|Matt being calm and happy|
Ring-ring (or bleep bleep, what ever his ph sounds like). Matt answers and its his farming buddy from Bay of Plenty - the geese are into his place. They need to be shifted.
Matt get's on the cell and collectively we all discover that we're in the same place - no way can we drop everything and get going. Tony's tied up on a house build. Chewie's got work commitments, I'm about to embark on a series of work related functions around the country, and Matt himself, well he's got his and another business to worry about.
We cross-check diaries and realise it will be 2 weeks before we can get there. So much for coming to the farmer's rescue. (which was a good part of the issue when F&G was managing geese - finding crews with the ability to drop everything, get going and do the dispersal). I booked in my leave. 2 weeks is a long, long time. By the time it had rolled around, we had a crew of 2. Matt travelled down to scout and reported in that the birds had moved on. Some goose kak was evident but the birds themselves were elsewhere.
I almost called it on the spot; work is pretty busy and I needed to catch-up on stuff that I'd let drop. But Matt reminded me that we're young and free, that anything can happen, and also that he's driven 3 and a bit hours so I should too. So out I went to cut grass and to dress the blind. Decoys and stuff into car. I found myself really enjoying the pre-hunt gathering of kit.
The alarm went at 3 and by 3.15 I was gone. Dawn had broken as I crossed the Kaimais and by the time I met up with Matt it was light. We drove down to our spot, arranged the dekes and blinds and began to hear honks as geese began to get a bit vocal.
|Prime goose territory|
A look around showed goose food for Africa. We wouldn't be dealing with starving birds, that's for sure. And they certainly weren't skinning the area we were hunting, the grass was thick.
Over the years we've spent plenty of time lying in paddocks looking at the sky - goose hunting successfully requires a set of circumstances that are pretty specific;
1. Scouting or being told that geese are there
2. Finding out where 'there' is, to the metre and setting up
3. Hoping that overnight, geese haven't changed their minds about where they want to feed
4. Shooting them
We had zero out of 4 covered.
But lying in a paddock in a beautiful and new part of the world certainly isn't bad - at all. We had cock pheasants calling around us, the weather was nice, the place certainly had potential and it was great to catch up with Matt.
It beat being at work hands down. After a few hours we decided to walk the lower paddocks and scout for goose sign. We found that they'd been using some standing water at various stages.
Around which goose kak in various stages of desiccation were seen.
We wandered back to the spread and with it approaching 10.30 decided to call it. Matt and I looked at each other as we got to the cars and said to each other "you know what'll happen now.." - sure enough as we reached the paddock 8 or so geese were passing by looking at the dekes.
Back at the farmer's place for a coffee, he mentioned that his mate the maize contractor, was having all sorts of goose dramas as they honed in on his freshly sprouting maize. At least we knew where the birds were now going! And a new lead for next year....