the season. Most of us were at the end of our waterfowl season. Both Lyle and Matt had big game tags to fill. At the end of October we are usually at the end of our waterfowling season. I still had an itch to give it another try. We had a good season, but I was disappointed that the snow geese had not decoyed well. I was hoping to shoot some nice blues and ducks, we had shot very few of them during the season.

I was watching the weather forecasts closely. It appeared that I had a window of 2 days before the freeze up. I called up my aunt and was able to stay with her for a couple nights. I grabbed 400 sock decoys in my truck and headed to Saskatchewan.

The first day was kind of a bust. A couple of hard overnight freezes had locked up the shallow sloughs. This usually means that there’s only a couple of places that the birds would be left at (they usually stay on the big water since it freezes up last). After checking out the area where we shot up the cranes the week previous, I headed towards the last big water in the area. On this water was close to 100k birds. They were streaming to a field that we hunted the week previous. I received permission to hunt that wheat field as I watched thousands of specks and snows pile into it. It was next to a lentil field that was holding double the amount of birds, so after a little wheeling and dealing I received permission to hunt the ground zero lentil field. It appeared that the next day was going to be an epic hunt.

The weather forecast said a big ugly storm was going to blow in at 10:00am. Since this was a solo hunt I knew that I would be taking this spread down just before or during the blizzard ALONE. I setup my decoys in a fashion that allowed a ‘Hunting Takedown‘ (I will explain more on this) and had my 2 arm rotary machine and E-Caller in front of me. I was wearing my whites among the decoys for this hunt. At the start of the hunt it was quiet but it did not stay quiet for long.

It was 45 minutes after legal shoot time when the first few stragglers came in, I was able to take 1 lesser Canada, 1 Speck and 2 Snows fast. Then the insanity began. A wave of birds 1/2 mile wide lifted off the water and made a bee-line right to me. I was able to take a few birds at the tail end of the tornado that hit me (I was trying to keep discipled and not shoot into the huge mobs, I failed at times). I was having a hard time picking out the blues in all the masses of birds. Three more waves of birds 1/2-3/4 of a mile wide worked my small spread that morning. I was able to get a few lesser Canadas, some nice Specks, and Snows. The only ducks that I saw all morning dove into my spread right on top of the rotary machine. Of the 6 ducks I was able to take 2 nice mallards. I looked at the time, it was 9:45 and it looked REAL ugly behind me. Time to do a Hunting Takedown.

I set up my decoys that allowed me to still hunt while taking down the decoys. I took down all the Speck decoys first, that left all my white decoys out with the rotary spinning and ecaller doing it’s thing. Since I was wearing whites I could take a knee and shoot birds if any came into my now smaller spread. Next I took down the headed Snow Silosocks. That left the headless ones  with the rotary and ecaller out. I then took down the last headless Silosocks and then broke down the rotary and disconnected the ecaller. I shot 4 birds while doing this. At the end of this Hunting Takedown the snow was blowing sideways.2017-10-31 12.00.04

What a hunt, I had 20 birds on the ground and I knew my Saskatchewan season was over. I didn’t shoot a nice blue, just a few immature blues. I had the truck packed up and drove home in the flying snow.

I am glad that I was able to film a few of the mobs of birds hitting my small goose spread. I’m glad I had proof because it seemed unbelievable. Check out the video. Solo hunts are fun and I find that it gives me a freedom to try a few new things.

 

 

 

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