John's Journal...

Hometown Geese and Nuisance Geese


Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: In the fall every year and well into the winter in some areas, many states hold resident-goose seasons to rid the regions of too-many geese. Chris Kirby, the president of Quaker Boy Calls in Orchard Park, New York, says of these nuisance geese, “These birds have few natural predators, and their numbers can build-up quickly.” Like other avid nuisance-goose hunters, Kirby hopes to help control the goose population by harvesting resident geese in September before other birds come down the flyway.

On the secoClick to enlargend morning of the hunt, we went back to the same field because we'd seen many flocks of geese pass by that we hadn't lured in to the decoys. Dick Kirby, the founder of Quaker Boy Calls and Chris' father, accompanied us. I'd known Kirby as a good friend for a long time.     When he heard about my inability to bag birds on the first morning, he kidded me good-heartedly and said, “John, I'll call with Chris, today. Between the two of us, we should be able to get those geese to come in and turn sideways so you can get a better shot without the goose's feet in your face. We'd really like to see you bag one of these honkers.” The first flight must have had 40 to 50 birds in the flock. The Kirbys talked the birds down and brought them into the decoys low, slow and close. As I saw the birds coming, I began to talk to myself. “Now, John, pay attention to what you're doing. Feel the stock against your cheek, look down the barrel, and watch the birds. Remember to keep your head down. Pick one goose out of the flock to shoot.  Make sure you've got that one bird down before you try and take a second bird. “If you miss one in this flight, you'll be embarrassed for two, consecutive days. You can shoot better than what you've Click to enlargeshown. Keep your brain in gear and your mind on the shot. You can look at the geese after you've picked them up.”

“Take 'em!” Dick Kirby yelled. As I threw the decoy off my chest, I picked out one big honker right in front of my face. The bird appeared to stand dead still in the air as he tried to shift gears between lighting and climbing. However, his gears wouldn't mesh, and the bird stalled in mid-air. I saw the bead on the barrel overlap the neck where it joined the body. When I squeezeClick to enlarged the trigger, I introduced the goose to Winchester's BB's. I watched the goose all the way to the ground and also saw a second goose fall that Dick had shot. “Stay down,” Chris Kirby yelled. “I believe I can bring them back.” Chris and Dick Kirby both began to call. Three geese broke off from the main flock and started to circle back over the decoys. I don't believe the Canada geese had any thought of lighting in the decoys. I think they just wanted to give the decoys a second look before they flew to another field. With the geese about 30 yards away, I readied for the shot. As they approached, I took aim on the lead goose. At the report of my 3-inch magnum, the goose folded and never fluttered when it hit the ground. After the flight had left, Dick Kirby came over, more proud of my shooting than his own.

“Well, John, you southern boys take a little while to learn,” Dick Kirby said. “But you do catch on to this goose hunting, don't you?” “I could have shot like this, yesterday, if Chris had brought the birds in so I could see something besides feet when I came up to shoot,” I said as I laughed. When you hunt resident geese in many states, much of the shooting ends by 8:00 a.m. You still have time to pick up your birds, load up your decoys and then go to work or fish a nearby lake or pond.

Tomorrow: Why a Nuisance Goose Season

Check back each day this week for more about "Hometown Geese and Nuisance Geese"

Day 1: A Local Goose Season Means No Nuisance Geese
Day 2: Tactics for Hunting Resident Geese
Day 3: Redemption
Day 4: Why a Nuisance Goose Season
Day 5: How to Remove Nuisance Geese


Entry 474, Day 3