John's Journal...

Guns of the Waterfowling Pros

Click to enlargeSteve Bierle – the Creator of Hunter’s Specialties’ Bad Medicine Goose Call

Editor’s Note: To become a professional in anything, you need to study a professional in that area of expertise and learn how he approaches his craft and what makes that professional successful. In the hunting world, you need to determineClick to enlarge if a professional’s success depends on his skills or the tools the guide carries with him on a hunt. I’ve interviewed five waterfowl guides to learn what guns and shells they use and why. Steve Bierle of Canton, South Dakota, has hunted geese all his life in many different areas of Canada and the Northwest. He’s won three state South Dakota goose-calling championships and also judges local, regional and national goose-calling championships. Bierle has developed the Bad Medicine Goose Call for Hunter’s Specialties Waterfowl, a competition-style, short-reed goose call.

“I shoot a Benelli Nova pump,” Steve Bierle reports. “I’ve always preferred a pump gun to a semi-automatic. Nine times out of ten, I’ll be shooting a 3-inch Magnum. I prefer a 3-inch Magnum over a 3-1/2-inch Magnum because although the 3-1/2-inch shell has a larger payload, you’re still forcing that payload throughClick to enlarge the same barrel through which you’re shooting a 3-inch shell. The 3-inch shell produces a longer shot stream than the 3-1/2-inch, but the area you’re covering is no different with a 3-inch shell then it is with a 3-1/2-inch shell. I’m typically hunting over decoys and shooting Click to enlargegeese and ducks at 30 yards or less. At that range, I believe the 3-inch shell is more than adequate and doesn’t punish you as much as the 3-1/2-inch shell does. Too, ballistically, the 3-1/2-inch shell doesn’t give you that much more of a benefit over the 3-inch shell.

“I prefer No. 1 shot in either Winchester Supremes or Winchester Xpert steel early in the year. Later in the season, I step my shot size up to BBs because the birds are getting fatter and thicker, and I need the heavier shot to penetrate the more-dense birds. If I’ll be hunting in an area where I know I’ll take a combination of both ducks and geese, I’ll have my gun loaded so that my first shell is either a No. 3 or a No. 2, shot and the next two shells are BBs as my back-up shots. Typically your first shot at ducks and geese in the decoys will be at 15 to 20 yards, and the smaller shot is absolutely deadly on geese and ducks in that close. But then when the birds fly away from me, I prefer the bigger shot for those 35- to 40-yard distances.”

Tomorrow: Bob “Spoonbill” Clark of Canada’s Dog ‘N Duck Outfitting

Check back each day this week for more about "Guns of the Waterfowling Pros"

Day 1: Bob “Rip” Clark and Jay Cavanagh of Canada’s Dog ‘N Duck Outfitting
Day 2: Steve Bierle – the Creator of Hunter’s Specialties’ Bad Medicine Goose Call
Day 3: Bob “Spoonbill” Clark of Canada’s Dog ‘N Duck Outfitting
Day 4: Barnie Calef – World Duck Calling Champion
Day 5: At the Other End of the Flyway – Louisiana’s Jeff Poe and Texas’s Chris Lee


Entry 492, Day 2