Well, my Saturday opener was marked by "coulda had, shoulda had, woulda had, but ,hey, I was happy to scull on one goose in the East Bay and put him in the boat. It has been twelve years since I sculled. Last year I touted it as a fun endeavor, something different. It doesn't compare to field shooting or a private pond. Because I have limited use of my right shoulder, I put out six floating honker decoys about 100 yards from the shore. I backed off another hundred yards. By nine flocks of half a dozen to twenty were dropping on the lake, but not really coming into my decoys. I made three sculls and put up each flock so far in the distance I couldn't see markings. Damn, not only was this bringing me pain in both shoulders, but I was getting really discouraged. Finally, some mallards dropped into that invasive weed. I marked them and headed into shore. It took me forever! When I hit the weeds, I couldn't believe how noisy it was hitting them with the nose of the boat. Up went the mallards way out of distance, except a pair that got up ten yards behind me.
When I finally got out of that mess, I looked out at my dekes and counted an extra one. I sculled out to my dekes, and took a honker at 15 yards. I was relieved. It was my first sculling day in a boat that I built two years ago. I made the mistake of anchoring way too far out. I had small groups drop into my set, but they would be far out of range by the time I got there. I closed my anchoring distance to fifty yards. Another single dropped in and I sculled on it. I sat up at 25 yards. It didn't jump so I pumped three rounds into it. It rolled over, a wing came up and I thought I had taken my second goose. While I was re-loading it started swimming out into the lake. I pulled out my kayak paddle and took chase. The goose picked up off the water and flew higher and higher until it was out of site. I had made the mistake of anchoring my scull boat parallel to the decoys rather than directly out. This way I could have pushed the goose towards the shore. I had forgotten and felt bad.
Well, I wrote a lot for just one goose, but I was pleased. I met an old hunter in his late 70's who got three geese in one of the goose pits in the Ninepipe area. He said years ago you had to wait in line. Saturday he just walked out and took one. Sunday I tried sculling on geese on Kicking Horse, but I came to a stop when I hit the weeds. It was great to be out!