By Stuart Hoegh
Nali and I were sitting in the truck scouting a field for deer from about five hundred yards away. We weren’t seeing anything and both of us were entering stages of boredom only comparable to the Christmas eve service I would attend that night. Out in the distance a flock of about 100 geese appeared. Slowly the geese circled and began swooping towards the hill. Eventually around 100 geese were standing up on the hill in the field I was watching. I was happy to give up scouting.
The truck skidded a bit on the gravel as I rushed home. I sprinted from my back door out over the terrace at the edge of the yard and down through the field. I made it to the creek a couple hundred yards away before pausing to catch my breath and realize I had probably pulled my quad in the process. I could see the geese feeding toward the south as I crossed the creek and weaved my way through the grass next to the fence. I crouched and ran hunch-backed up toward the first terrace on the hill. I began crawling along the ground. The midafternoon sun had turned the surface into a greasy combination of cornstalks and mud. My hands and knees were slimy. I began to question my decision to crawl as I probably could have continued my hunched shuffle and been fine. Anyway, I’m crawling across this field and the sound of the geese over the top of the next terrace is getting louder and louder. I army-crawl to the top and peer over the grass. I had expected the geese to launch off in a flurry. Instead, the geese just kept feeding as I took aim. I couldn’t help but question my decision to run/crawl my way up the hill (it was almost surely unnecessary). With the first shot one goose dropped and the rest launched into the air in a honking mass that was somewhat disorienting. I proceeded to use my next two shots as warning shots if they were to ever come back. It is easier to carry one goose home than three anyways, so I trotted home with my goose and a sense of accomplishment.
Most blogs I write describe a well thought out hunt that accounts for various factors. But, sometimes it is more fun to run across a field with a shotgun toward a flock of geese and shoot one off the ground. There is a lot of judgement passed by outdoorsmen about strategies used. Bow hunters complain about shotgun, fly fisherman diminish the accomplishments of spin fisherman and duck hunters have their own issues to sort out. While I do abide by some self-enforced codes while hunting, and ethics are always important, it is important to step back and understand that outdoorsmen are almost always out to enjoy the adventure and possibly spend time with family and friends. We are all bound together by this broader appeal, and separating ourselves into different groups that won’t “stoop” to the level of another group creates divides that aren’t necessary. We all treasure the outdoors and wish to protect our passions. As long as you are out there for the right reasons, you have my support. As Red Green would say “Remember, I’m pulling for you, we are all in this together.” Good Luck. Stu.