John's Journal...


Sky Carp

Click to enlarge Editor’s Note: Ducks and geese rained from the sky like a giant black cloud. Although making an exact count was difficult, the cloud appeared to have 300 to 400 ducks in it, a flight of 20 speckle-bellied (white-fronted) geese and about 50 Canada geese. I waited in my Ameristep bale blind for Bob (Rip) Clark of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, to call the shot. When I finally heard him say the words I’d been waiting for, “Take ‘em,” the Canada geese had dropped down through the swarm of ducks and were right in front of my layout blind.

Click to enlargeIn Canada, the guides at Dog ‘N Duck call snow geese sky carp. The snow goose isn’t a
good-eating goose—just as the carp isn’t a prized fish. So although hunters can take 20 of them, and their numbers need to be reduced, rarely do hunters actively pursue them. Too, hunting sky carp can be very difficult. They usually fly in huge flocks, and you have a lot of eyes looking down on you when you try to call them in to your blind. Many times you’ll only get one chance to take birds out of a flock of 300 to 500 before the birds fly away. “Even though you can take 20 of them a day, these geese have become a nuisance for landowners and farmers because of their ability to destroy a crop in one night,” Clark notes. “They’ve also become a nuisance to themselves because theirClick to enlarge numbers have grown so rapidly they’re destroying their own habitat. Sometimes we’ll have small flocks from 5 to 20 snow geese come in to our decoys, and we encourage our hunters to take them. They provide good shooting action, and by taking as many as we can, we’re really helping to protect the resources.”

I’ve never been on a hunt where I’ve seen and taken more geese and duck in my life. The ducks came in so strong that many times, I would just sit in the blind, watch the birds come in to the decoys and let the other hunters shoot them. When you see more than 100 ducks and geese competing for a spot to land less than 20 feet from your blind, the sight leaves you awestruck. When wave after wave after wave of waterfowl come to your decoys each morning and Click to enlargeeach afternoon, if you are a waterfowl enthusiast as I am, you’ll assume you have died and gone to heaven. I believe every waterfowler who really enjoys the sport of taking ducks and geese over decoys should plan a trip to Alberta at least once in his or her life, because it’s a trip of a lifetime that you can relive again and again.

To learn more about Dog ‘N Duck, call (780) 913-1337 or (780) 416-3825, e-mail, or visit


Check back each day this week for more about WATERFOWLER'S HEAVEN WITH JOHN E. PHILLIPS...

Day 1 - The Beginning of a Great Hunt
Day 2 - Exciting Hunts At Dog ‘N Duck
Day 3 - When To Make The Call And Aggravating The Guide
Day 4 - Why Clark Doesn’t Use A Dog
Day 5 - Sky Carp



Entry 272, Day 5