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Goose Hunting with the Wrecking Crew

   WeHuntSC.com - The Geese Results
  The geese after the hunt
Probably like many of you, my holiday season was pretty busy.  By the time New Year?s Day comes around you are kind of worn down from travel, celebrations, the festivities of the holidays, and most likely, some kind of party the night before on New Year?s Eve.  Even though I was tired, I wasn?t too tired to wake up and go hunting!  On New Year?s Day I rolled out of bed struggling from having only 4 hours of sleep and simply being worn down, but it was worth it with the hunt we would happen shortly thereafter.
I was heading to meet the guys from the Wrecking Crew Guide Service as we were scheduled to go out on a goose hunt.  When I stepped out of the house I noticed that it wasn?t as cold as it had been in the days previous to this hunt.  For some reason the weather warmed up for about 2 ? 3 days.  As I drove down the road I noticed some fog here and there.  I went to a store to get a drink and a biscuit.  While I was in the store I noticed two guys dressed in camouflage.  From the design of their camo I could tell they were going hunting for some type of waterfowl.  Normally I would have spoken to them just to see if they had been having any luck, but since it was so early I opted not to because I was still half asleep and going slow at the moment. The guys checked out at the register and when they turned to leave I saw the taller one?s face and it looked familiar to me, but I couldn?t remember where I had seen the guy.  I bought my stuff and headed out.
WeHuntSC.com - The setup on the dam   
The setup on the dam  
The fog got thicker as I drove closer to our meeting location.  This wasn?t a good sign as we were going to be hunting geese!  I?m no pro waterfowl hunter, but I do know that fog can make them change their pattern and fly at different times?normally later than usual.  When I arrived I noticed that the two guys I had seen in the store 15 minutes earlier were now talking to the Wrecking Crew guys.  I got out of the car and started getting my stuff and I heard the taller guy say ?Don?t worry about the crackers, my cousin works at a cracker company so we?ll have plenty of snacks?.  When I heard that statement it all clicked for me and I responded ?Yeah we?ll have plenty of snacks because my wife also works at a cracker company and I brought some crackers too?and as a matter of fact, your cousin is my wife!?  I remembered that I had sat in a living room with Ray Hemby only a week earlier right around Christmas?I just didn?t know that he was an avid hunter and didn?t know the connection to the Wrecking Crew.  Small world.  After we all figured out that I was going to be hunting with some in-laws then we already had a story to tell!  
Now to the hunt?when we left I noticed that the truck we were riding in was pulling a trailer.  Since it was dark I couldn?t see what was in the trailer, but knew that we were taking something along for the ride.  We arrived really early and the fog was still very thick.  We arrived on a gravel road along side of a winter wheat field.  Upon arrival the Wrecking Crew sprung into action.  These guys were taking stuff off the trailer and not asking any questions.  I could tell they had done this before as it seemed routine to them?this was a good sign.  The trailer was carrying a bunch of layout blinds, decoys, and bales of straw.   I jumped in the mix and we all carried the gear and set up on a dam of a pond that was in the middle of a wheat field.  When it was dark I really couldn?t tell what the setup was, but as the sun started to rise I came to understand.
WeHuntSC.com - The Wrecking Crew Guide Service
Daryl had previously scouted the area and had a good feel for what would happen that morning, but the fog had him worried a little bit?and rightfully so.  With insight from Daryl?s scouting the location we set up the layout blinds lying on the backside of the dam of the pond.  While Daryl, Robbie, & Pete were working hard setting up the blinds, Blake was hard at work setting up the decoys.  After the hunt Blake explained to me that there was a method to the madness and a reason for setting them up in the certain formation that he had placed them in.  Blake had read in a Ducks Unlimited magazine about a formation that was realistic and he even went and changed the formation around once later in the hunt.  Some decoys were feeding, some were standing, and they were all facing the same direction.  We also had decoys interwoven with the layout blinds by the time Blake got through.  
WeHuntSC.com - Decoy Outdoors
   WeHuntSC.com - Blake blowing the Lodge Creek Mayhem Call
  Blake blowing the
Lodge Creek Mayhem Call
The final touch was to put straw on and around the base of the layout blinds.  If you?re familiar with ?brushing in? a ground blind while deer hunting then this would be the equivalent.  The Wrecking Crew had brought a bale or two of straw and Blake and Daryl both went around the blinds throwing it on and around them to make it blend in with the field.  I told Blake he might have a future in pine straw spreading the way he was getting it done.  In time we had a lot of decoys out, blinds set up, and everything ready to go.  The guys went back down to the road and moved their trucks to where they were out of site. It was still dark at this point, but it wouldn?t be long.
