Waterfowl

Waterfowl hunting can be a tough game. It takes it’s toll on hunter, calls, apparel and decoys. If you want the best results possible, you have to use the best products available. Sure, we all have our loyalties and that’s how it should be, but if you’re using something that just doesn’t quite finish the birds the way they should be finished, then you have to look into changing some of the tools mentioned above to give yourself the best opportunity for success.

GreenHead Gear has produced the most advanced line of decoys on the market today, not only in materials but also in design. They know geese and ducks and this translates into realism that’s scary. The hunts you see on this page in the late season of 2009 will be using GHG FFD (fully flocked decoys) Life Size Harvester Shells. Usually we have snow in this region of SW Ontario by now, but this year, the weather has done a 180° turn. No snow, warm temps, etc. is making life as a waterfowler tough. Finally, ice is here, for now, and with this we’ve broke out the GHG shells and production has immediately taken a turn for the better. Sure, we used them in the early season with predictable success, but then also, we’re working young-of-year birds so you know it’s going to be easy. However, at this time of year, we hunt Jack Miner geese and if I’ve said it once, I’ve said a hundred times, these are the wariest birds in the central flyway. They’ve seen everything from James Bay on down and religiously evade decoyed, cut corn and bean fields to get to Miners just 45 seconds down the road so we have to give them something that looks like the real thing to be successful.

As shown above, you can see the difference GHG FFD’s make on the ice, now just think of how what they will look like on white snow. No comparison. Dark backs. White throats. No Shine. All vital to a realistic spread.
I hunt with champion callers and guys that have hunted Miner geese since they were boys and they know the game. They know that decoy numbers alone don’t cut it all the time. Realism is the name of the game when geese are circling your spread just out of range. You don’t want to sky blast these birds and educate them, you want to finish them. As these birds inspect the decoys for flaws and signs of fraud, we have to trust in our equipment and GHG gives the best available. We finish birds! Period.

Do yourself a favor and look into the GHG line of duck and goose decoys.
If you’re gonna be huntin’, you may as well hunt with the best as opposed to all the rest.

I love the opportunity to get a mixed bag of ducks and geese . . . rarely anything better than that. But to hunt with a mixed bag of hunters is something else. You’ve got your old pros and take the ‘pros’ literally: Rusty Heron, JT Ames (youth) and Sean Drummond are all champion goose callers and it shows in the production during hunts. Then you have Steve ‘Goosinator’ Branch who’s a little long in the tooth and our chief guide as well as Eric Hodgins equally as accomplished in a walleye tournament as on the killing fields. Along on the hunt is our Young Gun JT Ames, a champion goose caller in the youth division and admitted waterfowl addict at 14 years of age. To see these boys interact is a laugh from start to finish. First, there is the initiation by verbal fire from the old pros levied on the young gun from start to finish and I don’t think they took it easy on the colourful language one bit – JT got an earfull but enjoyed every minute of it. Then came the shooting and it came in bunches.

It’s been said time and time again that our youth are hunting’s future and to see the old pros guide the young guns, I think we’ll be in the fields for a long time to come. Decoy education, where to place sleepers, sentries, feeders – when to do it depending on changing weather conditions – when and how to call to flocks, singles or small groups – how to swear every third word and still sound you know what you’re talking about and making sense. We had it all and all day long. It was a beautiful thing!

JT learned how to scold geese that didn’t react well to his calling. He learned how to take out a mallard cripple and then some (and we won’t go into that one). JT found out that it’s also a vital part of pit hunting that you act fast in shouldering your gun for the shot because if you’re more than a second late, you get to watch birds drop without taking a shot – but then you also get to save on shells for next time, which by the way is usually a repeat of the first time unless you’ve learned your lesson.

There is no taking it easy on the novice, not in this pit. You earn your keep by working the spread, learning to flag, learning that competition calling is usually different than meat calling but at the end of the day, the novice learns to appreciate the good days and respect the knowledge of the old pros that will eventually turn him into an old pro in a few years and then to pass it on to his young gun.
I did manage to take some video for the day as seen below. More video can be seen on the swobg.com youtube channel.

I have to apologize for the camera work. I’m in the pit and trying not to bust the birds while all the time trying to put the camera over my head and between bundles of cornstalks and still get the birds on camera. It worked somewhat but then the rain started again and blotted the lens – what do ya do?! Enjoy (I hope).

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