Joy of Hunting
bruce's blog &
Yesterday evening Reacher and I spent the last hour of daylight sitting on our property boundary listening to the clamor of several thousand Canada geese, just a short quarter mile away, grazing on the manure of a cattle pasture. The manure contains minimally digested corn kernels, and trust me, this pulls in the geese big time! It’s right up there with sugar beet trim! On the one hand, this makes me wonder about the ultimate “palatability” of the geese. Yet, in reality, we always work hard to be certain that our freezer(s) contain our bag limit quota at the end of each season. A carefully managed freezer gets us through our paleo requirements over the balance of the year.
The geese didn’t leave their dinner table before sunset last night. So Reacher and I had to content ourselves with the amazing audio impact alone. And it was amazing! There were, literally, thousands of birds clamoring, doing what geese do, in their remarkably communal way. It was noisy, and wild! But no shots.
Other evenings and we typically get three or five shooting opportunities. Birds can fly over with a tail wind and present wonderfully challenging swing through shots. And every now and then a bird tumbles, and my sizable, 48 pound Brittany gets to show off his physical prowess and retrieve a twelve pound bird! Whether it’s his favorite pheasant or sharptail, or a mallard or goose, the pup is beginning to get that he is a working dog. Eighteen months old now, a rambunctious adolescent, but coming along!
We are keeping water open on Fish Fry Lake too. This means that Ringneck ducks and Mallards are likely to seriously contribute to our hunt once solid ice-up actually happens…if ever. This climate change thing is messing with us, here, now, in late December. And as table fare, the Ringneck are awesome, right up there with the best Mallard. Among the divers, the Ringneck is my personal dining favorite! Canvasback come in as a close second! My sense is that the aquatic vegetation available on our lake, Fish Fry Lake, is part of the explanation for their exquisite flavor. It may be the Chara, or the Northern Milfoil, both native forms of aquatic vegetation, but the ducks find it, and very much relish it. No hint of “fish”!
Mixed bag hunting is the ultimate paleo pastime, in my opinion. I think Reacher agrees with me!
Bruce knows and loves the pheasant like no other hunter / landowner, and he writes with humor and expertise about this glorious bird. His stories are full of wisdom and insight and are fun to read! Eventually they will be published - working title "Pheasant Book".