Feb 11, 2014

Saskatchewan Waterfowl Hunt 2013 - Day 2

We took the easy way out last night and had a pasta dinner with goose and duck sausage which the outfitter provided, salad and some fresh bread and some brownies for dessert.  Talk around the table was loud as each of us tried to put into words what we experienced on day 1 of our hunt with Living Sky Outfitters in Bladworth Saskatchewan.   After cleaning up from dinner and sitting around while we enjoyed a few beverages we finally laid our heads on a pillow and tried to fall asleep.  Easier said then done as I still have images of the skies filled with snow geese and 100+ flights of ducks buzzing our spread.  Not sure when I finally fell asleep, but I do know that our 4am wake up came a little too fast.  Today's game plan was a morning duck hunt with the chance for some dark geese and then an afternoon snow goose hunt.   The crew from Georgia struggled a bit with their shooting on Day 1 during their duck shoot in the AM, but they did make up for it on their snow goose hunt that afternoon.

Day 2 Sunrise

Morning Duck and Dark Goose Hunt October 15.

We woke to temps in the low 20s and frost along with clear skies and no wind.  Waterfowler's don't like those clear no wind kind of days, but we were to make the best of it.   We setup a homemade A-Frame blind just inside some tall brush with a high spot in the bean field about 50 yards from us before the field dropped off and headed down to the wood line.  We setup 6 dozen full body decoys made up of canadas, some giants, mallards and pintails along with a robo duck.  We had the sun at our back and as I mentioned, no wind.

It  didn't take long for the first batch of ducks to buzz our setup only for a few to land amongst the decoys about 5 minutes before legal.  They left before legal with a smaller group that flew by.  No matter, we took that as a good sign.    It wasn't long before we had a small toll of birds that offered up some shooting and even with a little sleep still in our eyes we did manage to knock down a few out of that first flight.  We had ducks work into the spread from the right, from the left and directly from behind us.  When the birds came from behind you could have reached up and grabbed them they were so low and that was so damn cool.

Bubba and Brian with a couple of geese.
Pintail Pete with a couple of giant geese.

We did have a couple of large flights of cacklers swing through and those little guys are as freaking noisy and talkative as snows.  Holy crap are they loud.   We did knock down a couple Specklebelly geese which is a treat as we don't seem them in our flyway.  One of the specks smashed a decoy right at the front of the blind when he dropped from the sky like a wet bag of cement.  There weren't many specks still around but we did see some almost every day.

Smashed decoy being retrieved.

The General makign a great retrieve on a specklebelly.

My first Specklebelly
 The highlight of the day had to be the 4 Giant geese that took a pass at the far edge of the spread and thanks to our Patternmaster tubes we knocked 3 of them down.  The fourth decided to swing back around and fly the same edge and it was also knocked down.  Two unfortunately required another shot but all 4 were recovered and they were massive!

Brian with some ducks

Bubba with arms full of giants!

Day 2 Morning Results

We ended the morning with a limit of 40 ducks consisting mostly of Mallards with a few Pintails mixed in.  We did end up with 6 Giant Canadian geese, 2 specks and 8 cacklers.  We estimated that we had seen over 3,000 ducks and a few thousand geese.

Afternoon Snow Goose Hunt

The whole trip was just incredible but if I had to pick just one part of the hunt to put on the top of the list, this snow goose hunt was it.  We refer to this hunt as Snowmageddon!  We don't get into the snows in our area of Connecticut and every goose hunter has heard the stories about how frustrating it can be to hunt snows, but when it works it is just an incredible sight to see.  Incredible.  Amazing.  Unreal.  There isn't a single word to describe it but I will try my best to do so.

Brian the Goose Ninja ready to go.

We had to get a little earlier start then normal for the afternoon hunt as we had a 850 decoy snow rig to put out which consisted of 8 dozen full body and the rest socks, shells and flyers.  The weather had warmed to the low 50s, still very clear but the wind had picked up to about 15mph.   Our rig was setup in the middle of a cut wheat field that was easily a couple miles square.  Picking the right spot in these large open fields is a challenge and something our guides were damn good at.  After getting the spread out, we put on some white jackets and pants and tucked ourselves in amongst the decoys.  The electronic caller was set out and turned on as well.  The bag limit is 20 white gees per person per day and considering we only shot 30+ the first morning as tens of thousands flew by we weren't to concerned about the limit, just hoping for some fun.

