Friday, November 5, 2021

The Canada Goose—In Canada. (photos of trumpeter swans, grouse I got, and fish we caught)


     When I was in Nestor Falls, Northwest Ontario in October, I stayed about ten days. Besides fishing by myself, I spent some time with Tinker Helseth's son-in-law, Dallas Mosbeck, who like Tinker is a bush pilot and Lake of the Woods hunting and fishing guide. 


Dallas with his Canadian goose

  One morning I got up at 4:30 and went goose hunting with him about an hour north of the Canada border and an hour south of Nestor Falls.

    I have hunted geese for many years in Manitoba crop fields, but that country is a different world altogether. Most of northwest Ontario is heavy forest, but in the south part of that province there are quite a few fields interspersed amongst the expanse of trees and lakes, where permanent pasture and a few cropfields are found.
And with them, lots of geese.

To hunt Canada geese there, Dallas purchased blinds that lie flat on the ground, well camouflaged, with decoys all around them. I figure with those two blinds and likely two- dozen of the most realistic goose decoys I have ever seen, he likely has 500 dollars or so invested in goose hunting.  

realistic decoys

But it was a morning to remember, as every ten minutes or so a flock of 10 to 20 geese came gliding in over us, honking away, sometimes only 15 or 20 feet above us. Let me say right here that those coffin-like blinds are much better for sleeping than they are for shooting out of. I napped a little in the warm summer-like sunshine. 

      I also missed my share of easy shots because the geese can get the heck out of there in a hurry when you fling the lid on that blind open. But the limit is five geese and in three hours and twenty shells, which today cost about a dollar and a quarter apiece, Dallas and I brought down 6 geese that morning and it was a hunt to remember.  

     But he and I saw something amazing that morning when a young mallard flew past and from out of nowhere a peregrine falcon nailed him from above and drove him into the ground. There was high grass there and somehow the falcon lost the duck in the grass. He soared around diving and sweeping over the area, and eventually winged away. An hour later I walked over to see if the duck was dead and could not find him. But suddenly, from underneath a green clump of high pasture grass, the young drake, not even close to having his winter plumage sprang to flight as if he hadn’t been hurt.  

     I’d like to think he will soar over my decoys here on some Ozarks water, in full winter color, and I will have him for dinner, just like that peregrine falcon meant to do. The way I was shooting in Canada he might cost me two or three shells.

     I ate one of those geese last week… grilled breasts cut into small steaks with bacon, green peppers and onions on long wooden skewers… unbelievably good for supper. And let me assure you, if I didn’t like geese for supper I would never raise a gun barrel again to bring one down.

      I will only write one more column about my October trip to Canada, next week, writing about hunting ruffed grouse. But there was so much more from that stretch of time. My great grandfather was a French trapper from Ontario, and my great grandmother a Cree Indian woman. Maybe that’s why it draws me like it does. I love the place, so few people and so few problems. And because I love using a camera, I got some great photos of the wildlife, fish, birds and wild country. I have put many of those photos on my website, A pair of trumpeter swans put on a show for me. Take a look at their antics in my photos.

Trumpeter Swans putting on a fantastic display

Grouse I was hunting
Grouse I was hunting

I ended up getting three

Canadian goggle-eye are big

Dallas shows how big crappie get also
While fishing, a loon decided to join us

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