I ended up being in between Blake and Pete and we all laid in the layout blinds and rested for a few minutes until the sun rose a little more.  Two blinds down from me Robbie Boone was seemingly attempting to grunt up a buck by snoring, but he didn?t have any luck.  (I guess his grunt call wasn?t as bad as the kind Hoot uses when rabbit hunting though!).  I had never used a layout blind before and I can see why it was easy to fall asleep momentarily; that thing was comfortable!  Faces painted, ?Drake?d out?, Decoy Outdoors logos everywhere, and WinnTuck lanyards around our necks, we were all set up and ready to roll.  Daryl had scouted, the blinds had us camouflaged, the straw ?brushed? in the blinds, we had decoys all around us, and we just happen to have a world champion caller in our group who had Lodge Creek?s latest call ?The Mayhem? around his neck.  It was just a matter of time.
The fog did set the waterfowl back a little.  Early in the hunt we had some ducks flying over.  We saw wood ducks, mallards, and mergansers circling.  The mergansers landed in the pond behind us and the others kept flying.  I was able to get some decent footage of the mergansers on the water too.  From the way we were lying on the dam of the pond we had to raise our heads up and peek at the ducks.  We were, as you would expect, just out of their sight and this was by design.  We let the mergansers stay on the pond and didn?t shoot at any ducks because we were there for the geese and didn?t want to risk spooking any geese.
WeHuntSC.com - The Geese in the sky   
It started getting a little lighter out and Daryl said that it wouldn?t be long.  Blake was working his call and we heard a distant goose call back at him.  Blake and the goose were going back and forth with each other like they were old friends.  The goose would call out to Blake and Blake would call to the goose over and over.  It was as if Blake was the flight control tower guiding the goose right on in for a ?safe? landing.  The goose was a solo flyer and he was getting closer.  I had the camera on and got a bead on him.  Just before he got overhead the boys unloaded on him and he crashed into the field. They put a hurting on him.  I almost broke my back twisting and turning to get this all on footage, but I was able to get it done. The fog made it difficult to focus at first, but the footage is not bad. If you?re wondering about Robbie?he was awake by now!   When that bird hit the ground Blake jumped up to go get him when he realized that there were two more geese coming in, they must have been hot on the other goose?s trail.  Blake dropped back to a knee and reloaded as he said ?Daddy, there?s two more coming?.   I think Blake quit re-loading and started calling.  These two came right down the same pipe as the first solo flyer did.  Here again I was twisting and turning awkwardly, but I got these even better on camera, but no one shot!  I was wondering why no one shot, but I think everyone had unloaded on that first goose and didn?t have any shells in their guns!  With the whole crew there this was hard to believe.  The two geese soared on through the air calling back and forth with Blake and they made it through free due to the first bird taking one for the team.
  WeHuntSC.com - Daryl Hodge of the Wrecking Crew Guide Service
  Daryl Hodge of the Wrecking Crew
Now our hearts were pumping and the adrenaline was flowing.  If you?ve been hunting before then you know the feeling I?m talking about.  The feeling when the first group has already come in and you know that it?s on and the clock is ticking.  Our senses were on high alert as we waited to hear or see anything.  We knew the next group wouldn?t be long behind them.  Daryl had said that it would be best if the geese came in several small groups because this would give us more shots on them, but that just wasn?t in the cards for us on this hunt!  
We waited and Blake randomly called out.  We waited for a while and before I knew it we heard some commotion very close to us.  Wings were flapping, but we had not heard one goose call out.  The geese came in silently.  We got them to come over our way and Blake was going to town on his call.  A group of geese so large that I couldn?t fit them all in the lens of the camera was upon us and the boys unloaded on them.  The geese started climbing when they heard the shots and I didn?t know which way to film because there were so many geese in the sky!  You can see in the video where I?m moving the camera around trying to film it all.  In that shot I?m not zoomed in at all?that?s really how close they were to us.  It all happened so quick it kind of caught me by surprise.  After the initial shots Blake went to town again on the call trying to get the geese to circle back.  The guys had downed 3 birds, but we were only able to find 2 of them.  It was an awesome moment to take in when they were right on top of us.

Below are a few pics of the hunt. Click the thumbnails to get larger versions of the pics

We waited a little longer to see if any ?late-flyers? would come through, but that was pretty much it.  We had some mallards fly past us as we were talking, but no one shot at them.  We all talked about the hunt and deconstructed what had just happened for a few minutes and, of course, eat some of the crackers that we had!  Then it was time to shoot the post-game interview and pack up and leave.  We all helped carry the stuff and then we headed out. The hunt went a little longer than we anticipated due to the fog, but when you?re hunting with the in-laws it?s hard for the wife to be but so mad!
Below is a video I created of the hunt
From spending time with family over Christmas, to rabbit hunting with the WeHuntSC guys, to goose hunting with the Wrecking Crew, my holiday season was a good one! Thanks to the Wrecking Crew for taking me along on another good hunt.  If you can?t tell from the blog, these guys go all out and simply get it done!  If you are interested in booking a hunt with the Wrecking Crew just visit their web site at www.WreckingCrewGuideService.com.
WeHuntSC.com - The post hunt photo 

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