A Pickup Full Of Geese

My Dad always watched me play football, but this particular Friday, I had hurt my arm and was suited up but not scheduled to play. My Dad took this opportunity to go Goose hunting with some of his buddies, promising me that I could come over to Barrow Ranch, in Chambers County, south of Anahuac, Saturday, and hunt with them.

We won our game and I didn’t play so my Dad didn’t miss anything, but that evening as I was getting ready for a date, my Dad called with a strange request. He said, “Son, come meet us at Truitt’s Garage at 8:30 (PM) and pick up some of these Geese. We have our 2 day, bag and possession limit but since we’re hunting tomorrow, we’re going to send these back to town!” He added, “Joe’s loaded up his pickup and he and I will meet you.” Not asking how many they had shot, my plans quickly changed and my Mom, date and I picked up my Dad’s 10 Geese, took them back home and cleaned them.

Just before sun up, it had been a real short night for me, I met them at Barrow’s Ranch. Joe and my Dad had on white hats and white dusters and I was decked out in my early style, camo parka and loaded down with guns, ammo and 300 diapers, we “slogged” several hundred yards into the rice field to our hunting spot and put out our decoys, the diapers. Our “rags” were spread in a rough oval and we stationed ourselves near the front with the wind to our backs. Geese will land into the wind and we planned to shoot at them when they hovered, or slipped overhead, into our spread.

The Geese wouldn’t start flying until around 8:00 AM, but dawn was welcomed by a cloudy, windy morning that brought clouds of Ducks, mostly green heads (Mallards) and sprigs (Pintails). Sprigs will come in to Goose rags and several bunches of the graceful Ducks buzzed us. Quickly shucking out our #2 shot and popping in 6’s, we welcomed them to our “spread”. We had some great shooting and bagged 8 and as the flights of Ducks dwindled we could hear the Geese calling over the rice fields and slipping the 2’s back into our pumps, we settled down awaiting them.

Right on time, here came the Geese, snows and blues, struggling to gain altitude against the heavy wind and we began our calling. With three of us calling, we could make a lot of noise, and our noise, caught the attention of a flock of around 20 snows and on they came.

The flock made their decision early, set their wings 100 yards out and began a lazy descent toward us. Not looking up or moving a muscle, we continued calling, then my Dad said, “Take ‘em!” Jumping up, we cut loose, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom and four of the big birds came tumbling out of the sky.

Since we didn’t have a dog, I was “named” the retriever. Three were dead and easy to pick up. The fourth had a broken wing and the chase was on. I finally called a halt to the proceedings and popped the running Goose at 40 yards. End of chase!

This day was, “one of those days” and we three hunters could do no wrong. The Geese decoyed perfectly, our shots were true, we lost no cripples and were finished by 10:00 AM. Our count was 15 Geese and 8 sprigs. Leaving one wing on each bird, we plucked, singed and gutted them, wrapped them in a tarp and headed back home.

I was tired of cleaning Geese and promised myself that I would limit this activity, at least until next weekend!