Taking advantage of Maryland’s late season resident goose season
I have not waterfowl hunted much this hunting season. The schedule seemed to accommodate chasing whitetails more than goose hunting. At some point last week, I realized I still had time to get out and enjoy a goose hunt or two. The Maryland late season resident goose season is open until March 8, 2017 with a 5 bird daily limit.
Visiting Maryland’s DNR waterfowl hunting page, I confirmed the dates and locations open to hunting. The late season is intended to help manage the population of the non-migratory Canada geese and in such, is limited to certain areas of the state.
Potomac River Goose Hunt
Sunday I spent some time scouting the river and with finding the geese made the plans for Monday. Sorry if I don’t disclose more on the location I hunted. But somethings are best kept to oneself. I will say that I floated the Potomac river somewhere between Cumberland, MD and White’s Ferry.
Yes you read correctly, I floated the river. I did not set decoys up in a field or on the water. I loaded the canoe and sneak boat hunted 3 miles of river.
The weather felt more like an October morning than February. I slept in and hit the road to the hunting destination around 8:30 AM. Casually I stopped for breakfast before unloading the canoe at the starting point of the float. Thinking I might want to stop and set some decoys for a while at some point along the float, I tossed six floating decoys into the canoe. The carry from the parking lot to the river was about 100 yards and took 3 trips.
Leaving the canoe along the river loaded with the decoys and lifejacket , I drove down to the takeout. Here I parked the truck and slung my shooting bag and cased shotgun over my shoulder. The hike along the river back to the canoe took about an hour. The weather was perfect for a jacketless hike. Along the walk, I spotted several groups of geese lounging along the river and made mental notes of their locations for the sneaky float back down the river.
The sun shined. The air temp was in the 60’s. The river level was perfect for a float. Goose hunt or not, it was a great day to be on the river.
In less than a quarter mile down river, I encountered the first group of geese. The goose hunt was on. Slowly, I let the current move me and the canoe into position. Three geese had separated from the larger group and with a slight twist of the paddle, turned in their direction. Geese have a tell when they are about to take flight. They get talkative. As soon as they began to sound off, I shouldered the shotgun. They took to flight and the old Browning rang out three times. The result, 3 geese floated belly up in the river.
The perfect river float mixed with the perfect goose hunt. Yep, it was one of those days. Well, almost.
A mile farther down river, I once again separated a few birds from a larger group and like before, they waited until I was within easy shotgun range before taking flight. However, this time my shotgun malfunctioned and they flew away unharmed. I guess I could have been upset that I did not fill my limit, but I did have 3 geese in the boat and was truly enjoying my time on the river.
On the last section of river until reaching the takeout, I slowly drifted sightseeing the many different species of ducks on the river, soaked up some sunshine and generally relaxed on river time.
Once at the take out, I again had a long carry to the truck. the parking lot was even farther this time at about 200 yards and included a slippery muddy river bank. But I smiled each trip carrying the gear and canoe back to the truck. Yep, it was one of those goose hunts to be remembered a long time. Heck, I had such an enjoyable day, I forgot to take photographs. Well, except for a couple quickies with the cell phone.
I do believe the canoe may just stay on top of the truck for a few more weeks, as I plan to head out and enjoy a few more goose hunts until the end of the season on March 8th. Then its’ only a few weeks until the shad will start running and the fishing rods come out.