October 20th. Finally, it was here. I had been looking forward to that day since last spring when it was set up for the Winona State Ducks Unlimited Chapter to go on a goose hunt in Rochester, MN with Premier Flight Outfitters. Everything came together. My alarm sounded off at 4:00 AM. I woke up Justin and got my gear together. It felt like a perfect morning for a waterfowl hunt; just a steady breeze and overcast. The forecast was rain for the morning, but we were prepared. Justin got the camera gear together and we went on our way to meet up with the rest of the crew. A total of 12 hunters and a cameraman were planning on experience this great opportunity, but as usual, a couple people had something come up and were unable to make it.
4:30 AM came around and we found ourselves in the Walmart parking lot where we all planned on meeting. I did a head count and came up with only 9 of my fellow classmates. We were missing 2 people that hadn’t told me they couldn’t make it. Luckily, I was able to wake at least one of them up! We waited in that parking lot for about an hour for my other buddy, but he never showed, so we got a hold of the owner of Premier Flight, Dean Tlougan. He told us to meet him at good old McDonald’s in Rochester.
Dean explained everything to us and made sure we all were licensed and had the proper gear and then brought us out to the field he had picked out for us to hunt. He had never hunted this field before, so we were the guinea pigs. We had about a twenty minutes before the sun was going to show itself, so we got the decoys all set up so the geese would land right on top of us, and that’s no exaggeration! It wasn’t long and the geese were in the air. We were all in pit blinds, which are basically holes in the field that we can stand in so we are level with the field. Let’s just say the geese don’t even have a chance with us shooting.
Flock after flock was flying through the hazy sky. We called and called, but we couldn’t get a reaction out of most flocks. Another flock was spotted in the horizon and I flagged away and before we knew it they were turned our way and coming right in. Everyone got down and concealed so the geese wouldn’t see anything they didn’t like. Here they come, with locked wings, right into our spread. They get 10 yards away and I flip on the buzzer that signals everyone to jump up and take em! Shots started ringing out from the anxious shotguns and geese started falling! We got only 3. Fortunately for us, this was just a taste of what was to come. Twenty minutes later, another small flock came in awkwardly and we managed to scratch 2 more.
10:00 AM rolled around and the geese still weren’t cooperating. A few guys were starting to get a little impatient and they wanted to leave, but I convinced them to stay a little longer. No more than ten minutes later, a flock of about 100 was spotted over the tree line and I started calling and flagging away. We couldn’t believe it, but from almost a mile away they spotted us and started our direction. We got down and as I peered out of my viewing hole, I could see them dropping right in on us. A single was in the lead and came in first. It came only a couple feet over our blinds, but we were waiting on the rest of the flock. I let the first 10-15 land before I flipped the switch. Before I knew it, it started sounding like a warzone. I have never seen ten hunters unload their guns so fast! There is only one problem with having so many hunters; the same geese get shot at! When so many geese come in, it’s hard to know which ones to shoot first, and unfortunately everyone seemed to be targeting the same ones. We managed to get 6 more out of that flock though. Everyone was pumped up now; it was like we had all just shot the biggest buck of our lives. We hardly had time to get our guns reloaded and gather birds before another flock set its sights on our spread. Out of the ten that came in, 6 dropped.
We called the outfitter to update him and he couldn’t believe we had done so well. We each had a two bird limit, so with 17 geese we fell 3 short of our ten man limit. The outfitter preferred that we just call it a day to avoid giving away our position to other flocks because most of the giant Canadas were still locals. Overall, we had a great hunt and got some great footage. Look forward to seeing this great hunt soon! We were also invited back for round two in a couple weeks to hopefully experience similar luck! You can also look forward to another story after that.
If you aren’t already a member of Ducks Unlimited <http://www.ducks.org/> or Delta Waterfowl <http://www.deltawaterfowl.org/> , I urge you to become one or attend an event in your area. With just a small donation you can help preserve and restore wetlands across the continent so we can continue to enjoy waterfowl and waterfowl hunting.
Special Thanks to Premier Flight Outfitters for donating this great hunt to our Ducks Unlimited Chapter. We had a great time and I recommend them to anyone who loves to goose hunt. They were great people and have a great service. For more information about Premier Flight and hunting with them, check out their website at www.goosegrinders.com.
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