Once in awhile....like in 2009.......there are just way too many!
Nov 24 cloudy and cool for Thanksgiving.....scouted for geese and they are comfortable (not moving)...northern geese either....slow time....but no freeze-up for at least a couple of weeks
Nov 30 cold and windy = day off from training..........scouted for geese (hunt in the morning)
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Thorson Pond Goose Hunt
Oct 25 set up goose hunt early on a chance a few mallards would show up at dawn, nothing showed interest in the pond and soon noticed the edges had been mowed. The geese were spooked off by this once before....bad timing. However, Ponce spent four hours doing nothing but staying in the hide.....coping with boredom is a skill.
note: again a young dog can learn a lot by "doing nothing"
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Dec 2 cold, windy and damp - no training today......did scout for geese......twice
note: The "freeze-up" with ice is near.......and bringing in northern geese.
Dec 3 setup by 7:15 am...slight northwest wind, same "look" as the Dec 1st hunt....at 8:15 am about ten geese set their wings right in front of the blind. One shot produced a "Scotch Double". Pounce was all over these and definitely is "hooked" on geese. Two quick retrieves and a rapid loading of decoys/gear had us "Out of Dodge" on the short drive home. A hot shower was the finishing touch to another excellent adventure of goose hunting on Thorson Pond.
note: again Pounce had one "good grip" and another "not so pretty" (see photos)
So far preventing "goose education" is working well as the geese continued
to "show up" in smaller groups.
Oct 17 day off - Scouted for geese...none where they were Friday. It appears that mowing around the pond must have "spooked them off" their routine....because they are back today.
note: Decided to begin work on Pounce's upland experience (which is zero
right now and backwards from what was done with all my Labs before).
She does know what a "walk-up" means, but that is a mark......What is
new is the concept of being "dechased" (meaning not running after a
bird flying away).....Therefore, a few (or more) flushes will be shot at ,
"intentionally" missed and "chases" allowed.....with no corrections
other than realizing the futility of chasing.....The standard is whistle,
verbal sit, gunshot and/or bird in the air all mean the same thing....."sit"
note: drove to game farm in Wisconsin to check on upland hunting intro
note: went to the Thorson Pond near dusk and built a shore blind (good breeze
made for no mosquitoes......and it is shirt sleeve weather
Oct 18 at the blind just before sunrise....warm enough to wear a long sleeve shirt and setup quickly.....took a few photos to pass the time. About an hour later a large group of geese (40-50) "swooped" in without much caution and landed in the pond......screwed...too many to educate......flushed them off.......about an hour later a small group (eight) landed up in the bean field and began to "graze" while a large flock of turkeys moved in from the east to get some water..........no geese this morning.....but the photography was fun. Finally decided to "pack it in"....but before leaving, Pounce ran two blinds south across the pond.
note: then the Cubs got beat......again......all around, not nearly a perfect day
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Then suddenly we were finished......a few days with the flu plus "iced out", cold and deep snow.
note: this year was beans...with cold & snow there will be no winter feeding geese
note: Corn years are almost always better.
Mission accomplished.......Pounce is now "goosed".
Oct 29 scouted for geese......just not moving.....too warm & plenty of lush grass
Nov 7 weather this week will be outstanding for training.....Monday, Tuesday and Thursday,
Friday will be sunny, in the 60's every day with some rain on Wednesday.....Trained later in the afternoon at the Stoughton Field Trial Grounds using the southwest technical pond. While setting up, Kooyl and Daisy (the old dogs) took turns "helping". They needed to get out and exercise. Setup four singles and a blind using stickmen, three Gunners Up Wingers, a Zinger "Uplander", mallards for the marks and an orange bumper for the blind
note: Forgot about the fact we had just "lost" an hour of daylight. Finished with
quite a bit of time to spare and home before dark. No bugs!
note: Pounce continues to thrive as the challenges increase.
note: The warm weather of this November is a fortunate bonus! Never thought I
would say training can be more fun than duck(goose) hunting...until recently
Nov 22 Pounce went on an early morning goose hunt with a goal of "bagging" her first Illinois limit. Yesterday's scouting revealed that geese were on the pond in the Thorson Pond DTA. In the last, first hunt a few weeks ago, they seemed to be wary of landing on the east end of the pond......where the blind must be placed. Mulling this over some, the decision to place several decoys "on and in" the east end near where geese were feeding in the bean field yesterday.
note: these were placed as if they were on the way to an eating "good spot"
After being somewhat spoiled by the warm days of this November, the morning was cold. In addition, waiting for three hours made it seem even colder. Suddenly, calling from five big geese announced their arrival. They swooped right in to splash down about 70 yards away. This tactic was anticipated because the far end is kind of a safe zone. Very quickly, they began calling to my decoy "temptations" while they cautiously paddled toward them. This was an exciting and anxious interlude. When they finally reached the big Dakota floaters, their necks suddenly got "longer" with a body language ozzing, "Ahhhh.....Oh"! I stepped out from behind the blind. They jumped and two were dropped beyond the floating Dakota decoys. The farther, second one needed a "finisher". Pounce's newest milestone was nearly "in the bag".
Pounce came out of her hide ready for action. It should be noted she weighs almost fifty pounds and the two geese were big (later registered 11 and 12 pounds). After lugging in the far goose, she was sent for the near one. When surging forward, the goose suddenly rolled upright and started flapping both wings as Pounce slid underneath. The shackled, diving hen mallard "intro" from a few days before hardly prepared her for what was probably not going to be so simple. In all accounts, this "situation" was not going to be very "pretty" if I did not do something very quickly. Pounce did not object to my calling her back. In fact, I think she thought it was a very good idea. Ha! The goose was quickly dispatched and retrieved.
The next thing to do (as quickly as possible) was to pickup the decoys (24) and "Get out of Dodge" before educating any late arrivals. Mission accomplished. In addition, a milestone was recorded. Pounce's very first Illinois limit.....on a day to remember.
Oct 23 scouted early for geese, at least a hundred on the X and need to think about how to deal with that many.....go earlier tomorrow to "pattern at a distance", see if they come in smaller family groups (early)....moved to the grassy area farther south (out of sight from the pond)
Thorson Pond - retriever training & goose hunts
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Dec 1 Thursday (scouted for geese yesterday)....be setup by no later than 7:15 am....dress warm
note: ready for geese by 7:30 am with setup similar to the November 22 hunt (six
The first small flock of eight flew straight in from the east (west wind) and were in a glide path when one was dropped (half way to Pounce's 2nd Illinois limit). Twenty minutes later about a dozen came in the exact same way......noisy, too. One did not leave and we were finished. Scurried to pick up and home by 8:35 am. Pounce now has her second "Illinois Limit". She is totally into the hunting routine, but still not very consistent at getting a "solid, balanced goose grip" for land coming out of water (one excellent and the other "awkward").
note: Before the last hunt (Nov. 22), it had been a year since wearing the neoprene
vest and she was very "squirrely". This morning she "struck a whoa pose"
and never moved. "Easy!"