Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Winter returns with a vengeance

© By Othmar Vohringer

The spring goose hunting season came and went. In my last post I mentioned how exited I am to go on a Canada goose hunt with a few good friends.

The weather looked promising, it felt almost like spring but then Friday came and when I got up at 4 am and looked out the kitchen window to check the thermometer it showed 15 C below freezing, that’s -5 F for my American readers, still I was hopeful that some geese will fly.

At 6 am I met up with my friends and we all were in agreement that it probably would be wiser to return home and go back to bed. But since we’re all dressed up and ready to hunt we might just as well try our luck. You know how the saying goes. “You never know until you try.”

Arriving at the farmers field, were we previously obtained permission to hunt, we went about to set out the decoy spread and then got comfortable in the blinds. As comfortable as one could get in this cold weather. Just after we set out the decoys my friend Richard walked the short way down to the lake where he previously had seen geese and came back with the encouraging news that he had seen about 30 geese on the sandy beach. We were hopeful that ones the sun came out and warmed the air up a bit the geese would get hungry and fly up to the field to feed.

We waited, and waited, and waited some more and finally two hours had passed when three big Canadian geese few high in the sky toward us. Quickly I pulled the goose flute from under my jacket but it was so clod that the call froze up instantly the moment I blew it. What should have been a series of enticing welcoming honks for the geese sounded like a crow with a severely sore throat? Surprisingly, the three geese changed direction and came closer to investigate the decoy spread but stayed high in the sky out f shooting range.

Since the frozen call was useless the geese quickly realized that something is not quite right and turned away. We sat in the blind for another hour or so and then decided that it just too cold and we either go home to defrost our fingers and toes or try a different approach. We decided that three of us line up along the willows that borders a big swamp and that Richard with his dog would walk down to the lake to flush the geese resting on the beach. The idea was that we would catch the spooked geese when they took off and flew over the willows. That was the idea but fifteen minutes into the waiting game nothing happened. Then Richard and his faithful dog returned form the lake to tell us that the geese must have sneaked out the backdoor because they were all gone when he went down to the lake.

That wrapped up the day. On the way out we passed the farmer and he told us that he would call us when the weather warmed up and he sees the geese are flying again. Well, the call never came and today is Tuesday, the last day of the ten-day spring geese hunting season. The weather has not warmed up. In fact over the weekend it got considerably colder, with the lowest temperatures today reaching minus 30C (-22 F). The coldest day on record in March since the mid-seventies. The winter has come back with a vengeance and it looks like it is going to be with us for a while yet. We even had few days of heavy snowfall, that much for Global warming.

I just hope the winter is not for too long with us because spring turkey and spring black bear hunting season opens in early April. Turkeys are not much of a problem in the cold but the bears are still in hibernation and if they don’t wake up soon the spring bear hunting can get really though.

Othmar Vohringer Outdoors
Founding Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit

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gary said...

I didn't realize there is a spring goose hunt anywhere.
Thinking out load, weather that cold is a bit much for me, but then again if I ever tried goose hunting, maybe I could see that it's worth it.

Othmar Vohringer said...

To my knowledge only British Columbia has a spring goose season and it's only ten days. We are hopelessly over populated with geese up here and farmers complain quite rightly. Ten geese eat as much as one cow and like cows they prefer grass and alfalfa. It’s common to see up to 300 and more geese on cattle pasture.

wandering owl said...

Sorry about your luck!
Down here in the states we have a spring snow goose season to try to help thin the population.

SimplyOutdoors said...

Our goose season has come and gone, and wont be back until sometime around September I believe.

I have yet to go goose hunting, but I think it would be fun to try. I hope it's a little warmer than when you were giving it a go, though.

That is cold!!!

bushman said...

I think Quebec also has a spring snow goose season.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Wandering Owl – Don’t be sorry despite the lack of hunting success I have had a great time surrounded by great friends.

Arthur – You should try waterfowl hunting. As you know I just started again after many years last fall and I find that I like it more and more. There is a chance that as I get older and too weak to chase deer and gobblers I might end up strictly hunting waterfowl.

Bushman – I stand corrected. You’re right Quebec and a few other provinces have spring geese seasons too.

Adam said...

Wow, that is cold Othmar! I would have liked to have had a video of you blowing the frozen call at the geese!

Othmar Vohringer said...

Adam – It was cold but nothing like it has been for the past two day where the temperatures dropped another 10C. I would have liked to have video taped it too, but it would have to be without sound because when I get upset my language can not be publicly broadcast without advance warning.


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