Last Days of 2023-24 Season

MLBob Furia

Well-known member
It's the final week of the Indiana South-Zone goose season here in the Tri-State corner, and an afternoon scouting trip on Monday with 'the Scooter' paid off. We hiked around the edges of a slough that I thought might be holding birds and get action late in the day, and saw lots of geese already loafing there with more coming in off the main stem as it got closer to sunset (legal time). I decided to return Tuesday afternoon, figuring to be set up by 3 p.m., and see if any geese forgot to set their watches.

I had two possible locations in mind, but ended up tying off the TDB in a spot at the edge of a foot-deep patch of "running" water with a fairly hard bottom where vegetation had flooded when the river last came up. When I was settled in, my watch read 3:02.

Wondered if I had screwed up on my choice of location, as from 3/4 of an hour before the end of legal shooting time, geese in pairs & groups of anywhere from 5 - 12 birds began to stream steadily off the main-stem of the River and into this slough. Some circled our location and gave the set a good look, but most headed deeper-in, headed for the second spot I had considered setting up on: a finger with sheltered, deeper water on either side of it. Since it was too late to move; we waited patiently and I decided to forgo a number of in-range passing shots, despite some puzzled looks I got from Scooter.

Finally, with 25 minutes left 'til legal time, a pair broke off from a group of five I was calling to, and came in on a rope - making a picture perfect toll for the spot I'd left open in the decoys. Not anything much prettier than watching geese -or any any waterfowl- lock up and begin the long glide down. Switched from clucks on the call to a few moans and then shut up.

I've never been one avert my eyes and duck my head 'til the last second; if you do that you miss the beauty of a good toll; you miss half the fun of gunning.
In those last few seconds, I had the composure to think to myself: "...just breath deep, take your time, and be deliberate. 'Cause when you flip back the blind top and stand to shoot, these two are going to be hanging in the air right in front of you, backpedaling." Splashed both of them right into the decoys.

Scooter is not a big Lab by any means, and hauling a big goose back in running water is a load for her to carry. In deeper water, she can just grab hold and push a goose in front of her like a barge. So I did get the look that seemed to say: "Now we're in trouble, Boss, you shot down a pair of 747's!" But she handled things beautifully.

By the time we: took some pictures, enjoyed the spectacle of the clouds of geese that took to the air from all over the slough after my shots (including some that buzzed us as I broke everything down), picked up decoys, and got back to the ramp, it was dark... but I have no complaints.

Cleaned geese yesterday.... big 'uns - weighed in at 11 & 12 lbs. respectively. Hard to miss something that large; ;) Think I might call it a season, (my 74 year old back and hip sure are hinting at that today),as it's a good note to end on....however.... the TDB is still in the garage ready to go if the spirit moves me to give it one more go in the few remaining afternoons. 😏

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Sounds like a great way to end things up!

A 12 pound goose is a real big one. I used to shoot quite a few 15 pounders before I started weighing them. :oops:
Great write up and pictures. Nice to see the SxS out getting some work. Sounds like a good way to close out the season for sure.....I love seeing honkers make a big splash.
Great story and recounting of a nice outing Bob. I enjoyed the pictures, particularly of your dog retrieving by the wing of a large goose. I too had a smaller lab, and although I don't do much goose hunting anymore, she did have a few in her career and handled it the same way. What I miss about goose hunting is the toll just as you described.