A cold Thanksgiving Day wind rattled the cut corn stalks where my goose hunting buddy and I had fashioned ourselves a couple of makeshift one-man burlap and cornstalk blinds.
The blinds completely disappeared into the surrounding corn field stubble. My buddy and I were thoroughly convinced that even the wildest of Canada geese would not suspect the least danger as they approached our superb hides.
Three p.m. had rolled around by the time we reached the corn field. Ducks were beginning to blacken the sky to the west. We hurriedly set out a dozen decoys and found a spot to lie on the ground and throw cornstalks over our bodies.
We repeated the process for several days, never failing to fill our one mallard limit we were allowed in those days. However, on the last afternoon we hunted ducks in the corn stubble, a flight of some 200 Canada geese worked the field.
The majestic birds circled numerous times, offering marginal shots, but we held our fire. Goose season would not start until the next day.
My hunting partner and I arrived back at the farm around 2 p.m. We huffed and puffed, as we struggled to carry dozens of goose decoys through the corn stubble. Within thirty minutes we had a very respectable spread of goose decoys deployed.
I drew my old flute-style Lohman walnut goose call to my lips and uttered a lonesome “woooork- woouurk-wooouuurk” out of it.
“Listen,” my buddy said sharply. “Geese to the west.”
“Good calling, huh?” I jabbed back.
“Shut-up and pay attention,” came my reward.
The giant panda-colored birds worked the outer edges of the decoys, with only a couple of birds swinging within 30-yards. We held our fire hoping for closer shots. The flock of 200 birds circled a half dozen more times, teasing us relentlessly with each pass. Our goose hunters’ mentality told us that the next pass would be the one.
Just as the big birds were about to wing into range, they hooked to the west, turned south and immediately began going down on the far end of the field. Our hearts sank. We knew that would be the only flight of geese for the afternoon.
As soon as the geese all settled into feeding mode my hunting partner began chattering.
“I really want a Christmas goose,” he began. “Let’s sneak up on them and get a couple, OK?”
“We can’t sneak up on 200 hundred geese feeding in a field,” I retorted. “That is 400 hundred eyes watching for danger. We don’t stand a chance.”
“Well, how many geese do you have now, Cooper?” my partner whispered sarcastically. “Alright, follow me.”
I had heard those words in my military days and it never turned out good. My partner had obviously been in the military at one time, too. He cradled his shotgun across his arms and began the perfect low crawl down a row of corn stubble.
“Where are you going?” I asked.