Blog Tours: Veasna’s Blog

Veasna Sao opens the door to a debate between gamers, console or PC? He uses his knowledge on the subject to introduce those who are not educated on the topic and also stimulates those with a great amount of knowledge on the debate. His use of language flows well making his pieces very easy to read and leaves the reader wanting more. By asking questions and provoking discussion I myself was prompted to take a stand on the issue.

 

Author Analyzations…

Veasna takes the time to look at the works of others interested in his topic of study and provided a great analyzation of the works of Johnathan Leck. It is a great place for his reader to start because the beginning of the blog introduces his topic and outlines ideas he has for coming weeks. Veasna picks apart the authors blog piece by piece and I also noticed he used a similar format in his weekly post. “The reason loved that Jonathan used the top 10 most popular games is because it gives the reader the chance to see what those games are for each platform. Also, it provides the reader with a selection of games that they could be interesting to them” (Sao, 1), here he discuses something that really invited the reader to take a look at the blog he studied.

 

Weekly Posts…

In his weekly posts Veasna provides a whip around comparison of video gaming consoles and PC’s. He compares multiple features of each platform and highlights what each of them lacks compared to its competition. The post I chose to look at most was his post on Xbox v. PlayStation. I was able to relate to this because I could understand most of the language he was using in this post and it made it a little more enjoyable for me to read. I own an Xbox so I was a little biased going in to the post but Veasna provided info that I was able to use in order to back up my claim that the Xbox was better than a PlayStation. He did this by using factual information such as, “In the PlayStation 4, it uses s GDDR5 ram instead of the DDR3 ram that the Xbox One has”, and also by using reason, “One reason I liked the PlayStation 4 more than the Xbox One is that the majority of friends have a PlayStation 4. Lastly I just find that the PlayStation 4 is more fun and better suited for what I want in console gaming”.

In Conclusion…

I would recommend this blog to anyone no matter your level of knowledge on the subject. I had almost no idea what the author was talking about in the beginning, but through some great writing and strong definition he was able to help me through the confusion. All in all he leaves decision up to me and through the info he presented I was able to make an informed and educated decision.

 

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Week 3 Author Analyzation, Topic: Deer Hunting

This week my posts have focused on the most common pursuit of big game in Minnesota, White-Tailed Deer hunting. I have a great amount of experience chasing these big animals making it enjoyable for me to  share my knowledge about their character, habits, and especially what it takes to outsmart these creatures. I decided to look outside of Minnesota for my analyzation today, and look at deer hunting in Kansas. Through John Eberhart’s post, Mega Kansas Six Pointer I learned a lot about the similarities and differences of Southern White-Tails.

 

Overview of the Blog Post: Mega Kansas Six Pointer

John Eberhart starts his story in Michigan and works his way through the Midwest. He covers a wide variety of topics including one I failed to mention in my weekly series, public land. Public land is a great way for hunters without easy access to private land to put down deer in any state just as Eberhart does in Missouri. The bulk of the story takes place post rut on private Kansas land. He goes over the struggle of hunting post rut when most of the deer have been picked over or only the smartest remain. He takes the reader through the preparation process, but unlike my post on preparing for the hunt, Eberhart completes the entire process in a single afternoon. He spends a few days hunting and on the final day he is presented with the opportunity to take a good buck. After downing the deer he describes the situation as he approached, “I was shocked as his rack was big but only had 6 points” (Eberhart, 2). Even though it was a great deer he was surprised, he decided to take the good out of it instead of regretting his decision and be happy he was able to take a unique Kansas buck.

What I learned…

I was glad I picked this post to end my week on the topic of deer hunting. It presented some new and unique info for my reader as well as for me. The authors tone was very casual but also described the hunt very well. I try to show my emotions during the hunt and Eberhart also used language that portrayed his feelings to connect with the reader. I enjoyed his intro as much as anything, he led the reader into the life of an avid hunter during the season on a personal level. This is something I failed to do in my posts, as I only told about life in the woods during the preparation stages or hunt. At the end of the post I glanced at an ad for a weekly podcast featuring this author and was interested in seeing what he had to offer as a speaker as well as a writer. I would like to look at his tone and make a comparison between his writers voice and his speakers voice. I feel like both of our passions for the sport contribute to a stronger voice in our writings and I would like to improve my writers voice while writing about topics that don’t interest me as  much.

