Goose Hunting photo

John Gordon, a good friend from Memphis and the man responsible for compiling the migration reports for Avery Outdoors each week, included this note with his weekly email sent up here Iowa way: “Here you go, brother. It’s pretty slim pickins’.” And ain’t that the truth.

Here in eastern Iowa, I’ve made the transition almost entirely from waterfowl to whitetails. Our late muzzleloader season runs through 10 January 2013, and three of us are sitting on eight of nine tags remaining. Translation: We have a lot of deer hunting to do if we’re planning on putting anything into the freezer.

That all said, there’s still some goose hunting to do ’round these parts. Travis Mueller, a territory manager with Avery Outdoors based out of Johnson County, Iowa, has been enjoying some excellent post-lunch shoots with his cronies. And based on various online reports I’m seeing, there are gunners across The Hawkeye State still pecking away, and some quite successfully, at the influx of Canadas that moved into the region as a result of the blizzard of 20 December. Just yesterday, Dan Minchk, a young friend from Iowa City, sent me this text message: “Four-man limit before noon!” I didn’t ask where, because this late in the game, I know better than to ask for specifics. But I’m assuming the hunt took place in the eastern third of the state.

Northeast of The Hawkeye State in Midland, Michigan, San Sasse of the Avery Team reports “thousands of Canada geese in the surrounding area, along with good numbers of divers and mallards. Plenty of oldsquaws also.” Sasse comments that Michigan’s South Zone reopens from 29 December through 1 January for both ducks and geese, followed by a late Canada goose season from 12 January to 10 February, 2013, with a daily bag limit of five honkers. Really, Iowa? Can’t you throw us a bone here? I guess I’ll just have to live vicariously through my brothers to the north; that, and hunt a lot of squirrels.

In Missouri, Tony Vandemore is going through the first stages of duck withdrawal with the close of his season on Christmas Day; however, he’ll soon replace little birds with big birds, and start gunning Canadas over potholes in the timber he keeps open with Power House Ice Eaters.

It’s definitely a different way to hunt late season honkers, he tells me, and when it works, “You get a dozen honkers down in a narrow timber hole,” Vandemore said, “And there’s usually not a one of them leaves.” I’m okay with that; I’m a huge fan of goose jerky.

Back to John Gordon, who tells me he’s headed west across the Old Man into the area around Crowder, Mississippi, to hunt tomorrow morning. “We used to hunt around that area when I was younger,” Gordon said. “Lately, it’s been fairly consistent. Not gangbusters, but consistent. It’s the usual suspects right now – shovelers, mallards, pintails, grey ducks, green-wing teal. It was better earlier, but it’s still pretty good.”