You Want Me in a Coffin?
Posted by Donna Bilozir on 2015 Oct 1st
Honestly, I never imagined myself at 4:00 am one chilly October morning participating in my first snow goose hunt. It’s amazing how grown men take on a child-like enthusiasm when literally thousands of geese arrive in the area. This excitement was contagious enough for me to agree to this early morning adventure. What can I say……….it wasn’t on my bucket list but it can certainly be considered an adventure by the majority of the population who have not experienced this kind of hunt.
Some of you reading know the scenario: dressed in stylish camo (my favorite detail), duck blinds, tons of decoys, guns and ammo, thermos’ of coffee/tea, flashlights, camo cloth and we are good to go.
Luckily our friend had marked the field where the geese had landed the night before and using GPS and headlights found the white plastic markers after a bit of a mystery and searching. Actually, as the guys were out walking the field with flashlights, I reset the GPS and found it showing the marker to the right rear of the truck. I called out to Will and he found he was almost standing on it! No wonder we couldn’t see it at first. Mystery solved.
I took direction from our host and helped unload the truck as we piled our gear into the glow of the headlights. I felt like a secret agent on a night-time mission. Once everything was unloaded, we proceeded to set the blinds in place. Coffin blinds are a new phenomenon to me and I was amazed at how well they blend into the landscape once we covered them with straw and local grasses. So they look great, but I was worried about how I would coordinate myself throughout the hunt. Could I surmise if the guys can coordinate themselves that I could as well?
Next I helped place wind-sock style decoys into a hook or u-shape pattern to the front of the blind which will entice the birds to land in front of us. The decoys were predominantly feeders with their heads down which gives the incoming birds a sense of security and safety. The blinds are facing in the opposite direction of the wind as the birds will circle and land into the wind directly in front if all goes well.
There is a faint glow of light on the horizon and I begin to take in our surroundings. Flat fields with a few rises and water in the distance. The fields have stubble and left over grain which attracts the birds and explains why it is such a perfect spot. We enjoy a quick cup of coffee and survey our setup. A few minor alterations in placement, the decoys look great and our work is complete. After moving the truck a good distance away we take up our places in readiness.
I’m starting to get excited now as the light increases and I can faintly hear birds miles away. That is our cue to get into the blinds and the calls are started. Snow geese can be called using recorded sounds which create a haunting effect in the early light.
As I lay in my blind listening to the eerily relaxing call of the snow geese recording, with my right hand excitedly gripping my shotgun, I hear the birds coming closer and closer. Our host is giving a ‘play-by-play’ of approaching birds, heights, and direction so that we can be prepared when he gives the okay to ‘take them’. I can now see the birds through the top of my blind and the noise level is amazing from so many birds circling above. My heart is racing as I wait for the moment…………..’TAKE THEM’
Well, in the movie version of this next scene I elegantly and quickly push open my blind to the sunrise, sit up and raise my beautiful 12 ga side-by-side to my shoulder and down the goose positioned in front of my blind. Have you visualized this perfect scene in your head? Good, keep it there because that is not quite what happened.
My adrenaline was flowing and I pushed open the two sides of the blind and proceeded to get my foot caught on something so I couldn’t sit up straight. I did shoulder my gun (after everyone else was shooting) and shot at a goose. It happily kept flying as did all the others I shot at first thing that morning.
Several other waves of birds were landing around us but I was unable to get a good shot. Suddenly I heard someone yell ‘Donna, right in front….take it!’ It was magical how quickly the small group of geese had approached. As I bolted upright and took a shot it seemed like slow motion watching my goose receive the hit. But wait, nothing happened, did I miss? A moment later there was shot to my right. As I was still watching my goose, it folded up and started coming down hard. Darn, I thought I had that one but at least the second shot got it. The bird was coming down fast and looked as if it would land right in front. A loud yell from my right made me turn and I saw the bird land directly in my husband’s blind. The joke for the rest of the day was ‘Are you sure she likes you?’
During the lull that followed, we talked about my husband’s close call and the goose that our friend got to the right and behind him. So it was great news that the delayed reaction goose fell to my shot after all.
As with anything new, it takes a bit of practice and I am happy to say that I mastered the sticky coffin blind that day and shot my first snow goose. We did the same type of hunt for two additional days, so I’m adding the ‘coffin hunt’ to my list of adventures.