 

King of the Woods

The hardwood forests of Southern Minnesota are home to a variety of woodland creatures, but ruling over them all is the White-Tailed Deer. A top its head sits a crown coveted by hunters all across the states. Well some value this unique feature, others desire the wild meat bestowed upon the animal. However in order to claim your trophy and fill your freezer, you must first step into this creatures arena and conquer the elements, the terrain, and most importantly the animal itself. This is no easy task but with just enough luck and years of experience, his last breath could meet your sigh of relief.

 

About the Animal

The White-Tailed Deer is native to every county in Minnesota and is one of the most popular animals in the state. They live primarily in the hardwood forests, often near the wide spread agricultural regions of the state. They have the ability to survive the harsh Minnesota winters due to their thick coat and cunning senses. They are classified as bucks and does (male-female) and are the smallest members of the Deer family. Bucks carry a distinct set of antlers and are slightly darker in color especially in the Winter months. When a White Tail senses danger-especially does-they will expose the white underside of their tail to signal to the others. They also stomp their hooves or aggressively blow air out of their nose to serve the same purpose. They are most active during dusk and dawn, often feeding into early morning and bedding

doe
A doe bearing it’s lighter Summer coat. Around mid-September their coats become heavier and darker to stand up against the violent Minnesota Winters.

down during the day. Deer are not herd animals but often does spend their time with each other in groups of 4 or 5. Bucks will at most travel with one other Male until the rut starts. They eat a variety of fruits and wild grasses, but in Minnesota survive off of the flourishing agricultural society for most of the year. In the Winter as food becomes scarce they eat twigs and acorns. They also have a stomach that allows them to safely eat this rough and/or sharp vegetation. Their teeth consist of very sharp incisors and very large molars for chewing vegetation. Healthy adult deer do not have any prime predators in Southern Minnesota, but young fawns and older or sick adults can become a coyotes meal in a hurry.

 

Scenario:

The piercing buzz of your alarm clock stuns you awake, causing you roll out of bed about 2 hours before the sun is set to rise. After quick glance at your phones weather app and a sigh of frustration you slip into your base layers and pull up your wool socks in preparation for a cold Fall Minnesota morning. You grab a quick cup of coffee and throw some snacks in your backpack before grabbing your heavy coat and strapping on your Carhart bibs. As you lace up your boots and let out a yawn and break the seal on the box of your new shotgun slugs. Closing the door behind you the cold breeze stings your face and you begin your track into the woods. A rabbit makes you jump as it darts across the narrow path. “Great” you think as the batteries of your headlamp disappeared rendering you almost blind. About ten minuets in you are sweating under your flannel long underwear as you slid down the bluff towards the river bed. Finally you climb one step at a time up to your stand suspended 15 feet above the forest floor. After you get settled even before the sun begins to rise the cracking of leaves and twigs grabs your attention. A small buck, maybe a year or two old stumbles unknowingly just feet from what could be a deadly situation. Someday he will learn the smells and sounds of hunters and become just as weary of danger as an old buck, but for now you let him pass hoping for a more mature trophy. You pass the time playing Candy Crush on your phone and taking a short nap only to be abruptly woke by a squirrel that really needed that leaf right below your stand. A few more small deer pass and the sun is now high in the air. As you stretch and check the time you decide its time to call it a day. The metal clanks as you scale the old stand’s ladder. A turkey gobbles in the distance, your legs and like noodles from sitting still for so long and you struggle to make it the first few feet. Once your back home you tuck your gear into your old scent locked bag and grab a bite to eat. In a few hours you’ll be back in the stand giving it another shot. Days go by and shotgun season comes to an end, the rut is over but you still slide an arrow into your bow, “just a few more days” you tell yourself “hopefully”. The snow begins to fall, a storm is coming, a six point buck and a doe step within range. you decide its time and draw back on your bow. The arrow flies, the doe drops and the buck springs to a sprint. Its meat in the freezer and the buck gets another year to grow, all you can hope for now is another chance at him next season.

