Oct 24, 2012

Your Daughter Shoots Like a Girl!

Growing up in a neighborhood full of boys, it wouldn't take long for someone to make a bad play during a street game and someone would mouth off to the tune off - you swing like a girl!.  Everyone would laugh and away we went.  Being all grown up now and having a daughter of my own I can admit that she does throw like a girl, shoots like a girl, fishes like a girl and hunts like a girl and I am proud of it.  Heck I wish I could shoot like a girl sometimes, because she is pretty darn good and getting better every day.  My daughter Kaleigh has always loved to fish and shoot, but just in the past couple of years has she taken the plunge into hunting and I must admit, she is getting really good at it.

With our busy schedules time in the field with my kids is limited so any time that our schedules open we jump on it and our schedules allowed us to enjoy an afternoon in a backwoods puddle for an waterfowl hunt.  I picked my daughter up at school, made a quick trip to the archery shop to have a quick fix done to her bow, grabbed some lunch and headed home to load up the gear and head off to the swamp.

On the way up the road I got a call from Busch Pilot who was on his way to join in the fun.  Kaliegh and I got the canoe unloaded and I loaded it up with the decoys and headed out to setup a spread consisting of some mallard decoys and some goose floaters.  While I was doing that, Kaleigh was carrying gear to the blind and keeping our lab Hannah from following me out in the canoe.  Once the decoys were set, I pulled the canoe up on shore and hid it in the brush and joined Kaleigh and Hannah in our hide.  Busch Pilot showed up about 30 minutes later and joined our group.  After BP got his  normal welcome of a face full of smelly lab tongue from Hannah, we settled in and started scanning the sky and listening for any hint of ducks or geese all while enjoying the incredible fall colors that were made even more vibrant with the setting sun.

It was a pretty quiet afternoon, right up until about 20 minutes before sunset, which is legal shooting light in CT, when I swore I heard geese off in the distance.  Busch Pilot and Kaleigh both claimed I was hearing things but I did convince them to hit the call and sure enough we got a response.  We couldn't see them yet but could tell they were coming in for the night and hopefully they would land on the X which was wide open and out in front of us.  I picked up the 4 geese just as they broke the trees about 50 yards behind us and they were low and heading in and looked like they were going to land short so Busch Pilot told Kaleigh to go ahead and take em.  Just as they were about to get their feet wet, she stood up with her Remington 870 and squeezed off a shot and two geese hit the water.  We all stood there in amazement with our mouths open and forgot about the other two geese that were making a hasty retreat for safety, which they succeeded at.

Kaleigh had fired one shot and had her limit of two geese while Busch Pilot and I were lighter a couple of shells and had to hit the drive thru for dinner.   So when I say she shoots like a girl there is nothing negative about that comment.  Heck, both Busch Pilot and I wished we had shot like a girl that night and couldn't have been more proud of her.  Maybe if we are lucky she will gives us a lesson or two.

You go Girl!

Oct 18, 2012

So Where Did That Canada Goose Really Come From?

For those of us who hunt waterfowl the fall migration is the holy grail and something we look forward to every year.  Migration means large numbers of ducks and geese leaving their northern haunts and heading south for the winter, but you never really know where that duck or goose was unless you are lucky enough to harvest a bird that has been banded.  For us waterfowlers, a banded bird is truly a special gift and one that causes a bunch of discussion in the blind until that lucky hunter can get home and report the band to find out where this bird was from. 

Bubba's Banded Goose

Last week was the Goose opener here in Connecticut and it found yours truly and the normal group of characters headed to the dairy farm for what we had hope would be a successful  hunt with a limit of geese to be turned into a fresh batch of goobasa, goose keilbasa that is. Little did we know that this hunt would turn special with one shot at a goose trying to get away, but it surely did.

It started out as a normal hunt on the farm, with an early morning gathering, setting out the decoy spread, hunkering down in the blind and waiting for the geese to start moving.  We had to deal with the fog and low visibility and birds that don't make much noise in the fog, but the second group of geese heading our way liked what we had to offer and committed to the spread.  Just as the first couple of geese touched down, the caller called take em, the door to the blind fell and there were 15 geese to pick from. We dropped 3 right away and one a little farther out to eh right and Bubba took a final shot at one trying to get out of dodge just about to the safe zone but he dropped it.  Once the shooting is done, the Chinese fire drill starts where a couple of us exit the blind and gather up the downed geese.  I had the pleasure of being set out for the long retrieve and as I approached the down bird, I got my first glance of the jewelry this goose was wearing - A dulled yellow neck collar.  Now I know no one say the collar or the goose would have been dumped a whole lot quicker, so I gathered up the goose making sure my hand covered the collar completely and the feet facing away from everyone.  As I approached the blind the guys were stammering about what a good shot that was and I asked who made the shot, hoping multiple people would claim it, but everyone pointed to Bubba and so I spun the goose around so everyone could see the yellow neck collar and you would have thought everyone was watching the winning run score in game 7 of the world series.  No one really payed much attention to the metal leg band at the time, so we put the goose in the blind and got set back up for the next flock.

