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We've hit the Lottery!!

By: Evan Ross

September 8th was the last day of early goose season for us in Ohio. Early season for us is usually a bust because most of our birds hang around neighborhoods and recreational parks all year and never leave city limits. This year was different and one I will never forget. Two days prior on September 6th I get a phone call from a buddy telling me he had found a hay field the birds were feeding in outside of city limits. I asked him “think we can get permission?” and the words that came out of his mouth were music to my ears. He replied, “I already got it, we're good to go.”

After getting the good news we started planning. How are we going to hide? How many decoys should we run? How many people should we take? We decided since the hayfield was freshly cut that we would ditch the layouts, ditch the panel blinds and lay on the ground. We thought bales of hay that were spread out over the top of us would give us a natural-looking profile with the ground in hopes of concealing a group of 8 guys. With the birds being so unpredictable and scattered we decided to run a dozen full body decoys spread out into tiny family groups. With a plan decided it was going time. September 8th was a perfect morning. We had overcast skies with a constant breeze and a perfect wind direction. We got all set up just before shooting time knowing these birds may get up early since they didn’t feed the night before. It wasn’t fifteen minutes after shooting time we had the first group of about twenty come in. After shooting that group we picked up the birds and before we could get back into position, we had two groups headed right for us. We quickly run back get covered up and got ready. We let the first group land to give the second group a chance to commit. Just like the first group, they had their feet down and they were getting ready to land right on top of us. My buddy next to me says “ones banded!” At this point, I am thinking to myself that it would be a pretty cool deal if we shot a banded bird today. We called the shot and watched eight geese fell out of the sky.

We quickly try to pick up the dead birds but before we could get to them, we were running back to the blind as birds were locking upon us again. It got to the point where it was hard to get reloaded in time before birds were on top of you. We finally catch a break with about fifteen dead birds in the spread we decide we needed to pick them up. Three of us got up and ran out to pick them up. I hear someone yell “we got a band!” Then I hear “I got one too! Wait this one's banded too!” Before I knew it three guys were walking back with ten banded birds! It was unreal! By the end of the day, we had got our eight-man limit of forty birds in about an hour and a half with sixteen of those birds being banded. I had never seen a truck bed filled to the brim with dead Canadian geese. It was one of the most memorable hunts that I will never forget.

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