For more on preparing for the season, check out this blog 307 days, Preparing for the Rut

 

The Rut:

The rut is a deer’s mating season, it affects the buck most directly. Bucks will become zombies during the rut often walking around with their head

buck
My First White-Tail stumbled into range midway through the 2017 season. He was approximately 3.5 years old with 13 points and now resides above the stair case in my living room.

hung low aimed at a doe. They begin the rut in late September and it carries on through mid-November. Bucks begin the rut by chasing away any smaller bucks they had been traveling with. They fight bucks for territory in antler to antler combat that may result in death of one or both bucks. They create scraps on trees with their brow tines, and physically their necks grow much thicker. During the rut the bucks sometimes forget to listen to the senses keeping them safe and open themselves up to danger. The rut falls in line with shotgun season in Minnesota causing it to be one of the busiest times of the year for hunters.

 

307 Days: Preparing for the Rut

November 3rd, circled in red from the harbors of Duluth to Nobles County, just North of the Iowa border. Hundreds of men and women climb 15 feet above the forest floor barley able to sit still as a fawn trots below their old metal stand. It may still be a week or two before a buck stumbles unknowingly below the wrong tree, but for now you wait. You have spent countless hours, and entire weekends preparing for this day. hanging stands, watching deer in the field, collecting trail camera footage, and mulling over the location of your opening morning hunt. Before you get to see their ears twitch below their antlers as the click of the safety disrupts the silence of the woods, any successful hunter must study every aspect of the animal with a watchful eye.

 

A New Year Starts…

While most deer hunters will wait for late Spring or early Summer the most avid of hunters’ season begins the day after the previous ends. As you climb down from your stand on New Years eve-bow and arrows in hand-you acknowledge that the season is over, 58 days chasing deer. While even the most dedicated hunters only hunt about 14-25 of these days you are still exhausted. The frustration that fills your body is immense, you’ve been outsmarted-once again I might add-by a big, smelly, obnoxious herbivore. So what does it take to outsmart one of these cunning, experienced, survivalist beasts? Well, it takes about a 307 days and a countless amount of hours in the woods. The new season begins with the new year, your guns, bow, and grunt call will be packed away during this time, but you

trail cam
A photo of a buck in early Summer taken from one of my trail cameras. The next time I would lay eyes on this animal would be looking down the barrel…

 

will trade that 12 gauge in for a rake and some new batteries for your trail camera at the hardware store.

 

 

Winter Prep

There is not a whole lot you can do to prepare during the winter while snow is on the ground, however a new form of “hunting” might consume your time during the cold Minnesota winter. Deer begin to shed their antlers late into January and through March. Time spent looking for these antlers can be a good way to get excited for a new year. Most of the time deer don’t move a lot in the winter so checking bedding locations and food sources is a good way to spend your time. You could also prepare by eliminating some pests that reek havoc on young fawns in the spring. Coyote hunting is an important part of maintaining a good deer population, it is legal to hunt coyotes during anytime of the year and you are allowed to use any kind of weapon. You can also keep trail cams up and running all year observing witch bucks stay and which move to a different area.

 

Spring Time

While the farmers prep the fields for a busy Spring you will stay just as busy in the woods. During the early Spring you will start to see the bucks return carrying the beginnings of a brand new set if antlers. They begin to sprout as little knobs on the deer’s head and by early Summer they are full grown. White Tail antlers-not horns-are the fastest growing tissue on Earth. As the Spring progresses and your computer files fill with photos of wildlife taken without notice by your trail cameras, it is time to start thinking about food plots. A great way to guarantee deer will stay around for the Fall hunting season is to guarantee them a food source. If you have the resources to create an artificial pond, this is ideal. Most hunters who choose to plant a food plot will spend time in the woods along a common path the deer have been taking clearing it out and getting the soil ready to plant. Once you choose where to plant your food plot(s) you have to decide what to plant. Some things to take into consideration are the time you have to plant, the resources, when you plan to do most of your hunting, and what kind of things farmers are planting around you. Soy Beans are good for early season bow hunting, beets are good for late winter muzzleloader hunting. If you have access to tillable farm land, a plot of corn is always a great option, however you must leave it up all winter after the rest has been harvested. In Olmstead County baiting is illegal so you are not allowed to grab  a bag of cut corn at the feed store and toss it below your stand. All crops must remain standing, or completely harvested.  Committing to a food plot is a lengthy and time consuming ordeal.