Pintail Pete getting comfortable among the decoys.

After putting out 859+ decoys I'm ready to get busy.

The hunt started out with some small flights on snows checking out the spread as we picked off ones and twos that would just seem to drop out of the sky and try to get in.  This went on for about an hour or so and then the number of flocks and size increased for about 20 minutes and they committed in larger numbers.  The excitement level was extremely high and the laughs loud and smiles wide and bright.  Once it slowed decided we needed an accurate count and we were 40+ birds.

If the hunt had ended we would have been impressed but our guide for the night Jay told us to sit back down because there were still many more flocks to come.  About 20 minutes later you can see flight after flight off birds heading our way and many of these flocks were in the hundreds of birds.  Over the next 30 minutes all chaos broke loose as our guide struggled to call out all the birds that were committing to the spread from all over the place.  We would shoot 5 or 6 that dropped in and the birds above would start there way down as well.  It was fast and furious trying to reload and get your bearings again.  The tears in my eyes from laughing so hard made it a little more challenging but we got it done.  While you were picking out birds to shoot, you had to dodge the ones your buddy shot as they were crashing down on top of you.  I had one land and crush my shell box as I rolled out of of the way.  Bubba had one hit his boot as he was shooting at a different bird.  It was pure mayhem!    We had birds walking amongst the decoys in the spread as more were landing.  One of our guys lost track of a walker and just hammered a full body decoy that flew up int he air about 10 feet and did 3 flips.  That made it even harder to shoot a bird as I was doubled over laughing and crying.

We new we were close to the 100 bird limit at that point and decided to get up and gather up the birds and while doing so the birds just kept coming and coming some even landed as we walked among the spread in our white suits.  Official count was 95 so we called it quits, sat back down and enjoyed the show which continued for about another 20 minutes.  I had birds cruising just feet above my head as I laid there video tapping them and at one point almost had one hit me.

GOPRO Footage

Additional Video Footage

After The Hunt Footage

The geese finally stopped coming and we started to pick up as the sun was setting and as I looked back towards the sunset I was amazed at the toll off birds off in the distance that seemed to be setting into the sun itself.  I couldn't imagine a better sight to end an amazing hunt.

Sunset Toll~

Gear Used

The A-frame blind we used was home made and made of 8 sections (2 front panels, 2 back panels and 2 ends) of aluminum with a soft mesh covered in grass mats  and brushed in with the local brush from the setup.  It is easy to adjust the angle of the blind as you just changed the angle of each stake on the panels.  We used buckets to sit on as well.  You can never have enough cover and brush on these things and you need to make them look like they belong and it did.   Most of the decoys were from Greenhead Gear with a few different brands mixed in.  We bought ammo from the outfitter when we arrived and it consisted of 4 cases Kent Fast Steel 3inch #2s and one case of 3.5inch BB.  We used all the 3inch #2s and returned about 6 boxes of the BB's as we didn't really need them.  The giants shot during the morning hunt were taken with 3inch #2s.  The BB's might have saved us a chase or two though.  The Kent shells seemed a little dirty along with the dust bowl we hunted every day, we made sure to break down the guns and clean them once a day.  Other then that I was very happy with the Kent ammo.  We had one gopro mounted on a head strap and two small video cams (Sony and JVC) mounted on gorilla tripods and set on the ground or attached to the Aframe blind.

Things I Learned

I'm not sure I learned anything new but many things were reinforced.  The first is how important scouting is.  Our outfitters and guides would help get the hunting crews setup in the AM and then hit the roads to scout and they covered a lot of ground and always had us on birds every day and every hunt.  The second was the reinforcement of cover and concealment.  You'd think with all those birds around you could get a little sloppy but we spent plenty of time brushing in the blind and it truly looked like part of the landscape when we got done.  Actually I did learn one thing.  Bring ear plugs on a snow goose hunt!  I could NOT get the sound of snow geese out of my head after this hunt.  It took a whole day before I seemed normal again.


  1. Man I struggled this year goose hunting, but it was my first year trying, sure didn't have begginers luck, looks like you guys had a good time though. Congrats!

  2. We all struggled with goose hunting when starting out. Scouting and having access to where they want to be makes it a bit easier though. Running traffic as a beginner is difficult and requires a lot of on the fly learning and reading the birds. Hang in there it will click.