Opening Day

A Neighbors Farm, Clarksville, MD

Today, Saturday November 22, 2014 represents Opening Day of hunting season for the Migratory Atlantic Population of Canada Goose in Howard County (Piedmont), Maryland.  The bag limit is two birds per day, with a total limit of six birds for the season.  We had a early resident goose season back on September 1 through September 25, but corn fields that we shoot over were not yet harvested, and with nowhere for the birds to land and feed.


My son Mark and I would like to thank Bob and Pat and Tom and Jennifer for allowing us to hunt on their property.  It’s wonderful to wake-up pre-dawn, drive eleven houses up the street and be on our neighbors farm, one-half hour before sunrise for the legal shooting time.  We have become spoiled, and greatly appreciate the seasonal opportunity!  All of my son’s, Joshua, Mark and Jeb, less Michael have participated in annual goose hunts with Tom and family.


Mark Burchick, with a combination of his Beretta Extrema II and Federal Waterfowl Black Cloud steel BB’s, settles in along the white pine hedgerow abutting the corn field.


First thing in the morning it’s tweety-birds, then crows and doves, and then the geese begin to fly.  With the spread laid out on the corn field and pond, our host Tom D’Asto and his son Nick start calling in the birds.  Also hunting with us today were Evan Goldstein, James Pontius, Rick Abbott, Mike Goleb and Matt Ashmore, all aerospace engineers.  You can only imagine what it’s like in the blind, and the reason for the adage, “what’s said in the blind, stays in the blind.”


We were able to call in waves of birds, and all nine of us were able to limit-out within two hours.  On-site at 6:00 AM and done by 9:00 AM.  Our shooting efforts were often a tag-team “assist,” where each one of us could tell we hit a bird because we either saw it drop, and/or we saw feathers fly.


We often had a cripple in the field and had to go out to drop a runner and/or ring a neck.  In this photo Evan had to chase a tough bird to finally cull him from the field.


Rick walks back to the blind and tree line, after a successful gaggle of geese were felled.


Evan also brings in two from the field.


James walks one back.


It’s amazing when you can turn a flock of geese from a distance to come into your spread, as you see from Mark waving the welcome flag . . .


. . . and with the best moment being when the geese “lock” for landing and are just about within shooting range.


Mark brings his bird back to the blind.


James helps clean-up the field for the next wave of birds.


Matt calls to the pond and white pine hedge row to help turn a few birds back around to the corn field.


Mike brings in a downed bird . . .


. . . as well as Nick.


Eighteen Canada geese in two hours, allowing each of us to take our two-bird limit!  I think some of us may be considering goose as a main or side dish for Thanksgiving this Thursday.

My son Mark had all four of our birds breasted and bagged before noon.  He also saved the liver to make a Thanksgiving pate, based on a secret internet recipe.

The following YouTube video is of Mark watching from the blind, as our team effort was able to drop a few birds.  We used a GoPro Hero 4 with Sportsman’s Mount to provide a down the barrel perspective.