Getting a group together to snow goose hunt is not as easy as you might think. 3 months out everyone wants to go, 2 months out about a third drop out, 1 month out and only 1/4 are still willing. This year wasn't different. Except everyone, but one long time hunting friend, threw in the towel. The number of guns in the spread was right but the number of guys to set up and tear down were a little on the light side.
So I hit the road at 5 and I picked my buddy up after a couple hours of driving. Day one and two really are just one really long painful day. Wake up, drive, set up, hunt then go to bed about 40 hours later. With luck everything goes perfectly and a guy can catch a nap.
After 7 hours, the dog is ready to get out and strech his legs. I swear he's smiling about being able to sit up straight. For all you small state dwellers, you can drive 10 hours in one direction and don't even be close to a MT border.
The drive goes really well. We make it into ND before it gets dark. After stopping the death march to ND several times for coffee, dinner and streching the legs, we're finally parked in front of the gate to our field. Its go time, we are both DOA & it's 2:00 AM.
Since the weather had been so warm, we were really concerned with soft fields. The field we hunt has a lot of hills and if you stay high you are generally really safe. The first 50 yards of the field look the worst. We get out, walk it and we are good to go.
We start driving out and at 75 yards in we find a soft spot and the truck and trailer stop moving. Well crap, now what? We unhook the trailer and the truck drives off pretty easily. Not wanting to miss critical setup time we scout the field in the truck and find a place that would be easy to pull the trailer. . . if we can get it unstuck.
The temp is 31. We decide to sleep for an hour or so and hopefully the ground will setup a little bit making it easier to get out. Wrong, after an hour and a half the temp had gone up to 34.
We decided to either bury both the truck and trailer or get out and set up for the morning hunt. Luck was with us, after using a little truck muscle we finally coaxed the trailer out.
We got to our spot and started pulling all the full bodies out of the trailer.
By the time day broke we still had a lot of work left. If we had one more guy we would be ready when the birds started to fly. These mallards liked how we looked and buzzed us several times.
Getting stuck cost us some valueable time and birds were wanting to drop in, even with the truck parked in the middle of the spread. Probably 1/2 way through the morning flight we were finally a 100% ready.
There was more sleep happening in the blinds than hunting. I'm just getting to old for these extended hours. The day is good, the weather is warm and we are seeing plenty of snows migrating throughout the day. We even manage to kill a couple of birds.
ND sunsets are awesome and some of my favorites.
Finally, day one and two is done. Time to find our hotel and get some good sleep. After getting our key, we parked next to this guy.
We must be in the right area.