We were struggling to find a decent amount of birds to hunt for the season’s opening day. We had gone down southern Alberta to start things off in years past and that was going to be our plan. There were birds down there to hunt but not the larger groups that we wanted to target. It was going to involve us to go down the day before and start scouting for those birds.
Luck came our way as Tim from Hanna Alberta texted that he had permission to hunt on a field that had a decent amount of birds feeding throughout the previous week. That’s what we were looking for. Tim did a great job watching the field and figuring those birds out. There were Canada Geese and Speckle-Bellies feeding on this harvested pea field. We decided to hunt the field on Saturday morning, opening day.
Lyle, Matt, and myself left at 3:00 a.m. to get to the field for 5:00 a.m. to have over an hour’s time to setup. We realised that it was going to take us a bit longer to setup and stubble the blinds since it was the first hunt of the season. We setup 5 dozen full-body Canada decoys, 3 dozen Canada Silhouettes, 3 dozen mallard full-body, 3 dozen full-body Speck decoys, and 3 dozen headed Speck socks. The stubbling went well since the pea field had a taller section that we used to break up our blind’s profiles and to cover the blinds with. We were done and had the trucks & trailer moved with 10 minutes to spare.
There was almost no wind this morning and we could hear the geese in the distance. We were graced with 2 early morning single Speckle-Bellies. They were taken and one was a beautiful adult. This shocked me since Specks usually don’t decoy well in the early season. We had a few Canadas decoy well and then the rhythm of the hunt became evident. The perfect mix of pairs and small family groups landed throughout the spread. The lack of wind made their landings more erratic since they did not land in the desired ‘killhole’ of our decoy spread.
We had a group of 5 Specks land outside the spread on the west side. Lyle and Matt were able to take 3 of them as they were outside of Tim and my shooting zone. Then a nice little bunch of mallards dropped in and 4 of them were knocked down. The slow trickle of Canadas continued until we had a full limit of geese for the morning.
The butcher’s bill came to a full 4 man limit of geese (27 Canadas and 5 Specks) with four bonus ducks. I was a little surprised that we did not see more ducks at that field. We were very happy to shut down the morning hunt by 9:00 a.m. and take down the spread. On the way to town for a late breakfast we recapped our early morning and agreed that it was worth the 2:00 a.m. morning call for us. What a great start to the fall season.