A different kind of speck
In the darkness you could easily make out the sounds of ducks and geese as they buzzed overhead while we set the last of the decoys. The very familiar yodel of speckle bellied geese sent us scurrying for the blind as you could make out the silhouettes approaching from the west. The first sounds from our calls were met immediately with replies form the birds as they continued to lose altitude and zero in on the open spot in our decoy spread. It all worked out perfectly, feet down, wings cupped, and not a clue that we were there. We rose from the pit blind, took aim, shot, and watched as several specks crumbled up and fell in the shallow water that flooded the field where we were hunting. An absolutely perfect way to start off the hunt.
For the next several hours we watched flock after flock of both snow and speckled bellied geese drift overhead, some within range and others far from it. The fickle personality of these wary birds often makes you question your sanity until they finally cooperate. To fool a mature bird into dropping down in a well placed spread is a feat that brings a smile to almost any hunters face. For me I would prefer to shoot geese over ducks anytime, there is just something about them that winds my watch.
On this particular hunt I shared the blind with my good friend Aaron Hommel, my son Hunter, and his buddy Jonah Lemoine of Bridge City. The opportunity to share a blind with all these guys was a pleasure, regardless if we shot anything at all. To sit in a place and watch ducks and geese with people who enjoy it as much as you do is a real treat. Our spread consisted of dozen and a half full bodied speckle bellied goose decoys and a few ducks mixed in for good measure. A well disguised pit blind dug into a levy and brushed up with natural vegetation offered us a great place to hide as well as be comfortable. A typical Louisiana goose hunt to say the least.
Shooting speckle bellied geese in Louisiana is a great tradition that has been perfected for years. Really good blinds in productive fields are worth their weight in gold and often cost that much or more in order to lease. Where snow goose hunters overwhelm the flocks with huge spreads numbering over a thousand at times speck hunters tend to concentrate more on the calling. Legendary call makers like Mervis Saltzman of Chien Caille and Eli Haydel of Haydel Calls have spent countless days and hours perfecting the sounds of their calls in order to help hunters fool geese on a regular basis. I have had the good fortune of sitting down with both of these men and listened to them demonstrate their calls; it was an eye opening experience. The different vocalizations that they demonstrated shed a lot of light on how the geese communicate and really helped me understand better about how and when to call. Proper timing and good calling are essential to a successful hunt and blowing a speck call certainly takes some practice to perfect. Sharing a blind with a good goose caller is a privilege and will greatly increase your odds for success.
Our hunt finished up on a high note as we worked another couple of groups into range and added to our strap for the day. The highlight of the hunt for me was seeing Jonah shoot his first specks, a pair of nice mature birds with plenty of black bars across their chest. The hunt was a success any way you look at it and if the number of birds we saw was any indication of what the rest of the season looks like it should be good. Colder weather and more birds coming into the area on successive fronts should do nothing but bring more geese down and help keep the ones already here from leaving. I know every chance I get from now until the season is over I’ll go back and chase those geese, there is just something about them.