 

Patterns, Patterns, Patterns…

Once your crops are on schedule and the deer now walk proudly displaying a completed rack, it’s time to pattern the deer. Deer have to feed, drink, and sleep each and everyday. From June to August you have to figure out when they do this, who they do this with, and most importantly the path they travel to get here. With the help of trail cameras and some time spent in the woods you will start to find “highways” the deer use to travel on. Bucks will get in a set pattern by the end of the Summer and will follow this religiously up until a few weeks before hunting season starts. Does and fawns will generally travel in groups and wont be as easy to pattern but easier to trace. As the Summer nights come to a close hopefully you will have your tree stands hung and a pretty good idea of where the deer are going to be traveling.

 

Back to the Stand…

As the dust settles behind a school bus on an old gravel road you begin your climb into the stand for the first time this year. The bucks have now lost the velvet coat that forms around their antlers in the Spring and you have only a week or two before they become nocturnal. Bow season starts mid September and avid hunters have only a few short weeks before the rut is in full swing and the orange army fills the woods for shotgun season. Bow hunting is a great way to admire the work you have put into your land in preparation for the season, and also a tool for scouting as you get some time alone with the deer before they are shot at for the first time. The bugs are horrendous and you don’t spend a lot of time in the tree, but if you have that buck patterned well enough it’s a great opportunity to end your season early.

IMG_6525
A quick selfie from 15 feet above the ground to commemorate the opening day of the 2018 season!

 

Pre-Rut

A week or two before shotgun season starts bucks begin what is called the rut. They get very territorial in the early phases and will spend their time making rubs on trees to mark their territory, and fighting off little bucks. They also lose the pattern you have spent so long studying and become nocturnal (great…). If they were traveling with another buck they will most likely seclude them and bed deep in the woods. They are not chasing around the does like college freshman yet, but will not shy away from familiarizing themselves with one another.

 

In conclusion the most important part of the hunt can be the 307 days leading up to opening morning. Thousands of hours are put in by hunters all over Minnesota each year. Each wanting more than anything to outsmart the

dads deer
After years of trying my Dad downed his first deer minuets into the 2016 season after hanging the stand he was sitting in the previous evening. Sometimes all you need is a little luck.

animal, but in the end, for some that work will never pay off. Oh, and if your like my Dad who never bagged that trophy but spent years crawling to his stand at 4:30am and studying the animal, there’s still hope. Even after years have past and other priorities have consumed your time, when you do decide to give it one more shot and dig your hunting gear out the day before the season opens-disregarding preparation at all-the luck you lacked for years could come just at the right time…

 

 

Week Two Author Analyzation; Topic, Bird Dogs

For the second week of my blog I chose to focus on the topic of bird hunting in Southern Minnesota. Each post outlined one of the two types of bird hunting, upland and migratory waterfowl. I also added a short excerpt on the importance of dogs as a companion and tool during the hunt. For my author analyzation I have chosen to look at the works of Bret Wonnacott and his blog Setter Tails and Mallard Curls. He aims to represent the importance of his best friend-an English Setter-during the hunt.

 

Overview of the Blog Post: Snaps! the Luckiest Pup Ever!

Bret starts by describing a day of grouse hunting that did not go well with his new pups Snaps and Tic. He sets the mood by describing his situation as gloomy and depressing. He sets the scene while traversing a rough back road, “Negative thoughts filled my mind while the truck bounced down the rough mountain road heading toward home” (Wonnacott, 1). He stops along an opening in a  forest to give his new pup snaps a quick second chance, immediately they spot a bird that is sitting in the open. It took the dog a fair amount of time to locate the bird but when he was able to the hunter took the opportunity to take a picture of his dog at a point rather than shoot the bird. He described laughter and a sense of pride for his dog. The act of photographing his dog at point for the first time rather than taking an easy opportunity for a kill shows where his priorities lie. He describes his feelings here, “Chills ran through my core as I roughed the pup’s ears up yelling, “Good boy! Good boy, Snaps! Good boy!” over and over”. As the author heads back to his truck he continues to praise his dog and vividly describes what he is feeling.

