Shooting banded blue goose highlight of trip to Rich Hill

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Shooting banded blue goose highlight of trip to Rich Hill area

Charlie Farmer. Springfield News Leader

My son, Scott, and I took off early Thursday and headed to the Rich Hill area where we hunt geese. The opener of the special conservation order for Snow, Blue and Ross’ geese would open Friday. We elected to drive up early to scout several spots in the area that we had hunted before. We would meet other hunting friends Saturday and Sunday.

We decided to check into our motel first and then cruise the dirt roads for sighting of geese feeding or trading back and forth.

We got lucky. A field we had hunted two years ago was filled with snows on the ground. There were at least a thousand birds covering part of the corn field. We once again received permission to use the field. Scouting always pays off.

We would set 400 or more decoys in the field the next day. The wake-up alarm blared at 3 a.m. We dressed quickly.

It takes us several hours to position the decoys. When it’s done, we can lay in a maze of decoys. The moon shines brightly. We test the two electronic callers. Scott will work one; I will work the other. Tape cassettes sing the language of wild snow geese with the flick of a red switch.

On this day, the geese come in early, a few minutes before 7. Three Ross’ geese, flying low, hone in on Scott and me. My son kills the first. I finish with a double.

As it turned out, we did have one of the best days goose hunting together, considering that we didn’t put out all our decoys; the birds were eager to come in close. We ended up with 25 geese. Several were Ross’ geese, others blue. The majority snows.

The next morning we hunted with friends Jeff Malone, Mike Balance and Mike’s friend Dan in the same field. Jeff and Mike added another 200 decoys to the spread.

We saw plenty of high flyers milling around the second day. Some of them took a brief look at our set and moved on. The wind was stronger the second day and the birds seemed skittish. It’s rare that a flock of geese descends down in mass. Most common, a small squadron of birds, five or six will circle and spiral down into gun range. We call them Kamikazes.

Our second day bag was nine geese with five hunters taking part.

The last day all of us would hunt to noon and then head home. The tally of birds stopped at six.

The highlight of the day belonged to Scott. He shot a blue goose that wore a bright red and white neck band and a metal band on one leg. When we hunted Friday, my son mentioned that he would love to shoot a banded goose. On Sunday he got his wish. The band has a telephone number. Scott will call the number to find out where the goose was banded. The Arctic is a long way from home.

The special season extends through April. The best hunting in Missouri, however, is in the month of February.

Contact free-lance columnist Charlie Farmer at 1197 East Court, Ozark, MO 65721 or cjoutdoors318365@aol.com
 
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