Pennsylvania Game News - January 2011 - 36
chests each and every time a goose locks its wings and sails into our spread. Our hands shake with nervous anticipation as we flip the safety on our shotguns into the firing position when the designated caller for the day yells out “Take ’em!” That’s why we do what we do. My buddies and I normally hunt two or three days a week when the AP goose season is in. The week between last Christmas and New Year’s Day, 2009,all of us had family obligations connected to the holidays, so none of us made it out to hunt.
On Jan. 2, 2009, I was itching to hit the field the following morning, knowing there were hundreds of birds frequenting one of our favorite hunting spots. I called my core group of buddies, but no one could go. I called some other friends who hunt with us occasionally, but they were also unavailable. When I go goose hunting, I like to set up a big spread of decoys. Through much experience, my friends and I have learned this is what we need to do to get the geese in our hunting area to drop out of the sky in front of our shotguns. But, while planting — and
later pulling — 130 full-body Bigfoot decoys in a cornfield is an easy task for five guys, it’s a pain in the back for one. I didn’t want to hunt alone on January 3. But I wanted to hunt, and it seemed the only way that was going to happen was if I flew solo. So, around 4:30 Jan. 3, I loaded my truck and headed to my buddy’s farm, by myself, to fetch my layout blind from his barn and to hook to my truck the trailer where we store our mountain of decoys. Hooking up the trailer in the dark by myself was a chore of its own. Without someone guiding me, I must have pulled forward and back about 60 times before I lined up the trailer tongue with the hitch on my truck. Eventually I got it right, and I was soon on the road to a nearby farm in southern Chester County. When I got there, I switched to four-wheel drive as my truck left the pavement, and steered the rig out into the cut cornfield where I planned to set up. I drove to the highest spot in the field and turned the truck off. And then the work began. There seemed to be way more decoys in the trailer than I remembered. I kept pulling dekes out and setting them up, but the trailer always seemed full. Even though the air was brisk and chilly, I broke into a good sweat walking back and forth to the trailer to haul out decoys four at a time. Ninety minutes later, the trailer was finally empty and the decoys were set. I arranged them in a mass, upwind from my blind, which I faced downwind. About 20