 

What I learned from the reading…

The author was able to provoke a lot of feelings of emotion and pride for a dog that I have never had a connection with, and through the writing I felt a sense of pride for the dog. He did a very good job of relating to other dog owners and the ups and downs of training a new bird dog. What I enjoyed most about the reading was the uses of creative language like similes, “Snaps hit the ground like a clown working for the crowd”. It kept the reader entertained and made the reading feel shorter and easier to read. He also chose not to hide the bad part of his day when his new pups struggled and failed to locate birds. In the end it only makes the ending better when Snaps is finally able to point his first bird. Through my blog I have tried to portray the hunter as “the good guy” and during the story’s climax when he chose to take a picture rather than shoot the bird really tied into my theme. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wild West: Ring-Necked Pheasant Hunting in South West Minnesota

It is well known that in recent years the pheasant population in Minnesota has taken a huge hit all across the Southern part of the state. However hunters are not at fault for this rapid decline, the use of strong pesticides in the 80s and-Minnesota’s most dominate factor in animal population decrease-harsh winters, along with the lack of sustained wetland areas in Minnesota has caused their population to plummet. With the help of Pheasants Forever and the likes of other conservation organizations the population has recently began to steady off. About 2 hours and 45 minuets West of Olmsted county the grasslands of West-Central Minnesota hold the most flourishing population of Ring-Necked Pheasants the state has to offer.

 

About the Animal…

The Ring-Necked Pheasant was not introduced into Minnesota until 1916, originally coming from China. They are classified like chickens, males being cocks or roosters and females are referred to as hens. Males are much more brightly colored than females much like any other bird species. They also cluck and crow like a chicken. They tend to live in grassy wetlands surrounded by agriculture. Pheasants eat seeds, bugs, and plants. They also are found on the shoulder of the highway or back country roads eating small pebbles in order to digest their food. They can go weeks without feeding during the winter by slowing down their metabolism.

Ring Neck
A brightly colored male pheasant in search of food.

They have a large amount of predators including foxes, coyotes, birds of prey, and also racoons and skunks who tend to only eat the eggs or chicks. They do not live in flocks or groups of any kind and the chicks are able to leave the mom at about 6-10 weeks. They do not fly long distances and tend to run rather than fly away from predators.

 

 

Scenario…

As you roll out of bed and glance at the hotel alarm clock you see its about time to head out for your second day of pheasant hunting. After a quick shower you grab your gear bag and gun case and head downstairs. As you toss your stuff in the back of your buddy’s truck you let your dog run around the parking lot and warm up for a long day in the field. Finally you see your friends stumble down the stairs to the lobby. You all jump in the truck and drive about 20 minuets to a wildlife management area and put the truck in park along a fence line. As the sun rises you throw on your orange vest and an orange cap. Your dog runs around excitedly already looking for birds. After you slip on your hiking boots (comfortable for a long day of walking), and throw a shock collar on your dog over his protective vest you load your shotgun with non toxic bird shots (necessary for hunting on public land). As you slam the tailgate a hen nested behind a fencepost flushes into the air.

Wildlife managment area
The MN DNR is tasked with clearly marking and mapping all public hunting land.

Before your hunting partner can pull up on the bird you call out “hen!”. You climb over razor sharp barbed wire fence line and begin to walk. The grass is about knee high, you stay in a horizontal line as your dog works hundreds of feet in front of you nose to the ground. He searches for birds buried in brush often getting sidetracked by the scent of a rabbit and forcing you to give him a quick jolt from the shock collar to keep him focused. You suddenly hear him stop and slowly approach his last known location. As you get close you approach the pile he is fixated on and as your boots close in a male pheasant springs into the air catching the wind under his wings four shotguns and the bark of your dog pierce your ears. As the shots echo across the field you see the rooster gliding to safety 100 yards away and you look at your buddies, you all laugh. Your dog gives you a look and you can almost hear him sigh in disappointment. As he puts his nose back to the ground you all load your gun making fun of each other for missing the first bird of the day. When the time finally does come and a rooster lays motionless in the reeds your dog springs into action once again delicately presenting you with your trophy. He is rewarded with a treat as you place the bird in your bag. When the sun sets and you are back in the hotel parking lot lighting your little propane grill as your partners clean the birds you joke about and reflect on a great day. Even though you didn’t fill your limit (2 roosters each in MN) you still made some great memories with your friends and dog.

