The First Goose


I don’t remember the exact date, but it was fairly early in the 2014 Michigan waterfowl season. It was later October I believe, and Sam and I had plans to meet up with his buddy A.P. to hunt Rose Lake. It was a relatively mild Michigan morning. The temperature was in the 40’s with little to no wind and no fog. It was the most ideal of waterfowl hunting conditions.

We met up with A.P. at a gas station on the way to Rose Lake so we could stock up on coffee and beef jerky for the days festivities. Once we got situated at the gas station we set off for our final destination: Rose Lake to bust some ducks! We pulled up to the boat launch and began to unhook straps and guide the boat down to the launch. Once in the water we began to load up. Decoys after decoys were thrown into the boat, beef jerky, water bottles, shells, shotguns etc. It was unbelievable that the boat was still afloat with all of our gear. With one big push off the launch we were off on our next waterfowl hunt.

Now Rose Lake is not some nice destination for swimming, boating or a casual family get together on the lake. This is a swampy, smelly full of weeds and reeds area where the ducks and geese love to call home. Its areas like these that get every duck hunter all willy-nilly with excitement.  The reeds and cattails were so thick it took us a good 10 minutes to navigate through a narrow slough out of the boat launch. Once out in to the open water Sam opened the throttle and we were finally making headway to the ‘spot.’

The idea was to drive the 14’ flat bottom jon boat right up onto the cattails and reeds. This would offer us the best cover, as well as giving the boat more support to be hunted out of. A.P. and I jumped out of the boat onto the cattails while Sam circled the boat back around. Once Sam completed his circled he pinned the gas and jumped the boat up onto the cattails. It wasn’t even 6am yet and we were already waist deep in muck and jumping boats. I knew this hunt was going to be one for the books, but I never thought it would be one for my record books.

Once we had our location set up: decoys thrown out, blind set-up, guns loaded etc., shoot-time brought us some early excitement. Although we had mallard and wood ducks flying all morning, coots seemed to be the dominant species that we were busting up that day. As the hunt continued and the sun peaked out over the tops of the trees things began to quiet down, or so we thought.

All of a sudden behind us, a group of 4 Canadian Geese appear over the tree line. A.P. immediately grabbed his goose call and began to work the small flock. Sam quickly followed after. Now the joy of being a terrible goose caller, like myself, is you get to let your buddies do all the work for you! As A.P. and Sam were honking, clucking and honking some more they got one honker to break off from the rest of the group. Distracted by A.P and Sam’s tournament grade calling, I had lost the lone goose for a moment. Then, in the blink of an eye, the goose appeared in front of the three of us. It had flown so low over the reeds the three of us had lost eye contact with the bird. I immediately pulled up my shotgun and upon shouldering it, the goose was so close I almost touched it with the end of my barrel. BOOM! The Black Cloud came ripping out of the end of my barrel. I’m pretty sure Sam and A.P. got a couple shots off but my heart was racing so fast I wasn’t even paying attention to them anymore.

The goose soared off to our left, and I was left wondering if I had hit it? Was the #2 shot I was hunting with even going to do anything to this honker? Then we saw the goose make is final flap and fall into Rose Lake. This was my first goose as a waterfowl hunter. All season long Sam had told me what it was like to harvest such a massive bird. I wanted it so bad and it had finally come! Not to mention it was witnessed by two great friends and hunters, Sam and A.P. Without their calling and waterfowl expertise, I’d still be chasing my first honker!


  1. Sound like everyone had a great time. Congrats on your first! I enjoy reading your articles, Keep them coming.

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