Friends, salty language and plenty of geese make for fine morning
BY DALE BOWMAN For Sun-Times Media October 22, 2013 7:04PM
Updated: October 22, 2013 10:54PM
The second knot of four Canada geese Mark Kibler and Jeff Norris called in right behind the pit ended up shot down on the bean field. With that, Kibler, Norris and Jason Polowy had their limits.
Talk about feeling naked.
At best, goose hunting from a pit is group therapy with guys on the opposite end of touchy-feely, especially with the owner and guides of Fox Valley Guide Service. I’ve known long enough that they had no qualms about giving me the business.
It only got worse when I muffed an easy double. Graphic suggestions came of what I should do with my Mossberg shotgun. But that Mossberg and fair shooting is part of who I am. The Mossberg was the second thing of value (right after my VW Bug) I bought after high school. It’s not going anywhere.
Duck and Canada goose seasons opened Saturday in the north zone. As usual, I joined Norris for the opener. He wasn’t sure if the fields would be picked this year, so he scheduled no regular customers. But the beans were picked just in time.
Norris dropped me off along the creek bottom to hunt wood ducks for the first half-hour while they put the finishing touches on the pit and set decoys.
Those early minutes of hunting wood ducks make my opening day. This year was a visual spectacle, as a hunter’s moon set brighter than the sun rose.
Two woodcock flushed as I set up. I couldn’t remember if the season was open (it opened Saturday) and held fire. On the other side of the road, other hunters fired so often it sounded like re-enactors doing Gettysburg. Three woodies flew over the creek 75 yards off, out of range, but they made my morning.
Then came time to climb into the pit. Geese came quickly and easily to the calling of Kibler and Norris. Kibler’s Lab, Stone, had plenty to retrieve.
Pit talk came easily and graphically, too. Some was useful and printable in a family paper.
Norris developed a way to make camouflage gauze face masks better. Those masks are generally a pain to wear, so Norris attached the mask to a pair of lens-less plastic black frames. It works wonderfully.
After they limited out, Polowy brought out his new call, a Field Proven Matrix. It got glowing reviews. Norris and Kibler ended up putting their lips to it.
It was time.
Kibler and Polowy, who started as customers and ended up as guides for Norris, walked back to get the truck. After we stashed gear, they sat on the tailgate.
‘‘My most valuable asset is sitting right back there,’’ Norris said.
A handful of geese flew in the distance as we left the field.
William W. Powers State Recreation Area had 53 hunters take two geese, 14 mallards, one blue-winged teal and eight coots on opening day. . . . Heidecke Lake had variety for the opener. Sixty-seven hunters took 11 mallards, four blue-winged teal, three gadwalls, two redheads, two bluebills, two buffleheads, a canvasback, a ringneck, a ruddy, a coot and a black duck.
† Archery deer harvest continues to lag. The harvest was 12,529 through Sunday, compared with 14,207 at this time last year.
The Bears’ sideline begins to share much with the fish-cleaning station at Pastrick after a good day for perch fishing.