Ever hear the expression: “I went on a wild goose chase?” Well, let me tell you about the recent wild goose chase I went on last weekend.
My good friend from Polson, Jens Gran, and I took of to the northeastern part of the state. It was a trip that was planned about a month ago with Ted Toavs, who has a ranch about 13 miles north of Wolf Point.
When Ted and I were working out the details of the annual hunting trip, we didn’t anticipate one important element – the weather! The forecast at the time for the area was to be in the 30’s for the high and around 20 for the lows.
Once again Mother Nature wielded her strong unpredictable force and turned Northeastern Montana into an iceberg. The cold artic front moved in about Wednesday and dropped just a about an inch of snow which was perfect for the pheasant hunting we had planned.
The pheasant population, which is excellent this year, would sit a little tighter with the snow.
What followed the snow however was below-zero temperatures. The high on Friday reached 11 above but with the wind chill factored in, it seemed like it was about 5 below.
When we awakened Saturday morning to do the statewide Montana Outdoor Radio Show, the digital thermometer showed the temperature at the Toavs Ranch at 15.8 degrees below zero.
After the radio show ended at 8 a.m., Gran and I were scheduled to go on a goose hunt.
Craig Larson, Gene Pronto, and Mike Meyers had headed out to set up goose decoys earlier in the morning and all we had to do was show up. Show up we did at about 9:30 a.m. with enough long underwear, layers of clothing, and instant heat patches to make it through the morning hunt.
It was definitely cold and what made it seem colder is that the geese didn’t start flying until early afternoon. It was a perfect blue bird day with no clouds in the sky and the sun shining.
When the first flock approached our decoy spread, we all shot but only one bird came down. It was apparent to us that we were going to have our work cut out for us with the glaring sun beating down on us.
The wind finally picked up but that still didn’t seemed to help much with our decoying efforts but it didn’t make it harder to keep warm. I think it might have warmed up to a balmy 5 above for the day.
The goose hunt was successful in my mind as we ended up with nine Canada geese. The local guys were disappointed in the number of geese that were shot as the weekend before they had bagged their limit in just two short hours.
There were also thousands of ducks migrating through from Canada and we managed to bag four of those in our daylong hunt. You may view some of frigid hunters, geese and decoy set-up on www.montanaoutdoor.com.
It is the fifth year that we have traveled to northeastern Montana to pheasant hunt but the first time we have experienced a goose hunt. That area of Montana is the home of thousands of geese and ducks at this time of the year and I would highly recommend taking the trip to enjoy the hunting.
If the temperatures for your trip are going to be cold then pack your ice fishing gear because Nelson Reservoir is right on your way and is doing well right now for northern pike and walleye. The area is truly a sportsman’s paradise.