Friday, October 9, 2009


So the month of October is whizzing by...almost every day includes a goose hunt.  We've had A LOT of success this year, and much to my surprise, I've become completely addicted to the sport.

That's Brian, Keith and I out in the field (October 7, 2009).  It was a fantastic day.  We hammered the geese...Chance made an awesome retrieve on one that came back to life...the "Antichrist Goose II" .  He chased that thing FOREVER!  I did a "drive" on one in the hay field that went down, and with Chance's help, recovered that one too.  At the same time, Pat recovered one to the far south of our set as well.  Had a lot of laughs that day too.  Keith played "Love Game" by Lady Ga Ga on his goose call...and it actually sounded "good."

That's Chance pictured above.  This dog is amazing.  He lays in Keith's blind with him and if you look over at him  when the birds start to fly, you can see the blind shaking and hear Keith trying to settle him down.  He just "knows".  It's so funny.  And he doesn't hesitate on a retrieve.  Sometimes we'll all be talking and all of the sudden you'll see Chance staring off in the a flock of geese that would have otherwise gone missed.  There have been so many funny moments this season that I really regret not taking the time to at least make notes after each hunt.  Although my thoughts are scattered and random right now, I promise to keep better track from now on.  Our ultimate goal is to harvest 100 geese this year.  As of right now, we've got 63.  Pretty exciting.  I suppose I should probably take the time to talk about each of the members in our crew as well.
First there's Pat and I.  The masterminds behind this whole thing.  We've spent many hours discussing this club and it's potential over the past year.  I hope someday it becomes what we dream of. 
Keith: He's an awesome goose caller, brings us Chance--an awesome retriever, and he brings a lot of comedy to the group as well.  He's always up to something.  As you will find out as time goes on...because he's not afraid of the camera and therefore, I'll be posting a lot of his greater moments...
Mark:  He's our transportation specialist.  LOL  I say that because he owns "Clifford" and the trailer we haul our gear in.  He's put on a ton of miles for us this year.  And he got his first banded bird this year.  I will post pics of him with his leg band later.  It's part of a special hunt we did this year and it deserves its own entry. :o)

That's Mark, me and Pat.  Mark is very camera shy and so is Pat so since they were both in such a good mood on this particular morning, (October 8, 2009) I had to take full advantage.  Good pic too, I must say.

Yes, this is how The Mafia rolls...
Let's see...that brings us to Shawn.  This kid is the epitome of the word "hunter". He's only 13 but he lives to hunt...he'd do it 24-7 if you let him.  He's always upbeat and doing things to make us all laugh.  He never lets the guys get the best of him and he always has the last word.

I love this picture of him.
Kyle: he's the "butcher's kid'.  Need I say more? He's also a great caller as well. 
Gabe: He's the newest kid on the block.  Great guy.  Loves the sport and fits in with us perfectly.  We look forward to him becoming a bigger part of the club as time rolls on.  For now we are greatful to have him along on our hunts...he got his first banded bird this his back yard!?!  Talk about LUCK!  He's also gotten pretty good with the calling as well....
Paul: He's our cousin and he's currently serving our country overseas.  He got a couple weeks of leave this past September and we arranged for him to hunt with us.  It was a great day and there will be a special entry for that day.
Brian: Keith's brother.  He's only been on a couple hunts with us this year.  But they were by far the funniest of them all.  We might not have slayed the birds like we had hoped those days, but we laughed from beginning to end.
I have to take off for now...I'll come back and finish this post and insert more pics tonight...
October 19, 2009
So I guess I didn't get back at this post the night I had planned to, but I am here now, and I'm going to finish it!

