Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Goose Hunting, Unbridled Ambition, And Upper Midwest Field Reports

We’re getting pretty busy here at foremost hunting.com. Over the weekend the crew filmed a goose hunt in North Central Wisconsin. The morning started with a team effort of stuffing field blinds with natural cover. We packed the blinds with clover and set decoys for the morning flight.

As sunrise peaked over the horizon we began hearing the sounds of dozens of sand hill cranes erupting from their slumber. As the cranes lifted off a distant pond the flutter of mallard wings overhead excited the young men in the layout blinds. But the ducks were not willing to give us any shooting. A half hour later the honks of an incoming flock of geese signaled the moment we were waiting for. This group of 20 Canadians gave us a hard look and descended to within 40 yards. A lot of people would have taken this shot. I had never hunted with most of these guys and was impressed with their patience. It has been a while since I’ve hunted with a large group of college age men. Probably since I was in college. These guys made me feel better about the future of our civilization. They were responsible gun handlers, patient and skilled hunters, and as I would find out later, strong and determined.

The first flock decided to pass on our faux flock. But not long after another group was on it’s way. As this flock circled, yet another contingent of geese passed over the hardwood forest and dropped down to field level on it’s way to our dekes. These birds twisted and contorted on their way down. It was clearly evident they were coming in. Just as safeties were being clicked off, disaster struck. Two geese snapped off the main flock and practically fell into the spread. As their feet came down, the shot was called and the geese were dispatched. The opportunity for a flock shoot with seven guns firing a true 21 shot salute into the air would have to wait. In retrospect, it was a great decision. Two in the hand is worth four in the bush right? The entire flock could have seen something they didn’t like and we would have never had the opportunity to shoot anything. This is the debate waterfowl hunters will be having for eternity.

After a flurry of goose action, things slowed down. The decision was made to go check the pond the birds were roosting on. The group headed for the water haunt of these flocks to see just how many were left on the water. As we approached the cattail swamp surrounding the swamp, the contrast of my experience and their determination was on display. The young men wanted to push forward to see if they could get a crack at the few birds remaining on the pond. I have suffered the consequences of sneak attacks such as this one and found a tower blind to climb into and watch the operation.

They pushed forward into the cattail marsh but I could see the going was tough. They were able to get within 50 yards of open water but were standing in knee deep water and muck. Attempts to call ducks to their position got a few birds off the water but not close enough to shoot. It was probably a good thing. Extricating a duck from thick cattails and knee deep water would have been a tall order.

We shot a few geese. But it was a lot of fun to witness these guys work together with fearlessness. For the most part young guys haven’t failed enough to have doubt… especially about themselves. Not that I am an old man, but I feel as though sometimes we miss out on adventure because we believe it’s not possible. Young people don’t think like that and it’s quite refreshing to be around that type of attitude.

This week, I’ll be back in the woods. anterless gun deer season begins Thursday in Wisconsin. We’ll be in the woods pursuing deer Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If we tag out early, we’ll chase down some fall turkeys. Should be a blast. I’ll tell you all about it next week!

Field Reports
Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffer, Nick Haas, says the recent heat wave has really slowed down deer traffic in Northern Wisconsin. Deer are bedding down during the day and moving mostly at night and in the mornings.

The heat didn’t stop James Appel from bagging a gorgeous buck in Northwest Wisconsin. We filmed a muzzleloader elk hunt with James in early September. He took a nice 6x6 bull and less than a month later arrowed this buck. He’s having a tremendous season!

Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffer, Tyler Hinner filed this report:
Bucks are still in their bachelor groups, but that should change in the next week or so. They are starting to get the "itch". I've seen some deer starting to kick around the dirt making small scrapes and playing with their horns on limbs. The woods is super loud with the fresh leaves on the ground. I don't think you would see a scrape if it was there. It doesn't look like we will have a weather change until later this week and lows in the mid 40's won’t help. A hunter’s best bet would be to find an acorn producing oak ridge. Some corn fields are being cut around town by me, and deer are readily seen on the field edges during daylight hours. Grouse numbers seem to be down this year, but it is on the downward slope of their 10 year cycle. Family groups of geese are combining for some nice size flocks this time of year. But I haven't seen many migratory birds yet.

Meanwhile in Southwest Wisconsin, foremosthunting.com writer Cole Daniels is regularly seeing and hearing turkeys moving throughout the woods and fields. He’s also seeing a number of doe groups but bucks haven’t started regularly pursuing them yet. The leaves are coming off the trees and it’s getting much easier to see through the woods. The crunching of leaves underfoot makes it easier to hear deer, and for them to hear you. Cole recently returned from a Northern Minnesota grouse trip and reports plentiful grouse in good cover. The state is confirming that harvests have been good. Drumming counts were down in the spring but excellent nesting conditions have resulted in a bountiful fall harvest of juvenile birds.

Good luck this week and check in for our next hunting report!


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