Wild Goose Chase

In the sparseness of this waterfowl season, momentous events are more often made than born. The Scotch doubles, downing three ducks with three shots, bands and collars, and all the feats that gave a sense of pride in past years required that our quarry show up to the game in ample numbers. This season they have not. Even the usual time-fillers of slow days’ past – the philosophical discussions, jokes, naps – have lost their luster under the current season’s reign.

With the skies so empty, we’ve looked earthward for our grand hunting moments and amusements. And so this past weekend we took my son Griffin’s girlfriend Jenny with us to Wister.

Dressed in layers of Griff’s old, smaller camo clothes, she braved the 36 degrees, strange noises, and inky blackness of the pond at 4 am without complaint. An example of the whistling wings I’d talked about never came but a couple of the falling stars I’d promised Jenny did cooperate. The sun came up without a morning shoot. I was hoping a duck would swing by so Griff could show off his shooting skills, but the two of them were content just to be together, cold and mud and all.

I was near to giving up on the morning when Griff pointed to a line of tules that sliced into our pond, about 50 yards away. I looked for awhile before I caught a glimpse of white, there one second. gone the next, at a sliver of a gap in the green stalks.

“It’s nothing,” I said, returning my attention to the empty sky. “A heron or something.”

Griff kept his eyes on the spot though whatever it was had disappeared again into the distant tules. “It might be a goose,” he said finally. “I’m going to check it out.”

“If you want to,” I shrugged. “But you’re wasting your time. I really doubt that little bit of white we saw belongs to a goose.”

A half hour later, Griff returned, exhausted and coughing (the remnants of a bad cold), a mature snow dangling from his hand. “I got it,” he said between coughs. Minutes into the stalk he’d seen it was indeed a snow goose, wounded in one wing but with big pink feet in good working order. It swam adjacent ponds and flap-ran down dikes in several directions before Griff was able to catch up enough to finish it off. This goose was hard-earned, more so than geese steel-punched out of the sky. And it would’ve been wasted if not for following up on a hunch.

What did I learn that day? That it’s good to bring new people out to the pond. Things won’t go perfectly.  There’s a chance they won’t like it.  But there’s always a chance, too, that they will.

And that we should go on more wild goose chases.


~ by SpeakingZenaphorically on January 2, 2009.

One Response to “Wild Goose Chase”

  1. Congrats to Griff for following up on what he saw. He worked hard for that goose.

    And, Jenny – I hope you enjoyed the morning. Your smile in the picture says a lot about you. To get out there tells me you are an adventurous person. Good for you!

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