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Enjoying the great outdoors is all about friends

Luke Clayton

I recently wrote about how much there is to do in the outdoors this time of year. Well, last week, I took my own advice and brought my words to fruition by first joining goose guide Rick Hrncir with Family Affair Guide Service for a Conservation goose hunt south of Corsicana and later in the week, did some fishing down in east Texas. So, relax in your easy chair and let me recap both outings with you. Hopefully you can find time this week to get out and enjoy some late winter activities.

Geese first -- I’ve been looking forward to round two with the snow geese since about this time last year when I joined guide Rick Hrncir on a goose hunt south in the farm country southwest of Corsicana. Rick hunts geese a bit differently from the way many of you might be accustomed. Rather than trudging around in the dark a full hour before sunup putting out decoys, Rick waits until after the birds have left the conservation lake that he plans to hunt. I enjoy Rick’s relaxed and often very productive style of goose hunting. We began setting the full body decoy spread out around 8 a.m. and by 9 it was time to drive the trucks back over the hill away from our hunting area and settle down in the lay out blinds. Rick’s previous hunt produced a total of 27 snow geese and expectations were high for another good shoot but when hunting geese this time of year, every day is different.

While some of my friends drove their trucks away from the lake to avoid spooking incoming geese, another buddy and I were loading shotguns and preparing to crawl into the comfortable lay out blinds. And then it happened!

From the north, we spotted a flock of maybe 150 snow geese and they appeared to be headed our way! As we stuffed shells into our shotguns and frantically scrambled to get inside the blinds, the birds seemed to come even faster. Snow geese are always smart but by this time of the season, they have seen it all from the Arctic down to Texas.

We scrambled as quickly as two guys in their mid sixties can scramble but just as we crawled into the blinds and pulled the camo over, the birds spotted us. They were probably 60 yards out as they flared either side of the blind. We never fired a shot...we’d been made! Obviously the only thing wrong with Rick’s expertly laid decoy spread was US! They wanted in there badly and they circled high a couple of times before finally departing to the south. Had our entire party been settled into the blinds before this first flight came in, I’m certain we could have added ten or twelve birds to our bag, possibly more!  

As it turned out, this was our one big opportunity of the day. We had several small flocks come in to the spread throughout the morning and during the afternoon we managed to bag a couple and miss a few! That’s goose hunting. Rick reported that his next group of hunters enjoyed some red hot shooting.

Outdoors writer, radio host and book author Luke Clayton has been addicted to everything outdoors related since his childhood when he grew up hunting and fishing in rural northeast Texas. Luke pens a weekly newspaper column that appears in over thirty newspapers.