Put ‘Em To Bed

Put ‘Em To Bed

“Field hunting is a great way to bag geese, but you must do some serious scouting.”

Hunting for geese on a harvested grain field is a great way to bag a limit of birds. It’s a lot less work than hunting on water. You don’t need a boat, a PFD, paddles or waders, and retrieving dead birds is far easier, whether you have a dog or not. Your dog can simply run out and make the retrieve, or you can just walk over and pick ‘em up. Crippled birds can’t swim off or dive on you…

When hunting a field, you can often drive your truck right out to where you’ll be hunting. You can transport a ton of decoys this way, far more than you could carry in a small boat. And, having your truck out there means you can crank the tunes on your truck stereo while you’re settin’ up your spread. Listening to Johnny Cash before the hunt? Rugged!

Field hunting is most often done in the morning and it requires serious scouting. If I’m looking to “set up” a field for a morning shoot, I’ll hop in my truck around 5pm, binoculars in hand. I’d also have a bag of red Twizzelators on the seat beside me… and a bag of sunflower seeds. And then I start driving. When I see birds in the air, I follow them the best I can considering I have a truck and they have wings. When I find a good concentration of birds, enough for a morning hunt (hopefully, I’ll have permission to hunt that field) I’ll stop and park along the side of the road and I’ll stay there until the birds fly off, going back to water at last light. I call this “putting the birds to bed.”

If the geese can sit there undisturbed until they leave on their own, there’s almost a guarantee that they’ll be back in the morning. So, let’s say you find the birds at 6pm, but you leave at 7pm, an hour or so before dark. And, you assume that they’ll be back in the morning. Then, you arrive the next day an hour before legal shooting time and set up. By 10am you’ve only seen a few birds, none of which came in to the field you are set up in, the one where there were a pile of birds the night before.

So what happened? Well, if you weren’t there, you’ll never know for sure. Maybe a hunter snuck up on them and blasted them off the field… maybe a couple coyotes chased them off… maybe the farmer’s kid came out with a BB gun and shot at them… who knows? But, they didn’t stay until just before dark and leave on their own terms. They were pushed out and this means that in most cases, they won’t be back in the morning. If they got kicked off the field before you left, I’d probably look for another field if I still had time.

Sit in your truck and make sure the geese leave on their own… In other words, put them to bed. Then get ready to kick the crap out of them in morning.

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