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Dirty self-portrait

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  • Dirty self-portrait

    Snapped this pic with my crappy flip phone last week while walking back to the deeks with a honker I shot at the boundary fence with adjoining property. The birds all landed in the stubble on the other side and I just waited in the cover on the fence line for them to leave. Got one long shot and made it count.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	Self portrait Sept 2019.JPG
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ID:	715396

    Haven't been out a lot this year. Harvesting was late due to crappy weather. Farmers are now cutting everything off for feed. Terrible waste. I see one fella just started cutting corn today. It should be okay. He sure left the stalks high though. Strange because he is obviously harvesting the whole stalk for silage. I saw some of the load of chop spilled on the road. They usually don't leave the stuff that high. Geese don't like to land in it like that. Too hard for them to get up again without banging their wings on stalks. Same thing with canola stubble. Have never seen honkers in canola. I've also been tied up taking care of my grandson. His stepdad goes to work for railroad early (6:30 a.m.) and mom and baby sister are still in hospital (birth was 18 Sept). So I'm looking after getting Parker to school in the mornings and then home to my place in the evenings. Only shot nine honkers so far and season has been open a month.

    I had the "day off" today and made it out to a wheat field that's half cut with windrows of straw still on it. In years past the geese have been kinda fussy about windrows, bales, and manure on the fields. Not so much this year as the goose population has exploded and feed opportunities are very limited due to wet fall. They must take what they can get, even if it's a sh*tty meal. I screwed up this morning setting out decoys in the pitch black. Where I usually set the deeks was still standing grain so I had to pick another spot. Set the spread too close to cover. By the time I figured it out the geese were already flying from the big lake. Too late to move the decoys. Several groups circled for a look but never closer than 150 yards. Finally, about an hour after daybreak a family group committed. No wind so they came down the opposite end of the field for a landing on the far edge of the decoys. I let the leader go by and focused on the rest about twenty yards behind. But as soon as I put the gun on them my dang dogs broke from cover right into the line of fire. Pulled up and swung back to the leader on my right. Easily made that shot ... I think. Recoil caused a tree branch to pull my cap loose over my eyes. By the time I could clear it, the other geese had veered out of range. The leader was definitely down. Ellie and Puppy were both on it and it wasn't moving so I called them in and left it out there. Geese were flying everywhere. Finally about two hours after daybreak a very large flock came late and dropped down quickly from about 250 yards up. "Ah, we've got these!" They circled once almost in range and then landed at the other end of the field. Crap! I thought about letting Ellie bust them up. Unlikely anything would come to my deeks if a big bunch of live ones were in the same field. But it was unlikely anything would come to my deeks anyway. Sure enough, flock after flock circled and landed in the middle with the live geese. "Nah, I'll leave them to feed so they come back tomorrow. Set up properly then I should get plenty of shooting." When the geese finally stopped flying I took the dogs for a walk to the lower field next to the river (actually a creek) to see if we could find some ducks. As we were walking along the edge of the field three honkers left the feeding frenzy behind us. Strange that they'd be leaving so soon. I wouldn't expect the geese to head back to water till about noon or later. No ducks on the river but the dogs had fun swimming and hunting up tweety birds in the thick brush. Suddenly the whole lot of feeding geese got up ... and headed straight for us. I dove into the sparse tall grass cover at the edge of the field. Ellie was with me. The geese kept coming and were surprisingly low especially considering the field we were in was a good twenty yards lower than the one they'd been feeding in. It looked like the center of the flight would come over me. Then suddenly just out of range the flight split and flared. What the ...? Nut's, here comes my bright black and white Puppy racing up the edge of the field to us. That's what spooked them. Fortunately, as the geese were flying by one honker got mixed up and decided to leave the right flight for the left one. He was flying by about 55 yards out which is a very long shot for me, but I made it count. Dropped him way out in the uncut grain. Appeared to only have a broken wing but too far to shoot it again as it fell. Ellie found it immediately but still no retrieve. She saw me running out and came running to me. I waved her back and she returned to the bird. The honker was still alive when I got to it, but barely. I hit it very hard. One of the best shots I've made in years.

    Tomorrow should be kickass. But I'm fine if I only take one or two birds. Hopefully new baby's dad will be able to go. He needs a break too. But only if my daughter gets out of hospital today. Keeping our fingers crossed.

  • #2
    Congratulations on the new granddaughter OHH, hoping mom and baby girl are home now.

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    • #3
      Indeed, congrats!!! … Flip phone???

      Last edited by PigHunter; 10-03-2019, 12:31 AM.

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      • #4
        Honk, Do any resident of migratory geese or ducks have any disease you have to look out for ?
        I suppose weak birds are easy prey for coyotes.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post
          Honk, Do any resident of migratory geese or ducks have any disease you have to look out for ?
          I suppose weak birds are easy prey for coyotes.
          Nothing that I know of ... yet. Bird flu is the big concern since it is likely to develop in Asia where overcrowded farming is rampant. Migratory songbirds moving across the arctic will likely bring it to this continent. Only a matter of time.

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