He's been hunting waterfowl a little over seven years, and when he was bitten by the waterfowl bug, he was bitten bad.
Since then, he spends approximately 45-50 days a year hunting waterfowl which is the most addictive thing he's ever done.
A big Ironbands welcome to Brian.
My first goose was during an early season Georgia goose hunt. I was with three of my good friends, and we were setup off a typical clay bank point. We had been watching the birds for about a week pile into the back of the cove, and we were setup that morning as first daylight came and passed. About a half hour after sunrise, the birds started moving.
None of the birds were decoying, and all we had opportunities for were 25 yard pass shots. As a small group of geese approched, we all pulled up on the flock and dropped all four birds. One of the birds sailed on us, so one of my buddies got in the boat with the dog to retrieve it as the bird had fallen nearly 300 yards away. Of the four geese we killed, three of the birds were banded. This was my first ever goose and first ever band! I was so excited to get my first goose, but my first band too. It was perfect.
A Little Trinket
One of my most memorable bands was not from a duck or a goose, but a dove. The hunt took place this past dove season, and I was with my six year old son and my two year old chocolate lab. It was our first hunt with all three of us together. The dove were flying great on the farm, and we were setup at a perfect spot in between a pond and a creek.
We had two birds come in, and I dropped them both. I sent Homer out to get the birds, and when he came back I reached down to get some more shells. That's when my son yelled, "Dad here comes one!" I pulled up with one shell left in my gun, and dropped the dove. Homer retrieved the bird, and before I could see it my son started yelling, "Its got silver on its leg!" Homer handed over my dove, and sure enough it was banded. My son was so excited he kept telling me that I was a professional hunter. We enjoyed about eight more dove that day. It was one of the best hunts of my life.
Interests and Tips
I love hunting waterfowl, but like deer, turkey, and upland bird hunting too. I hunt public and private lands about equally, and there is a 300 acre piece of private land here in Illinois that I have access too. Before I moved back to Illinois from Georgia, I spent about 80 percent of my time in the field on public land.
I hunt about a 60/40 split of water to field hunting. Here in Illinois, when the water freezes, the birds will sit on the ice and work the fields for food. Fields during this time are prime for working birds. I love hunting every type of waterfowl from black feet down, to circling mallards, to the dancing divers.
Various strategies come into play, depending on where I am hunting. I do a lot of scouting, more than most people actually hunt. It makes a big difference. I also use the wind when present to my advantage, and most importantly, I am a mobile hunter. You have to go where the birds want to be. Concealment is by far one of the key factors I feel a lot of new waterfowlers overlook. You have to blend in with your surroundings to be consistently successful. Even if that is in a gray boat in the middle of open water while hunting divers. Lastly, early season geese seem to be suckers for a flag.