Monday, September 9, 2013

Spring has sprung

... the grass has ris', I wonder where the birdies is? It had been a while between going goose hunting, and actually shooting a goose. The boys had been watching the population we’d hunted last time, and thankfully they’d broken into smaller groups. The breeders are off breeding, and the sub adult and juvenile birds had broken into smaller groups of grass-hoovering packs. Tony had scouted and identified a spot where the larger concentration of birds had been feeding; although groups of birds were dotted all over the place, Tony said this paddock was probably the closest spot to the magical X.

One of the hassles with lengthening daylight hours is that to be ready and setup pre-dawn, you have to be out of bed early… so the alarm went at 3.30 and I was on the road at 4.15 to meet up with Chewy and Tony. I parked at the farm shed and when Tony arrived we chucked my dozen shell decoys, blind gun and bag into his truck. Chewy showed up so his gear went in too, so we’d be taking only one truck down the farm. We arrived at the paddock, found our landmarks in the dark (humps of soil from drainage ditch), and set off loaded down with gear to find fresh goose kak. A good stiff westerly was blowing – the ideal wind as it was directly away from the roost. While Tony moved his truck we got our decoys set in small groups to mimic what Tony had seen the day before. Finally, we were done. Guns loaded, and blinds closed. Darkness became gloom as the sun began to rise behind heavy cloud cover and we began to hear the first clucks as the geese began to wake up and move about on the roost. The first geese to move did so in the darkness, 2 silhouettes on whistling wings. Several more mobs passed by, not even craning their necks in our direction before finally a pair swung way downwind, set and came in. First birds down.

After that we had a few moments, Tony with a round jam, I got the cocking handle of my gun caught in my pocket with birds in our faces. It took a while to get the first 10 geese into the bag, then after that we had regular action. With 3 guns we were able to knock over several decent flocks culminating with Tony and I dropping 8 birds from a mob that peeled out my way (Tony was centre gun and I was on the left flank)… It didn’t all go in my direction though, with Chewy getting a number of chances on the right flank as most of the birds peeled that way in the morning.

By 10.30 it was quietening down, so with high tide at 12 we decided to sit it out and see if anything else came in off the harbour. Nothing doing in that department but Tony spotted a group of birds take off from a km away and beat their way into the wind. They got closer and closer and Tony laid on the pleading calls, 3 peeled off, set and glided in. A grand way to finish up, with exactly 40 birds down.

Handy gravel pile (there was goose kak on that too)

Gear pile - travel light when you have a carry ahead of you...
A bit of to-ing and fro-ing with gear and then a nice cold beer back at the trucks before a leisurely drive up the beautiful Kaipara coast to Matt’s house where we cleaned the birds, ate barbecued sausages and had another beer or two. The geese had layers of fat under their skins, they'd been loving the mild weather and good grass growth. The breasts were as large as any I've seen and on the whole the birds were of great quality. Having cleaned up, Matt and I went for a walk to survey one of his ponds that we’re planning to clear, re-plant and hopefully re-populate with bird life.

Pond & environs, a nice project-to-be

Tons of potential there but also quite a bit of work. Home by 4 and spent some time washing the decoys and cleaning out the layout which was a filthy mess. What a great day and a fantastic shot in the arm after a long and jading working week.

No comments:

Post a Comment