We worked the next flock that came in and brok three geese away and they dumped into the decoys and all three stayed and joined the previous 5.  The next flock allowed us to break off just two birds which was exactly what was needed to finish off our 5 man limit, so the pressure was on for Busch Pilot and Chuck to drop the last two and it took an extra shot or three but they did their job and the mission was complete and it was just 7:50am.  A 5 man limit of geese on the 2012 Connecticut goose opener, man you could could smell the goobasa cooking in the smoker.

2012 opening day goose limit

As we were picking up and trying to get packed up and out of the field so as not to spook any geese coming in for a morning meal, one of the guys was looking over the banded goose and took the first look at the leg band and it read - Zoologisk Muesuem  Coppenhagen, Denmark.  This was obviously not the typical federal leg band that we have seen before and the excitement level grew and we could not wait to get back to the house to see what we could find out about this band.  After reviewing the federal band reporting sight and finding nothing, we did a quick google search and found a report from a New Jersey hunter that harvested a goose tagged in the same manner.  There were some links in the replies to his post asking for help and one pointed us to the European Union for Bird Ringing (http://www.euring.org/).   Where after review of their website we found a link to the European Colour-Ring Birding website (http://www.cr-birding.org/) which had links to search the ringing projects where we found two that matched the method and species of Bubba's goose.  There were two projects, one in Russia and one in Greenland.  Both projects listed contact information for the project coordinators so we sent off a couple of emails and by that evening Bubba had received a reply confirming that the banded goose he harvested was from the Greenland project.

Bubba with his West Greenland Banded Goose

The information received from the coordinator confirmed that Bubba's goose had been captured and banded as an adult female on July 23, 2008 on lake "F" in an area known as Isunngua (few of the lakes have names in this area) which was just north of the airport at Kangerlussuaq in West Greenland.  This goose had been reported as being sighted in Connecticut in November of 2008 and September of 2009 as well as back in West Greenland in 2009, 2010 and most recently in July of 2012.  Geese from this project have been reported from Canada to as far south as Virgina and as far west as Ohio. You can read more about this banding project and some of the geese from this project at:  http://greenland2011.wikispaces.com/Recoveries+and+resightings.   

Now we really are not sure how far this goose actually flew because we don't really know what flight path it took and what stops it made along the way from West Greenland this year, but the best I could come up with is approximately 2000 miles as the crow goose flies.   We may not know where the other 4 geese that were harvested in out of the flock with GNI, but you would have to think that she wasn't alone in this flock.

Remember to report all sightings and harvests of banded birds and a good place to start is the Federal band reporting website at: http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBL/bblretrv/

Oct 3, 2012

Some local Stories and Shout Outs

I haven't had much time to get in the woods so nothing to really report so I  figured I would share some local news stories that I found interesting.  Hope you enjoy some of them.

Woman Scares black bear from her deck

Now I have had to yell at a few bears while hunting to shag them away, but never from my porch or deck.  This lady is either really tough or not playing with a full deck.  The guy with the video camera is definitely not playing with a full deck.  Yikes!

Click the link below to view the video

New Breed of Hunter Shoots, Eats and Tells - NY Times Article

There was a great article in the NY times the other day related to hunting which was kind of shocking because normally hunting doesn't get good press around our neck of the woods, but this article was definitely positive.  The fact that it also include a few of the blogs and people that I follow made it even more special.  Have to give a shout out to Tovar Cerulli from the Mindful Carnivore for being mentioned in the article.  I've been following his blog and his progress on writing his book and his hard work is paying off and he really brings a great perspective to hunting.  Stop by and visit his blog or pick up his book.

Click the link below to read the article.

Connecticut Waterfowl Stamp Artwork Winner will be represented on the 2013 stamp

Winning Artwork by Richard Clifton

With waterfowl season just around the corner many of waterfowlers have already purchased our season Federal and State waterfowl stamps and I am always amazed at the incredible talent of these artists and the incredible waterfowl creations they create.  Richard Clifton's artwork of 3 Wood Ducks on a log was chosen to be the 2013 CT waterfowl stamp and being a huge fan of wood ducks I must agree that this is a winner.

You can visit the CT DEEP Website to view all the entries and get information on the next contest by clicking the link below.

With the many hunting seasons that open in October across the Northeast, please remember to be safe and respect those that don't hunt and leave the outdoors better then you found it. 

Now get out and enjoy the great outdoors and fall colors and share the passion with someone!