OUTFITTER REVIEW ON:
|First Flight Finishers|
Part 1:THE HUNT
Hunting Early Season Honkers With A Goose Hunting Fanatic!
By Dan Wennerlind
Adam Johnson is a true goose hunting fanatic. Adam started First Flight Finishers guide service over 6 years ago in an attempt to share with as many hunters as he can, the experience of true decoying waterfowl. Earlier this summer Adam made the offer to share one of his early season Canada goose hunts together and I could not pass it up. With over 30 fields and 5 golf courses at his disposal I knew I was going to have a great hunt with Adam.
|When the September season finally rolled around Avery Pro Staffer Adam Johnson even made the deal sweeter by offering to have me join him on a two hunts, so that I could experience the full gammmot of what he had to offer including the first hunt in a traditional field and the a second hunt as a non-traditional golf course style hunt. |
Adam called me the week prior to our first hunt and said that he had a HOT field in southern Minnesota near Mankato that was full of geese. He had been saving that field for us all week and I could tell even over the phone that Adam was grinning from ear to ear. Since I was coming from western Wisconsin and Adam was coming from White Bear Lake, Mn he made plans for us to meet and stay over night at Mystic Lake Casino for a fun filled evening of sharing some of our hard earned money with the reservation. But the main reason was that we were only 45 minutes from his field instead of 2 ½ hours. I made my contribution to the casino that evening and before we hit the sac for the night we were able to share many stories of past hunts. I also had a chance to get to know Adam’s brother and co-head guide Matt Johnson who I found is quite the goose caller in his own right.
Well the alarm clock woke us up at 4:00 am sharp. But I think Adam was already in the parking lot pulling the truck around before I even set foot out of my bed. We packed up our gear and we were off. It didn’t take long before we were at the field and setting up the spread. Being an Official Avery Outfitter, Adam hunts over quality spread of Greenhead Gear full body Canada goose decoys. Later in the year he will put out up to 300 full decoys but today we only needed 4 dozen. As we were setting up we could already hear the honkers waking up in the roost about a mile upwind of the cut cornfield we were hunting. Adam and Matt were very precise in the way they set out the spread. They like to set the spread up in small groups of 8 – 10 decoys while leaving several large landing holes in between for the incoming birds. I hadn’t loaded the gun and got set for 2 minutes before we had a single honker come of the pond and circle right in. Being the only one loaded up the pressure was on and I gave it my all. The lucky honker flew away unscathed. But no worries we would have plenty more opportunities.
|I shared with Adam that I get a chance to hunt a lot during the fall and piling up numbers of birds was not my goal. For me having the experience of landing geese in the spread and birds in your face was what gets me going. We only had to wait another 20 minutes before we had a pair honkers try and light in the field about 200 yards away.|
Just as they were about to land we picked up the cadence and pulled the birds right in. They sideswiped us just a bit and landed right in the spread behind us. What a sight. They made it in safe and sound and we also let those go unscathed. But wait we had another flock of 7 birds working the spread. They too made a couple nice passes about 25 yard high but did not give us the perfect shot and as we had discussed prior to the hunt, we let them go without a shot, which was fine with me. Don’t get me wrong I like pulling the trigger as much as anybody but for me the real thrill is watching the birds work the spread.
We now had a chance to see the many flocks of geese slowly getting off the roost pond and most were heading to a field a section south of us. At 10:30 am Adam decided to set up a second spread on the shoreline of a loafing pond so that we would get a chance to get the birds returning from the field. We had one more flock work the spread that morning while Adam was getting our next hunt ready. Matt and I were able to call a flock of 20 birds down from the heavens. As they worked the spread I felt that feeling that had been gone for the last 9 months. What a thrill to be able to pull down a flock into the spread from just little specks in the sky.
