Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: Northern Maine offers top-notch duck, goose huntBy DICK PINNEY October 20. 2018 11:15PM
Living on the shore of Great Bay, where there is probably the largest concentration of waterfowl in the state, you'd think that we'd stay pretty close to home for most of our duck and goose hunting. But you'd be wrong!
I guess it's from the natural urge for someone like me to explore new places. We've got to admit that same-old, same-old can lose its shine. So spending several days each year to hunt ducks and geese in Maine's largest and most remote county, Aroostook, has quite a hold on me as it is so large that hunting the same covers all the time just isn't necessary.
We used to do a lot of scouting for possible field hunts for honkers, but after many years of hunting that area, we still have places that we've ignored and discovered some good hunts.
Not that we spend a lot of time scouting but we do, at the end of most of our morning hunts, take as many new routes back to camp to try to find new opportunities.
One such attempt last year produced the most incredible couple of hours of hunting for Canada geese that we've ever had, which is about 70 years of doing just such.
The set-up that good friend and very capable waterfowler David Landry of Somersworth and the Dickster found produced the most unique and utterly effective hunt both of us experienced!
After our usual early morning hunts, which almost always end before 10 a.m., Dave and the Dickster did a little scouting on our way to join other friends for a late breakfast. We observed flock after flock of Canadas working a huge, freshly harvested potato field. Believe me when I say that geese will eat freshly dug potatoes!
There was a field road, not much more than a two-tracked dirt road that had hundreds of geese feeding on the remains of that field. There was no cover to hide in anywhere near where the birds were working, and installing a blind on that bare dirt field didn't seem like a good idea, seeing that there was little to no cover to conceal the blind.
So after looking over the situation, we observed flock after flock of geese coming into that field with that bare dirt road.
"Hey, let's just hunker-up and stay very still, sitting on the 3-foot high dirt banking" Dave suggested.
My answer was that we had nothing better to do than to try that seemingly very strange way to hide or, really, not to hide from the geese that we knew were probably going to come back to the field after we'd scattered them by driving within a few feet of about 500 of them!
So we scared off the field the remaining geese and decided we'd just sit on the 2- to 3-foot road banking, using camo face painting and relying on our dusty and dirty camo clothes to help.
Never in all the great hunts that we have experienced had we ever been exposed to what we were about to experience!
The dirt field road had one side that was higher than the other, but instead of trying to hide behind the banking, we just decided we'd camo-up our face and hands and guns, and sit right on top of the banking. We knew that we'd have to stay quiet and still as geese approached the three dozen goose decoys we had deployed on both sides of the road and within close shooting range of us.
It wasn't 10 minutes after we had our decoys set up in an interesting and very different pattern. We set about a dozen dekes that would appear as they were about to cross the road from behind us. Five or six dekes right in the road, looking like they were about to join the two dozen dekes set in front of us. We did have one advantage. The little bit of wind was blowing in from behind us so birds wanting to join our flock of fakes would be presenting good shots, hopefully coming right toward us.
We laughed at our set up and both agreed that it was better than going back to camp for our usual after-lunch snooze.
Looking like shakes from a pepper shaker, a small flock of honkers set their wings about 300 yards away and before one of us had called the shot, several had already touched down, some we could almost just grab by the neck, with us just sitting on the dirt banking with no camo at all except our dirty hunting clothes!
We had our limits in about 10 minutes - never taking a sitting goose! Birds that we shot almost right off the ends of our gun barrels! In fact we'd have to flare them off and let them get a few yards off before we called the shots! In the combined 100 years of goose hunting, both Dave and the Dickster had never even come close to this kind of decoying and shooting! Us with no cover at all, except our very dusty and dirty camo clothing!
That plan never worked again. But we're sure-as-heck gonna try it again this fall!
Drop us an email at DoDuckInn@aol.com and get out there and find yourself a dirt banking and a few highly intoxicated geese!
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.