Friday, January 8, 2016

One Goose Short of a Full Boat

Well, the ducks came and the geese; they were still here too. I started out jumping about 40 mallards on the way to my spot and dropped two of them. They were both cripples and Cutter was a little indecisive so I started my way down the bank to help out. About halfway down, things turned south pretty quick.
Apparently, there was enough water dammed up recently to create an ice-shelf that had collapsed, which is now ramping down to the water and covered in a couple inches of fresh powder. Those of us that live in states with four seasons know there is nothing slicker than a sheet of fresh ice with a little powder on it.  Add about a 60 degree pitch and I had no chance. My feet went out from underneath me and before I knew it, I was sliding fast down the bank across the ice-shelf and into about 33 degree water.
As I went down, my natural instinct to brace my fall kicked in and as my forearm hit the ice, I heard a crack and instant pain shooting up my arm. It didn't last long as I slid sideways into the icy water and before I could find bottom with my legs, the current rushed over my head. It was so cold I had to gasp for air and as I did, took in a huge gulp of the river.
I would have to think the freezing water helped motivate me to quickly gain my feet and in doing so, I was able to prevent my waders from filling up, which could have meant certain death. I found my way back up on the ice-shelf and with gun still in hand, was able to shake myself off and assess my dire situation.
All right. I might be exaggerating a bit. I certainly didn't break my arm but I did bruise it a little and I did take a pretty nasty digger. All of that is true but I only slid into about 2 feet of water, which did splash up into my face but I was so bundled up, I really didn't get all that wet. So hunt on right? What this does illustrate though, is just how quickly things can go bad in the winter out here participating in things like duck hunting or skiing or anything else outdoors.
Cutter and I did get the two ducks I dropped and we wound up setting up on the opposite end of the island we usually do. It was a north wind, which means the heads of the islands hunt better on the Mo. It's just easier for ducks to land in open water that way since the river runs north and they'll be coming in from the south. It worked out pretty well yesterday.
Heading out, I even said I was a little skeptical of how it was going to be. The weather was right and I did think there should be another push of mallards but most had left the last time I went out so I didn't really know what to expect. It was pretty insane and even the geese had stuck around and actually gained in numbers. And one thing that is clear is that if you set up where the geese want to be, it doesn't matter if you have decoys or not, they will come in.
I set out some mallard decoys along with a few divers, just for confidence but I left my goose decoys behind. In the first hour, I had multiple groups of geese set into the decoys or at least give me a really good look and again, not a single goose decoy out. I should have had my limit on both geese and ducks an hour before sundown but I missed a couple opportunities and actually did knock another goose down but it was able to get back up before Cutter could get to it so I wound up with a limit of mallards and one short on the geese. It was pretty damn good to say the least. Today, Kuhnert and I are going to let them have it. Same weather. Same birds. We shall see...
Keep 'em where they live...

No comments:

Post a Comment