The Initiation By Rick Fowler
More than a decade has passed since my entrance into the sport of goose hunting. However, it wasn’t the initial hunt that I’ll remember as much as the second. Even though the embarrassment of this particular morning is maddening, the truth after all these years needs to be told.
The previous weekend had brought with it a successful first-ever outing for two friends and myself. Indeed, my patience while lying flat on a soggy berm surrounding a pond was rewarded with my first Canadian.
Needless to say, after this first outing I was anxious to pursue this brand of hunting again and plans were made to hunt this area the next Saturday. Thus, I was now awake at 5:00 A.M. staring out the window to the east marveling at the early sky, a canvas of pink and orange, and biting at the bit to get to the Waugoshance Point area and another taste of goose hunting Northern Michigan style.
Because of our earlier success we decided that this time our goal would be to limit out by being even more patient. However this plan of patience went awry quickly after parking the truck. We had just begun “gearing up” for the ½ mile trek to the pond and its protective berms when we were suddenly greeted from the north with what seemed like hundreds of honking geese. Now, being novices we did not have a lot of extra gear. However, we did have field glasses and because of the racket we had just witnessed, our new plan was now to sneak slowly up like soldiers on a mission, keeping a wary eye on the birds through our binoculars, until we reached the larger of the three berms surrounding the pond.
When we were within ten yards of the berm Al whispered, “I’ll crawl up and see if they landed in the water.” Eddie and I nodded our assent. Within seconds he was back. “My glasses are kind of fogged up, but they’re coming in alright, some are in the pond already! You guys ready?” We assured him we were and then crawled and scratched our way within two feet of the largest berm.
“Ok! On my signal! I’ll take the left. Rick, you go for the center group and Eddie can take the right.” Again, simultaneous nodding of the heads in agreement as our fingers clicked safeties off.
“Go!” In one motion, three shotguns began firing. We had outwitted our prey. We were indeed true waterfowlers. We were going to limit out and have many goose dinners in the future. Within seconds however, I realized that most of the birds flying were now well out of range so our shots needed to be aimed at the thirty or so still in the pond. Within another few seconds we all realized something else. None of the birds in the pond had flown away!
When the smoke cleared and the boisterous honking became faint, three young hunters put their guns on safety, lay them to one side and began howling with laughter. The realization had hit us at the same time. “Decoys! We just blasted someones decoys!”