The Chess Match of Hunting

With a few days off for Christmas, we were all looking for something to do. A promising call from a friend started off our weekend hunt. We hit the road in the morning and we were all looking forward to a change of pace from cacklers to honkers and a chance at a bonus snow in the bunch.

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We left in time to watch the geese in the field for a little bit before sunset and when we got there we weren’t disappointed. Just as we were told, there were several hundred honkers and a snow, but as we glassed the flock we got even more excited as a group of specks joined in.

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Right before dark a flock of 20 specks circled the field and wanted down. With a good chance of a rare mixed bag for us, our wheels started to turn as we developed a plan. There were a lot of factors that went into the hunt. We were hunting on a property that was a series of pastures right along a river. The birds have been switching fields due to the feeding rotation of the cows, the roost on the river has been changing every night, and the pastures were large and open.

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The morning came quick and we headed out in high hopes.

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The events that followed took us from a sense of excitement and anticipation to wondering what the heck we did wrong. The first flock that showed up took a long circle of the field and ended up landing in the river and each flock was only a few minutes a part and each followed the act of the birds before. They had never done this before and we were left scratching our heads.

After about 30 minutes of this, another flock came gliding through the fall. “The snows in there!” The flock landed 20 yards outside our decoys and somehow when we jumped up the birds the snow flew right at us.

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After we lucked out with one flock, the geese just felt safer in the middle of the field. Flock after flock followed suit and stood out of reach. Knowing that we had already seen most of the birds, we walked out the final group from the middle of the field.

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The specks never showed up, but finally one flock of honkers decided they were hungry and locked up coming off of the river. After two passes, they came backpedaling down from our left shoulders.

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The day ended and we were trying to figure out what we could of done differently, but when it comes down to it, thats hunting. As hunters we never stop learning and are always reminded that all we are doing is playing one big chess match. It’s days like this that push us to turn our failures into learning opportunities and turn them into future success.

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