Last night, my father, my brother-in-law and I crossed the border into Maryland, jumped on Route 50 eastbound and drove over the Bay Bridge at Annapolis, right in the teeth of the winter storm.
Our destination? The Eastern Shore town of Easton, Maryland for our annual post-Christmas hunt.
It was slow going to Easton with the ‘white out” conditions on Route 50, but we got there in one piece and crashed at a local hotel.
At 6:00 a.m., we met our guide at Denny’s for coffee and instructions. An hour later, we were bouncing along a farm road to a blind set up on the edge of a deserted wheat field.
The temperature was in the teens and there was a chilling wind coming over the open terrain. Bundled up like camouflaged Michelin men, we trundled into the blind with shotguns cradled and began waiting.
We didn’t wait long.
Canadian geese are flocking like crazy this winter on the Eastern Shore. The first group of five came over our blind at 8 a.m. and settled into our decoys. They were followed by two larger groups in the next forty-five minutes. We waited silently until they rose to fly away.
When the smoke had cleared (literally), we had our bag limit of eight birds. They were large birds, about the size of turkeys.
Crawling out of the blind, we tagged the migratory geese, loaded them in the truck and took them to a local picker, who breasted them within the hour. That gave the suburban shooters plenty of time to relive the sporting moments over coffee.
Driving back home, we saw dozens of new geese flying in and roosting in the fields along the highway. There was a time when the geese population along the Bay had almost disappeared Judging from our last couple trips, those days are long, long gone.
We got home around 1 pm. Six hours later, our family was enjoying roasted goose, prepared by my wife (who is not afraid to cook wild game on short notice). Very good!
Living in the Chesapeake watershed means access to the “Atlantic flyway” and some of the best waterfowl hunting in the world. A day outdoors is always a day well spent. Spending the moment with family makes it a day to always remember.