Well Adam pulled up the truck and we were off to the next hunt. Adam commanded- Leave the spread, we’ll pick it up later, the birds area starting to come back and we need to go! It wasn’t 10 minutes later and were we set up on a nice shoreline in a comfortable permanent blind that Adam uses during the regular fall duck season. This time our spread consisted of about 2 dozen full bodies on a pasture shoreline where Adam said there were over 300 geese living all summer long. This was not however a situation where we were shooting up the roost. The birds we were hunting had been sitting on a major lake just north of us about a mile. This was however a mid morning loafing pond the birds had been using after the morning feed. Right off the bat we had a single honker sail into the spread from 200 yards out and he came in on a line. I was more than happy to oblige him with a round of 3 inch BB’s. Since we did not have the services of Adam’s trusty retriever this morning, we had the next best thing- Adam! And boy did he make a fine retrieve. That is what I call dedication; Adam did not hesitate to wade out to his waist to pick up my bird for me. But wait we had another flock coming back from the field. This time it was a 4 pack. As they circled twice it was clear that they weren’t going to land. They made one more pass on Adams’s side about 30 yards high and he pulled on the leader and dropped it cold! As the afternoon progressed we had flock after flock fly over but they were all flying well over 300 yards high. We did our best and were able to call another 3 flocks down from the heavens. It felt more like spring snow goose hunting that early goose season. Finally we had a 5 pack sail in and Matt took first crack at this flock. He folded the lead bird on the first shot.
|I couldn’t thank Adam enough for all of his hard work. I definitely realized all of the little things that sometimes go unnoticed, that are all went into making this hunt such a success. |
Although our shooting could have been better and we did elect to pass on several opportunities that Adam would normally have called the shot on, it was clear that Adam knows how to land Canada geese. It was also clear that Adam is not just in it to make a buck, but to share a quality hunting experience with his customers. Spending a morning with Adam and his brother Matt was like hunting with a couple of old friends. I was already looking forward to our next hunt at the golf course next weekend.
As I pulled up to the 12th hole at one of Adam’s 5 metro area golf courses at 6:00 am I was pleasantly surprised to find out that today I was going to have the opportunity to share the hunt with 3 of Adam’s full time guides. The first was Adam’s head guide and brother Matt Johnson who I was able to hunt with during the first hunt. The other two guides were Tim Neuenfeldt and Colin Johnson. Also well educated waterfowl hunters I would soon find out. The setting for today’s hunt was; we were set up on the 12 fairway overlooking 31 full body Avery Canada goose decoys, set up in groups of 5 – 7 decoys. We set up our layout blinds in the left ruff along a short fence row. Adam said he normally only uses 4 – 14 decoys when hunting the golf course but he wanted to try something a little different today and added about 20 more decs to the spread. Adam also stated that last year they took 87 birds off of this course and they were on track to beat that goal this year as he had already taken 40 birds this early season alone. He then explained that after they close the course for the year and the northern mallards come down they really pile up the ducks on the golf courses around the metro area. But back to business as we had to take as many geese as we could before the golfers made it around the back nine and hit the 11th tee, at which point we would need to pack things up. That normally takes until around 9:30 am this time of year Adam said, which gave us plenty of time for a quality 3 ½ hour hunt.
As we joked around a bit and got acquainted with one another Matt yelled out “Here comes a pair” and he wasn’t kidding. Everybody got set in their blinds as a pair of mature honkers made a short circle and with a little coaxing from Matt’s call and Adam’s flag, dropped right in. Three shots later and our first 2 birds of the day lay belly up on the fairway. My girl Jada made short work of them as she got to make her first official retrieves of the year. There were high fives all the way around as the excitement grew. You could not have asked for these birds to decoy any nicer that that.
It wasn’t another 20 minutes later than geese started moving everywhere. Most were heading to a recently cut sweet corn field about 2 miles south of us, well inside city limits where they knew they would be safe. As we tried our best to call them over Adam explained that even though most hunters think that golf course geese are stupid, they actually get hunted harder than many of the area “wild” birds. He said almost every golf course in the area now allows hunting at some point in the season and the geese do know the difference between a hunter and a golfer that is for sure.
