Canada Geese Hunting On Marlborough Island

Canada Geese Hunting (honkers) with my Grandfather

We were at the beginning of November 1959, sitting at the super table talking about hunting, my grandparents and I. I happened to say I guess that the goose and duck hunts are pretty well over. My grandfather replied saying, weather like this, it was windy and snowing, this is the best time to go out and hunt honkers, the Great Canada Goose. If we get weather like this on the week-end Saturday or Sunday we’ll go out together. I said great that would be fun, he replied we have to dress up very warm and put a rain suit with that.

Saturday morning around 5 A.M. I was up and it looked like it would be good for geese hunting, grandpa and grandma were both getting up also. Grandfather said yes we’ll go this morning. We had a good breakfast and grandma packed us a good lunch and a couple of thermos of hot tea. Around 6:30 A.M. we were on our way with the 20 foot chestnut canoe and the 5 ½ H.P. Evinrude motor. We did not travel very fast, but we were not in a hurry we had all day. It was very cold the water from the waves was freezing on my rain suit and gloves. My grandfather was sitting in front and told me to slow down in the big waves because the canoe could break in half. Yes my grandfather was heavy a little over 300 lbs. As we approached Marlborough Island he said park the canoe on the north side, which I did. It was cold, snowing and the wind was up to 25 to 30 miles an hour. My grandfather and I looked like a block of ice, yes it was cold.

I got the ten decoys out of the canoe and set them up on the point. The decoys were a piece of wood round and the size of a goose’s body.It was burned until it was black and the neck and head was pushed on, the head was black with a little white. Then the legs were pushed on, these decoys were hand made by my grandfather. We then set the blind, which took about a 15 minutes, we were ready. The farthest I could see was about 200 to 300 feet, the weather was bad.

I could hear the honkers calling and seemed to be pretty close, I started the honk sound and they were coming straight for our decoys, 40 of them and man they were big. We both had double barrels 12 gauged shot guns. I could see them at about 200 feet and about 10 feet off the water. Grandfather said wait and don’t move their going to land on the ground. That’s what they did and about 30 feet away from us. We got up and both shot at the same time and re-loaded and shot again.I hit 5 and my grandfather had 6 so eleven in eight shots was good. We picked them up, they must have weighed a good 20 lbs. each. Grandfather said go and get some twigs with a “V” at the top, bring eleven of them. We took the eleven geese and put each a “V” twig to keep their heads up and set them with the other decoys. Got back in the blind and waited for the next flock.

We could hear the geese calling but could not see them, grandfather said probably on the other island, he told me call once in while, which I did. We could hear a flock calling and were pretty close, I kept on calling and they were getting closer. About 50 to 60 honkers straight for the decoys and around 20 feet off the water. They started turning into the wind and down they came. Grandfather said okay and up we were, 4 shots off loaded and shot again and I managed to shoot six shots. The last ones fell in the water and some on the ground very close to us, we picked up 15 big geese.

We waited for about an hour and very cold it was, we both ate a sandwich and had a good hot cup of tea. Grandfather said we should head back and I agreed. 26 Great Canada Geeses was a great hunt I said and thanked him for it.