Ducks, Geese, & Walleye: The Fall Cast-and-Blast Trifecta of Manitoba.

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Earlier this month, I had the chance to goose hunting in Manitoba – a province well-known for its excellent waterfowling. A two-hour flight from New York to Chicago, another two to Winnipeg, and I found myself in a van, headed north on Route 6 toward Lake Manitoba. I saw this monster goose statue along the way – a good omen. Jay Cassell
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Narrows West Lodge – our home for four days. This is the main lodge. Jay Cassell
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Here’s the chalet I stayed in, with two other hunters. All the chalets are on the lakeshore, and have three or four bedrooms, complete kitchens, and hot tubs–the perfect place to relax after a day of slopping around in the mud. Jay Cassell
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First morning, everyone was up at 4. After a quick breakfast, it was off to the hunting fields. This is sunrise on the first morning. Jay Cassell
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One of our goose decoys, made by Final Approach. Check www.Fabrands.com – you’ll be amazed at how many decoys they offer. We set out 150 dekes, in various poses. Jay Cassell
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This is a Final Approach “Eliminator Sport Utility Blind.” Thatch it up with hay and grass, place it near some cover, climb in, lie back on the reclining seat, pull the flaps closed, and you’re invisible from above. There’s mesh over the face area, so you can look out. Jay Cassell
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One of group, John Vaca, was a maestro with the goose call. Jay Cassell
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When the birds got with range, John would yell ‘Take em,” and we’d throw open the blind doors and start shooting. Here, Skip Knowles demonstrates how the blind works. Jay Cassell
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The birds just came streaming in; the shooting was fast and furious, and before you knew it we all had our limits. Jay Cassell
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I used a Browning Maxus 12-gauge – a new gun in the Brownng line, it cycled quickly, and was easy to point. It had a duratouch finish, which made gripping a snap. Jay Cassell
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And you’d never guess what kind of ammo I used. I had never shot the Extended Range shells before, and I could really see where they made a difference on some of the more distant birds. Jay Cassell
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Scott Grange with a brace of Canadas. Jay Cassell
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A view from my blind. Such was the morning drill for three days running – up at four, breakfast, out to the goose fields, back for lunch. Jay Cassell
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After lunch, most of us went walleye fishing in the Narrows – a section between two parts of Lake Manitoba. The fishing was decent, with some fish up to 10 pounds. That’s John Mullett with a nice one. Jay Cassell
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After fishing, many of the guys went bear hunting. Paul Wait got this 310-pounder the first night out – that’s a lot of good eating, plus a beautiful rug. Jay Cassell
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Having shot my share of bears over the years, I opted to go duck hunting. Bluebills, red heads, mallards, and the occasional canvasbacks were our targets. The first afternoon, we hunted off a point, pass shooting for divers trading back and forth. The next afternoon, we got serious and commandeered a duck boat and some decoys. Jay Cassell
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Heading toward a marshy, grassy area. Jay Cassell
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The view from our boat. Jay Cassell
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Here I am, calling and watching (I’ve already gotten two redheads). Jay Cassell
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Scott Grange hopped out of the boat and set up some decoys along the shore. That worked too. Jay Cassell
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When it was all over, it was back into the van, off to Winnipeg and then home…talk about a great three days, though. Jay Cassell
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There’s always something to see along Route 6, it seems. First the goose on the way up, then the biggest pumpkin I’ve ever seen on the way back. The farmer who owned it told me it weighed 628 pounds. Jay Cassell
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If you’re interested in hunting out of Narrows West Lodge, their website is narrowswest.com, phone is 204-768-2749). The owner, Blair Olafson, has access to almost a million acres of fields and forests; he’ll definitely put you where the game is. The goose season runs until October 31. Jay Cassell