This is the only "group" picture I have of most of us.  From left to right: Gabe, Mark, Shawn, Kyle, me, Pat, and Paul.  We got our limit that day...we had a sweet set up, sitting inside standing corn where the outside rows were taken off and there was a small cove where the geese had been landing.  After gaining permission from the landowner, we decided this was definitely the spot for this special hunt.  We set this hunt up because my cousin who is serving our country overseas had a few days leave, and he really wanted to come up and hunt with us.  So we worked hard to find the perfect place to make sure he had a good time and a successful hunt.  The morning came and we set up before first light.  Soon we were sitting about 3 rows in and nobody even heard the geese approach...we all fell silent at the unmistakeable sound of "Wooo-wooo-woo", the wings flapping as the birds were landing.  So there you had it, the PERFECT addition to our decoys...the REAL THING...LIVE decoys!  The group was small, so we let them stay and feed and help draw the other birds in.  Little did we know that this was the only the beginning of a really great hunt! Flock after flock approached and out of each one, we dropped at least one bird.  I remember having to "duck and run" because one of the birds shot would have taken my head off if I hadn't.  Funny thing: Paul was on the phone talking to his son when the flock came in, so he told him to "hang on", he set the phone down and then he shot a bird and then picked up the phone to hear his son rejoicing and telling his classmates how his dad had just shot a goose while he was on the phone with him.  So funny.  And it LANDED about 6" in front of Paul (basically right at his feet) and near Pat's head because he had bent over to pick something up and "THUD" there it was!  These birds are large and when they come down from the sky, you need to be aware of them or you could be seriously injured!  Anyway, the morning hunt was over, and we were happy.  We could only hope the night hunt would be as successful and that maybe, just maybe we could fill our limit for the day.  And the afternoon came and it was much like the morning hunt.  Paul had a great time, often giggling uncontrollably...his laugh is totally contagious!  So I'm happy it went well and that HE had a good time!  He deserved it and this day was based on him cutting loose and relaxing.  We've had several good hunts.  And when I say "good" I don't mean that everyone filled their tags...I just mean we had a good time!  One particular day was filled with Keith and Pat's crazy antics and we didn't even get a bird that day, but it didn't matter.  It was freezing cold, windy, rainy and the geese didn't cooperate and yet we laughed harder and walked away happier than any other time!  Those are the hunts that stick in my mind the most of all!  Again I can't mention enough how great of a group we've got this year...we all work together...almost like we each have our own "job" when it comes time to set up or take down the decoys and when someone has an issue with ammo, their gun or anything else, we all pull together to resolve it.  When the geese take off on us, which unfortunately, sometimes they DO, we all work as a group to get it back and secure the harvest.  After doing "goose drives" through hay fields, and watching Chance run across 40 acre plots of land without ever looking back, you can tell we are all there for a common goal.   And we won't go home until we achieve it.  This is the year of the "100 goose".  What's that mean? It means our group wants to harvest at least 100 geese this year.  We are very near that goal right now....91 1/2 (why the 1/2?--because Marky killed a different breed of goose that is the size of a mallard duck and so (as a joke) we are counting it as only a 1/2 goose--LOL).  This week, maybe even tonight...will be the fall of the 100 goose.  I'm excited for it.  Extremely excited for it! I can't wait til it actually happens and I'm not quite sure how we're going to react when it actually DOES occur!  We talked about mounting the bird and passing it from member to member in the group, and to make a plaque with the member names of the Mafia on it....but probably, he/she will be harvested just like the rest, and it will be made into the jerky we eat almost every time we are in the field.  LOL  One of these days I'm going to copy all the Facebook posts I did while we were in the field....because some of them are pretty funny.  Like I mentioned earlier this was a year of "learning" for all of us, on all different levels.  Some of us became better marksmen, some of us polished up our calling skills, some of us learned decoy patterning, some of us learned how moon phases and weather affected the birds flight, some of learned about management of the group (me) and how to keep everyone's interests at heart.  I also learned I need to keep a special journal with notes from every single hunt we do.  I just started doing that for the past 2 hunts...and I wish, I WISH, I would have thought of it much sooner!  I also learned how to capture alot of the great moments in photos...the best ones I have are candid ones...ones where the subject doesn't even know I was there.  I hope to put together an album for each year that we hunt.  That means a few of the guys are going to have to get over their camera shyness fairly quickly!  Well...I've rambled on much longer than I had planned...there's alot left to do before we head out tonight.  The hunt will be challenging...but that's just the way the Mafia likes it! :o)

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