My First August Goose Hunt

December 17, 2008 by  

By PJ “pj” Maguire
A loner coming down the pike on a string

A loner coming down the pike on a string

When I first sat down to write this article I wanted to title it, “One Wedding and a Goose Hunt” because one of my best friends was getting married on August 16th. I was the first to inform him that the North Dakota Game and Fish had the opportunity to open the Early Goose Season just a day before the wedding. I chose to change the title because I feel it is important to highlight that the hunt took place in August.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act states that per Federal regulation, no migratory bird-hunting season could open before September 1st. Unless the Feds approve a Conservation Order or CO, because of an over-population of a specific species of migratory bird. The Conservation Order allows migratory birds to be hunted as a way to control their numbers.

North Dakota has had a special spring season for snow geese for some time that is allowed because of a CO issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. North Dakota has also allowed a special September Canada goose season for several years. But in 2008 North Dakota had the unique opportunity to be the first state to open a Canada goose season in August. The state opened the season on August 15th, 2008 and was allowed to do so because of a Conservation Order placed on the Greater Canada geese.

As a youth I hunted in the first ever September Canada goose season held in the Minnesota Metro goose zone. That’s not bragging it’s simply the truth. With my buddy and I already having to be in Fargo on Aug 16th for his wedding, we weren’t going to miss the opportunity to participate in an August goose hunt. Scratch another month off the calendar as having hunted waterfowl in it, so to speak.

So August 15th, 2008 I was lying in a stubble field in North Dakota comfortable in my S.U.B layout blind. As the sun broke the horizon I let out a honk on my Foiles Showtime goose call. I could hear Canada geese honking on a roost in the distance.

“This is something we are going to tell our kids about.” Whispered my buddy in a blind next to me. I nodded my head in reply as the first flock began to lift. Truly, it was show time.

A loner coming down the pike on a string

A loner coming down the pike on a string

It took my buddy, his uncle and I longer to clean the fifteen geese we harvested that morning then it did to hunt them. We shot into four large flocks of geese and one single. All of which were feet down and committed to our small spread for four-dozen decoys.
Before the hunt I was afraid that the geese would short stop the decoys or land in other parts of the field. When we scouted the field the previous evening the birds were spread throughout in the stubble. However this was not the case. It took little coaxing to bring the birds well with in shooting range.

The bugs were not as bad as I thought they were going to be as well. Plus there were plenty of harvested fields in the area we hunted. The first year I hunted hard during the Early Canada goose season in North Dakota, 2002. The mosquitoes were so bad you could hardly sit in the decoys before shooting time. I considered all of these factors when I first heard of the possible opportunity to hunt Canada geese in August.

We made it back to Fargo with plenty of time to pickup our tuxes from the mall but I wasn’t able to take a nap before the wedding rehearsal. The Groom’s dinner was great with lots of wild game provided and prepared by my buddy’s father. One close friend had wild game for the first time and really enjoyed it. By the time the sun set that evening I had received several replies to a picture text message I sent some friends working booths at the Game Fair.
Saturday morning was gorgeous. We did not hunt, the weather was great and the wedding went off without a hitch. I was glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of a spectacular wedding and enjoy an early goose hunt with friends. Truly I am a fan of August goose hunting.

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One Comment on "My First August Goose Hunt"

  1. Bill Hope on Mon, 11th Nov 2013 12:54 pm 

    I need to find a good place where my two Labs and I can hunt roosters and possibly waterfowl in the fall of 2014. I live in Billings, Montana and will probably drive there and be coming alone. I don’t mind hunting alone and doing it myself but I will definitely consider a hunt with more amenities. Most of all, I want a spot with birds. Period. Please advise and send me costs so I can start a year ahead of time and saving my sheckles. Thanks and God bless.
    Bill Hope

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