A Date With Some Late Season Honkers
by Dan Wennerlind
|On a cold winter night in December I received the call. Phil Schmidt of Goose Busters Guide Service was on the line and said he had room for one more, for a late season Canada goose hunt near Hutchinson, Mn later that week. I eagerly accepted Phils invitation as I had been looking forward to trying out Phils premier Canada goose hunting guide service since he signed on with the HuntTheNorth.com organization late last summer. Being an avid goose hunter I was also excited to try the Hutchinson area as I had always heard good things about it but never had a chance to hunt there. |
As I arrived at the gas station in Hutchinson to meet the guys around 8:00 am one cold December Friday morning I thought to myself this is going to be an awesome day for goose hunting. Even though the high was only expected to be in the teens and there was a stiff northwest breeze. Phil and the boys were already setting up when we arrived in the field. Just as we set up the last decoy the first flock of geese made their appearance on the horizon. We made a hasty retreat with the trucks to the fence row just in time to see Phils boys drop 3 birds out of the first flock. The birds did not hesitate to decoy right in even with the trucks just a couple hundred yards away pulling out of the field. Now thats a good sign!
Phil and I made a sprint for the decs as the birds started to file in towards the spread from off in the distance. As we got set in our layout blinds, which were fully equipped with custom snow covers overlooking a spread of 140 custom painted and flocked full body Canada goose decoys the game was on. It is very exciting to have a flock of monster Canada geese decoy right in your lap and even better on a late season hunt when the birds are usually very decoy and call shy
.but not today. As several flocks dropped in at under 20 yards with their paddles down, we were able to take multiple birds out of flock after flock. Then it slowed down just long enough so that we could reload and pick up the downed birds. It was also refreshing to hunt with a guide who allowed you to bring your trained retriever afield. My young chessy Jada was able to make some very memorable long distance retrieves which is really what it is all about in my book.
|It wasnt long before the action picked up again. We had several singles join us and it was also enjoyable to have the guide pick one hunter to shoot each bird instead of a barrage of shotgun blasts on a community bird. Phil really knows what it takes to make his hunts enjoyable for all. We finally had to stop and take a count of birds after we dropped 5 out of the next big flock that also decoyed in under 15 yards. We had 22 honkers down in under an hour. The use of competent flagging and calling from experienced guides really does make the difference, especially in the late season. As we dropped another pair of birds out of one last susceptible flock, we were left one goose shy. Phils cousin Mike was able to complete our day with one last single that filled our bag limit of 25 birds and wouldnt you know it, it was banded. A perfect end to a perfect hunt!|
As we picked up the spread we headed back to town to warm up and have a nice breakfast and relive the hunt. Over breakfast I also had a chance to learn a little more about Phils operation. The main reason for our success that day was because we had several hundred birds sitting with in a couple hundred yards of our set up the day before. Phil makes sure that all of his hunters enjoy fresh fields that are sure to produce. Phil also offers an option that many outfitters do not. He does not mix groups of hunters together and is able to accommodate small groups on their own private hunt. Phil employs 5 experienced guides during the regular waterfowl season including experienced guide and expert caller Jeff Zierden, and all are expected to scout each week to make sure there are plenty of fresh options for the next hunt. I would have to say that anyone looking for a quality, personable hunt with an experienced, knowledgeable and economical outfitter in the west metro area will be pleasantly surprised. The service and quality of the hunt offered by Phil Schmidt and the boys at Goose Busters Guide Service is second to none.
For additional articles please review:
"Magnumitis" by Mike Moen
"Decoying Canada Geese" by B.C. Maxima
"The Perfect Rifle" by Mike Moen
"Planning For Next Season" by Mike Moen
"Pheasant Hunting 101" by B.C. Maxima
"Hunting Canadas Over Water" by B.C. Maxima
"A Guide Tipping Guide" by Mike Moen
"Tips For Taking Tom Turkey" by Jim Bennett
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