 

 

Hunting Tactics…

Conditions and weather don’t come into play as much with pheasant hunting as it does with other animals. The biggest weather fact that can ruin a hunt is wind. Wind allows the pheasant to get up in the air and move at a high rate of speed. With the help of a dog conditions like rain and snow can slightly mask scent but don’t play a major role. The biggest piece of equipment you can pack into your truck when going pheasant hunting is a dog. Certain breeds of dogs are trained and perfected into bird hunting machines. With the right dog pheasant hunting can be a breeze. Setters, Springers, and Pointers are most commonly associated with pheasant hunting. Once the dog locates the bird they either sit, flush the bird, or point,

IMG_6650
My dog Axel a German Wirehaired Pointer. He has been retired for a few years now but enjoys an occasional hunt around home.

hence Setter, Springer, Pointer. Pointers and Setters have the ability to sit on birds for hours before flushing them for their owner. Bird dogs are some of the most resilient breeds of dogs because of their ambition for hunting and physical abilities. These dogs will go for 9 hours straight often tearing off the pads on their feet and bleeding from their eyes and ears before stopping. Determination like this makes them the most vital part of bird hunting.

 

 

 

 

 

In conclusion pheasant hunting can create great memories between friends, and build a special bond between you and your dog while doing something everyone enjoys. It is very important farmers and developers work towards helping support the pheasant population in Minnesota and someday restore it to it’s prior greatness.

 

 

Works Cited

“Harvest Trends.” Pilot Biologist Flight Logs | Flyways.us, flyways.us/regulations-and-harvest/harvest-trends.

“Ring-Necked Pheasant – Minnesota DNR – MN Department of Natural Resources.” Minnesota DNR – MN Department of Natural Resources, http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/birds/ringneckedpheasant.html.

“SportDOG Brand Upland Hunter SD 1875.” Pheasantsforever.org, pheasantsforever.org/.

 

Flight Canceled, Hunting Migratory Geese in Rochester MN

The most prominent and flourishing animal in Southern Minnesota, a territorial beast. Weighing in at around 15lbs, and it’s weapon? A 6” beak full of razor sharp teeth. This grey monster may sound intimidating but in reality, the Canada Goose is just an oversized pigeon. They are most often found holding up traffic-despite their ability to fly-or floating peacefully around Silver Lake. According to Harvest Trendsin Minnesota 200,000 geese are killed on average each year. This may sound like an outrageous number at first but when their population falls around the millions it isn’t that large after all. To most Rochester citizens it may sound easy, but trust me, the challenge is just as humbling and frustrating as any other form of hunting.

About the Animal…

The Canada Goose lives primarily in the Northern most regions of the country. Their heavy waterproof down feather coats make them built for winter. They do however still choose to migrate during the cold winter months but never go farther than the Central part of the country. In the Summer, geese spend their time in the water primarily. They also loose their flying feathers in a process called molting. A goose molts to shed its flying feathers in an attempt to cool down its body in the hot Summer months.  “Geese rejuvenate their flight feathers for their Fall migration beginning in mid-June throughout July. Unlike other birds which will loose

Molting goose
A goose’s appearance stays similar during the molting process, but if you look close you will see blue patches on the lead goose’s wing where the feathers previously were.

one feather at a time and still be able to fly, geese will loose all of their flight feathers” (Hower, 1).  As mentioned in the excerpt from Jeff Hower’s analysis, Geese are unable to fly throughout the entire Summer season. This is a surprisingly unknown fact to most Minnesotans because the geese generally reside in Canada at this time. Geese generally travel in flocks and mate for life. They are very territorial about their mate but will generously share feeding space. They eat grains and dry vegetables and require a very little amount of food during the winter.

 

Scenario

You wake up around 5:30am and load your truck down with your gear. You would toss in your blind bag full of snacks, ammunition (3.5” or 3” steel shotgun shells), a knife,  and some other miscellaneous gear, and of course your gun (my weapon of choice is a Winchester Sx4 shotgun with a 28” barrel). After a stop at Kwik Trip to grab a cup of ambition, you arrive at the field you will be hunting that morning. One of your buddies would pull the trailer loaded down with decoys into the field and pull the doors open unleashing a flock of stationary geese into the mud. Once you reached the pit line (dug out 12×5 holes in the field lined with plywood and covered with artificial ground, generally in a line containing enough room for 15 hunters) you will drop your gear you just lugged half a mile through the mud. Each hunter will start placing decoys around the pit line in small packs or very spread out depending on the weather conditions, but always with their faces in the wind (as geese never land with their butts in the wind).  Once all of decoys are set leaving just a 15×15 “kill hole” that serves as a landing strip for the geese, you will hop into the pit of your choosing. Since the season takes place during the winter months your hands