It didn’t take long before we had another big flock of about 35 birds coming right in. They were on a line from the south east and couldn’t be more than 25 yards high. Matt and I clucked and moaned on our calls while Adam flagged them in. They made a half circle and dropped in our laps. Bangedy Bang Bang rang out our barrage and 6 birds folded from the sky! What a show, everybody was excited and laughing as two of the birds dropped with in two feet Tim’s blind. That right there was worth the price of admission as they say.
|We had another 4 pack of honkers circle the spread 7 – 8 times about 15 minutes later but they would not commit even with all of our efforts. They were most likely orphans of the original incident. As the morning hunt winded down we had a quick visit from the golf cart refreshment girls and even had the opportunity for a quick snack break delivered right to our blinds, what more could a guy as for.|
Then Adam said that the first group of golfers would be coming around the corner in a few minutes and we should wrap things up. As we wrapped a most memorable hunt together spirits were high and my first ever golf course hunt was a huge success!
Two weeks in a row Adam and his brother Matt were able to deliver a First Class Hunting Experience. Either of which any avid waterfowl hunter would call a success! I told Adam that I would be proud to endorse his outfitting business with our service at HuntTheNorth.com and looked forward to reffering his service to many waterfowl hunters. For a most memorable waterfowl hunting experience in the Twin City Metro Area, be sure to contact Adam Johnson of First Flight Finishers at 651-442-7259!
Part 2: THE REVIEW
|OUTFITTER KNOWLEDGE / PERSONALITY: ||Score||5 / 5 |
Adam Johnson and his brother Matt did an excellent job during both hunts of making sure that we were put in a fresh field where the birds wanted to be. They showed the experience that comes by many years of hunting in their decoy placement and calling abilities. Adam is very detail orientated and made sure every aspect of the hunt was taken care of from start to finish and was a pleasure to spend time in the field with.
|QUALITY OF |
|Score||5 / 5 |
Adam uses the highest quality full body Canada goose decoys as well as very comfortable lay out blinds. Adam has over 350 decoys at his disposal and it was evident that he puts great emphasis on making sure everything aspect of his hunts are professionally conducted.
5 / 5
On back to back hunts Adam was able to put multiple flocks of geese well within gun range and in the decoys. We were successful on both hunts and everyone that participated had multiple shooting opportunities and were able to harvest at least one goose on each hunt.
|QUALITY OF MEALS |
|Score||3 / 5 |
Although meals and lodging are not included in your daily rate, Adam is able to recommend numerous restaurant options in the Twin City area. He is also able to make recommendations for area motels with various pricing options for those coming in from out of town.
HUNT PACKAGES AND
|Score||5 / 5 |
|Adam's daily fall waterfowl hunts are $125.00 per day, per gun and Adam charges $150.00 per day, per gun for his spring snow goose hunts. Besides gratuity there were no hidden costs associated with the hunt. Adam's pricing is very reasonable especially considering the effort that he puts into each hunt. |
|OVERALL QUALITY |
OF THE TRIP:
|Score||5 / 5 |
Not only did Adam and his bother Matt put multiple flocks of geese in range on both hunts but they worked hard to make sure the overall hunt was a complete success from start to finish and were very fun to spend time in the field with!
Overall First Flight Finishers Scored 28 Out Of 30 Giving Them An "A" Rating. We Would Not Hesitate To Refer Them For Their Excellent Guided Waterfowl Hunts!
28 / 30
Part 3: Booking Information
Contact Information For First Flight Finishers
Email Address: email@example.com
Outfitter Adam Johnson
Address: 4824 Sharon Lane White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Website Address: firstflightfinishers.com
Additional Hunts Offered:
First Flight Finishers also offers Spring Snow Goose Hunts in Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota during the spring snow goose conservations season. Please contact Adam for more details on these fantastic waterfowl hunting opportunities!
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