My now longtime DHC hunting companion Infantry86 contacted me a week or so ago to inform me that he was coming home for a short visit from VA this weekend, so of course I said "Let's go Hunting!" He is a young man serving our country whom I met online here a few years back and we've become good friends. He has not done any goose hunting so todays trip was a new adventure. And what an adventure!
Down here near Atlantic City there are a few thousand snows and we launched in very icy (and snowy) conditions. I had told Mike to meet me at the ramp at 6:30 so we could assess the conditions in the early daylight instead of finding unknown surprises in the dark. There was another group that had launched ahead of us when I left to grab the boat and decoys. When we came back to the ramp that group was back, had their boat on their trailer and was draining alotof water out of the boat. Seems that when they were backing out of the ramp the ice "popped" the drain plug and filled the boat up. I bring this up not to embaress anyone but to point out how quickly things can go wrong in these conditions.
We talked to one another, exchanged phone numbers and promised to watch out for one another, and after their boat drained out the launched and took off and we followed. The ride out was adventurous, we broke thru ice packs of various thickness and size, made it out to the intercoastal and searched for the snows. Usually it is rather easy to spot them but last nights snowfall made it difficult, not to mention the fact that we didn't find them! PLAN B went into effect. Pick a spot, any spot.
We laid out there until 11 I think before we spotted a flock about a mile north of us. They crossed the bay and were actually heading toward us! They passed in front of us and of course came back locked up from the worst possible angle, from behind over our right shoulder. The main group of about 8-10 was gliding down maybe 40 yds out when 4 stragglers who were just a little closer to us came over us and flared at 30 yds , sending all the birds away. They were not quite in front of us at tghat point so we didn't get a very good shot, we were laying out and couldn't even sit up because they were still to our right...
I managed 3 off balance shots and Mike threw two more up with the same results - no birds!
An hour later we hear some snows and watched wave after wave of snows fly SE with the wind at their backs 50 yds overhead, just out of range. We waited forever for some to come back our way, and it wasn't until Mike got up to walk around and warm his toes when it happened. After 5 minutes of being alone I decided to get up and warm up too. As soon as I rolled out of my sled I heard them yelping from 40 yds away... now I don't know if they were coming but they were RIGHT THERE!!!! ARRRGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!! WHY does it always happen like that. The same reason 50 huge Canadians flew rite over us out of season I guess.... don't cha luv it!!
Well, that was about it other than having to push the boat 10 yds to the water when leaving and the excellent show of the continuous stream of never ending flight of ducks, brant and geese all day long. It was awesome!!! WISH DUCK SEASON WAS STILL OPEN
JD - We ran up past Shad Island before the ice got to thick, looked like GB was a wasteland just like you said. Ice was clogging most of the smaller channels and Bays but with the sun out there was considerable melting. I'll be in touch. Lets get together with Papa...sorry no pics, forgot the cam this morning, left it behind in the truck.