• Dale Bowman

Lesson in goose behavior: Ramble with the Lady

This morning was a lesson for anybody who has ever hunted geese.

The west-southwest winds wafted the honking of geese on the lake to the west as Lady and I rambled past the ball field on the edge of town.

Geese were the story this morning as the family mutt and I stretched out an extended two-mile ramble. With this gray weather, I need the exercise for my head as much as my body.

As we came off the extended portion, I heard, then saw, the lone goose that has been hanging around the town pond for the past week or so. The other day I figured out why. It was winged and has a bad right wing.

In a regular winter where both old clay pits are iced up, the goose would have already been food for coyotes. But neither pit even has shell ice on it (some of the puddles did have shell ice) and it looks like open water well into January.

With the open water, the winged goose can always jump in the water and have an edge on any hunting coyote.

This morning an interesting chance to watch how geese work set up.

As we came to the north pit, I saw 20 geese (right) on the southwest corner. They did not honk at all.

But the lone winged goose, waddling toward the water's edge, kept honking.

That got interesting when five geese came in low from the ponds and lake to the south of town. When they saw Lady and me, they went into barrel rolls. But the winged goose kept honking and they swung back, then cupped and landed on the east side of the north pit.

What I found interesting and might be worth noting for goose hunters is that the 20 geese on the west side of the north pit did not honk at all, I mean they were completely silent, while all this was going on.

Minimal may be the secret for late geese.

Then 16 more came and immediately cupped and landed in the middle of the north pit between the two earlier groups as Lady and I walked the east side of the south pit. They did not hesitate at all.

Then nine more came. That group was more wary. In fact, they pulled up and headed out to the field to the north. But I think the three spreads of geese on the north pit pulled them back. When they came back, they did not hesitate and landed in the middle.

And my lesson for the day was done.

The dryers were going hard at the grain elevators back on the edge of town.

As we climbed the front steps, four more geese flew low over the town, headed toward the town pond.

Geese are the water are like magnets.

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