Propane Heater
This little heater may be one of my most used pieces of equipment!

and feet are probably icicles right about now so you fire up your propane heater. After everything is set up and ready to go you will have a few hours before the geese fly. Some days they fly early if it is snowing, they may fly later as well if it is very cold, somedays if it is warm they don’t even fly at all in fact. If they are content in the grass at Soldiers Field they will put off eating until that afternoon. Assuming the conditions are perfect you will still have to wait a while to pull the trigger. You probably will kill the time scrolling on your phone or watching the skies like a hawk, often getting excited by an airplane in the distance. When the time does come and the first flock makes its way toward the field you will cover up (pull the hatch above your pit in order to conceal yourself) and begin to call. You would start calling and soon the geese will begin to circle. They will inspect every element of the field with a watchful eye critiquing each and every decoy. if they do decide to land they will look directly into the wind and cup their wings, but just as they set their body weight back and put webbed feet out to land-often referend to as putting their landing gear down-the excitement begins. Your buddy will call the shot by either saying a phrase such as “Cut em’ Boys!” or “Kill em” along with a direction (this is helpful because when you are concealed you are not able to see where they are), the whole thing sounded like “Cut em boys, coming down right behind us”. Once the shot is called you toss back your pit lid that has provided your concealment and take aim at one of the geese. This is where it gets trickier however, you only have three shots you have to make them count. You have to avoid spraying like a cowboy in an old western, take your time and get into a good swing with your gun before pulling the trigger, and because of the

Pit Blind
A view from the inside of a pit. They re about 4 feet deep and provide just enough room to conceal 2 hunters and their equipment.

gooses’ down feathers and thick breasts you have to shoot them in their only exposed vital area-the head. Once you have downed a few geese the others will fly away panicking-imagine that right? After retrieving the geese you will check for bands (highly coveted metal rings on a goose’s ankle). They are used for the DNR to track geese, and for experienced hunter to wear upon their lanyard as coveted jewelry. You will repeat this process several times in order to reach your limit for the day (in Minnesota the limit is three geese per person). Once your day is over you will pick up the decoys and return to your truck. After your drive home and a warm shower you will be sitting on the couch just in time for the football game with a sense of fulfillment and one happy dog, lips smacking and the scent of  fresh goose breast coming from his bowl.

 

Hunting Tactics

You may have figured out that these big birds aren’t all that dumb after all. Three things can wreck your hunt pretty quick, bad calling, poor weather conditions, and poor set up. As mentioned earlier the geese are not super territorial about their feeding spots so the best type of call is almost an invitation. You start off mellow and with “clucks and honks”, and if the geese turn away you turn to a call that literally can sound like “come back pleeeease!, come back pleeeease!”. The next thing that will flare a bird is bad setup if a decoy blows over in the wind for example the lead goose will generally let out a call to its followers that danger is present. The most common and most detrimental however is poor weather conditions. In fact the best winter days to us may be very poor days to goose hunt. A sunny, warm, blue sky day, with no wind is the worst possible conditions to hunt geese in. This means the geese generally wont fly until they have to get up and move to keep warm, and with blue skies they can fly as high as they would like with clear visibility. Without the wind they tend to stay grounded because they don’t have that extra push to keep them going in the sky.

Dog and Birds
Clyde poses with his trophies from a day spent in the field. The dogs enjoy the hunt just as much if not more than the hunter somedays.

The best conditions to get geese moving early are, a light snow, with a mellow but constant wind, and about 35 degrees with moderate cloud cover.

 

 

In Conclusion…

Geese are without competition the most  frustrating animals I’ve hunted, and any hunter should be proud to put these big animals on the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

“Harvest Trends.” Pilot Biologist Flight Logs | Flyways.us, flyways.us/regulations-and-harvest/harvest-trends.

“Ohio Geese Control.” Canada Geese Control Services, Get Rid of Geese with Border Collies, Ohio, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Sandusky, Toledo, http://www.ohiogeesecontrol.com/category/geese-molting/.