Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Children of the Corn

Posted by todblog on September 13, 2008

September 10, 2008

Each morning we awake to the sound of large flocks of Canada geese lifting off the Umpqua River, barely clearing our treetops and destined for nearby fields to gorge themselves on wheat, alfalfa, grass, or corn. The sound of goose music and wingbeats overhead is a sweet country tune. Of course, like anything else, too much of a good thing can be bad.

With the cost of fuel being what it is, everyone feels the sting of added costs to goods and services. Running farm equipment to produce forage is no different. Like any good business, you try to maximize your product with minimal cost. Ranchers and farmers eagerly await the early goose season as a means of gaining some form of relief from months of goose grazing. It is surprising how much forage a goose can consume on a daily basis. Multiply that by however many hundred there are in the flock and it adds up quickly.

The early goose season is held in early September for only ten days and local hunters jump at the chance to help farmers and ranchers by thinning out a few birds (aka Sky Carp). Usually that means knocking on doors and asking permission to hunt fields, setting up decoys, waiting for flocks to show up and hopefully get a chance to take a few geese home.

Fortunately we are blessed to live in the country and have geese flying around us on a daily basis. We also have great neighbors who happen to grow delicious U-Pick fruits and vegetables including sweet corn. As the summer fades and rows of corn get picked over and removed, it creates a nice landing strip for hungry geese. It doesn’t take long for the flying gleaners to find free food and they pour into the field at all times of the day looking for tidbits.

Well, at the end of a long day I came home from work and Jacob met me in the driveway to tell me that the geese were in the field as we spoke. It was about 6pm and there was still plenty of time left to put the sneak on the unsuspecting birds. I ran into the house and made a quick phone call to get permission to hunt the field. We grabbed our 12 gauge shotguns on the way out the door, stuffed a handful of shotshells into our pockets, and walked down the road.

We stepped off the road and ducked into the walnut orchard and started feeding our shotguns with steel shot BB loads. As we approached the edge of the walnut orchard we could hear the sound of nervous geese. I told Jacob that’s flock talk you hear before they take off and fly. Sure enough, a small group of seven lifted off and flew over the walnut trees. They were headed back to the river for the night and we figured the remaining geese would follow soon. We quickly moved towards the rows of cabbage and broccoli and just past that was the rows of standing corn. We were about 10 yards apart from each other and like synchronized swimmers we dove through the standing corn and emerged on the other side to see at least 50 geese feeding about 15 yards in front of us. They immediately lifted off in a thundering chorus of wingbeats and honks and I heard Jacob start shooting. In a matter of seconds, six shots rang out between the two of us and 5 U-Pick geese lay on the ground. It would have been easy to take a limit of five birds each but, we had more than enough for our needs. Mele was running around trying to grab the geese and retrieve them but, she had never before encountered so many large birds that were so heavy.

With all the commotion we created, we were quickly joined by some neighborhood boys who came into the corn field and helped us pack the geese back home and assisted us with cleaning the birds for the freezer. As we cleaned birds in the backyard, we could hear multiple flights of geese overhead heading back to the river for their nightly roost.

I thought to myself, how great it is that we live where we do. After all, there are quite a few places that might not appreciate kids walking down the street wearing shorts and T-shirts toting shotguns (and birds). Fortunately for us, we live in the country where people don’t feel compelled to call 911 if they see kids in the corn with shotguns.

Oh by the way, the next morning at 6:30am, 70+ geese returned to the corn field to resume their feed fest.

To visit an earlier story on banding geese and see how much Jacob has grown, go to Goose Jewelry.

Walnut trees, cabbage, broccoli, corn and geese!

Jacob, Elias, Mele and Isaac before heading home to clean birds.


9 Responses to “Children of the Corn”

  1. Terri said

    Your sure them fat birds ain’t juvenile turkeys? Cool story. Always wish we Riley could partake in these adventures with you.


  2. John W. said

    those big old things must come down pretty hard, guess you have to be carefull and not pick one off over someones car. Never tried one. Are they good eating or do they take one of Tods special recipies to want seconds?


  3. Gary Lewis said

    Great story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Hope to get out in the field with you again this season or next. Let’s make a plan



  4. Barb Rowland said

    Hey! What an awesome tale of a great hunt! You guys are so descriptive in your writing, that for a minute I thought I was reading an advertisement for a free goose hunt! Thanks for sharing your story and hopefully when my brood of 5 gets the chance to see you all, they’ll be able to have some real home cooked country food! Kind of like the sausage gravy and biscuits that I serve them now and then! Barb


  5. Brad said

    Nice job guy’s. Way to lay the hammer down!


  6. Anonymous said

    Great job! Great pics! Thanks–wish I was there. I’ve got the 410 and the 20 gauge my uncle left me. The Sweet 16 is still on the big island.

    Reminds me of hunting in Kamuela.

    Hi! to Jeannine



  7. Mark Adkins said

    So where is the goose jerky?


  8. ralph saitos said

    What a great adventure in your own “backyard” ! Mele must have had a fun time, too!
    The fall season is upon us now and I guess you folks will be kept busy!
    Have fun and stay safe!


  9. bob said

    Wow! How good fun! And to think you got the neighborhood boys to help with the cleaning. That is vintage Tod. You could always make anythig fun to do. I love your adventures.
    Aloha to the Ohana!


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