Saturday, September 03, 2005

The beginning

In the beginning, there was summer. Boredom. Fishing, eh. Boredom.

As the yellows show of goldenrod along the roadsides, and the nights become cooler, I know the dog days are fading. My juices flow for pursuing and killing wild game. It's only a matter of time now.

The first shots have been fired. Early goose season started Thursday, Sept 1. I have a welt on my right shoulder to show for it.

I was confounded by a million-mile sky and a trumpet player in a nearby blind. I would call with my $19.99 Olt call (that price was 11 years ago, mind you), and he would sound off with his wood or plastic flute that probably goes for triple my price.

I know of the culprits. We would call each other friends, yet I haven't talked to them since I was prodded with a political skewer after a hunt in the public land parking lot during the 2004 election. Seems my G.W. bumper sticker offended.

Anyway, there they sat in the very spot I used, but to no avail, last year.

"A-wha, wha, wha," I would call, and over to the river they would go, "A-wha, wha-wha-tootle-too-too-whaaaaaaa, whaaaaaaa-a-wha, wha, wha, whaaaaaaa, a-wha, tootle-wha ..." and on and on.

Nowadays in society, often, more is better. Not so in the calling of wild game. In some instances, yes. But the name of my game is a passing shot. Not a picturesque landing with geese gliding into a perfectly set decoy spread on a cut cornfield. Here, along a well-populated river on public land, that just ain't gonna happen. Yet, I would call and then a return volley of massive purportions would again be heard as to lure the geese into a safe landing area for a grassy buffet.

Somehow, in what must have baffled my river neighbors, the geese would pass by me or over my head. Not them. Only the bright blue, cloudless sky kept my game bag empty. Yet, a couple of times I tried in vain to bring down one of those honkers with my Mossberg. No, two or three of those honkers. Foolish me. My estimations failed me as the birds were farther off than they appeared in my mind's range finder.

As I packed up my gear and four empty shot casings two hours later, I was not mad. Experience has shown me I will have other bouts with the bullet-proof critters. Without nearby trumpet players, who I'm sure were cursing the very air I was breathing. "Man, Mac's calling really screwed us up," the one would say. "Yep, but whatcha gonna do?" his partner would reply as they walked up the clay trail to their truck.

The next day, Friday, Sept. 2, I tried a midday setup by a pond the flying rats were locked into during the spring nesting season. One of those spring gobbler season observations I often pick up. Mainly, this late morning gig was aimed at getting some needed sleep after my afternoon shift of the previous night, as much as avoiding the trumpet players I knew would be along the Black River at 0 dark thirty.

Boy, the decoys looked nice in the muck. So nice that the black ducks I spooked going in at 10 a.m. came back and hung around for the three-hour duration. One was so comfy among his private plastic guards, he curled his neck around and snoozed along with me barely five yards away hidden in the marsh grass. I took a liking to him and wondered if I would have been able to shred him with the 3-1/2 inch magnums had it been October and ducks are legal tender.

Hmmmmm. I wonder ...


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