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Shooting Honkers

Shooting Honkers image
Parent Issue
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OCR Text

1 Wild goose hunting on the plains of ( the northwest is a sport which always ( has great charm even for the ( enced Nirnrod. It is a sport replete i with incident and a recreation which must once be indulged in to be i oughly appreciated. The wild goose is known in all parts of North America, out in no section of the country does i this bird appcar in such numbers as in that territory lying between the Red river val ley and the Missouri river. There the geese swaim in countless numbers and beoome corpulont on the grains of No. 1 hard which have been shaken f rom the stalk by the reaper and are lying in the stubble overywhere. Large numbers of the birds are killed by resident hunters and for eastern markets, but no apparcnt diminntion is noticeable in the aize and number of the flocks to be seen when the shooting season begins each year. An hour's lively sport with the I1011kera on the wheatficlds of North Dakota rneáns btit one thing to the inexperienced hunter, and that issomething for his pains, especially if he happens to get in a well concealed stand directly in the line of rlight. ïhen it isnothing uncommon for him to "tnmble over" a wagon lond of geese in very short order. Wild geese are a staple commodity in North Dakota and readily bring from $2.50 to $3 per dozen during the shooting season. In the little towns and stations along the Northern Pacific railway, during the f all and spring flights, almost everybody turns out for a few honrs in the morning and toward the close of the day to shoot at the geese, and a right warm reception are the birds treated to. Many will ride to the outskirts of the town and shoot from a buggy or wagon at the passing myriads overhead and occasionally bring down a bird at long range. The hunter who is out for business and. is ehooting for market and the rnoney there is in it drives out 10 or 15 miles over tha prairie several hours before daylight, and after sclecting a spot where the geese have been seen in great ntimbers the day before digs a pit in the ground large enough to conceal himself and arrauges the stubble or grass about the mouth of it so as to present a natural appearance. Close by he plants his decoys and settles back in the pit and anxiously áwaits the coming of the morning. It ia still daik, but from every quarter of the prairie come sounds of animal iife which foretell the coming of a new day. The mournfnl cry of the rlew is heard "overhead, and a flock oí plover demónstrate their close prosimity by the hurtling noise of their wings. For some time he sita in a cramped position, listening to the booming notes of a prairie chicken, wbich bird is pour; ing forth a volume of drumlike sounds. The sharp yelp of a coyote not far away i is unmistakable evidence that that i thriving, skulking animal has jumped ■ np a cottop tail and is hustling for an early breakfast. At thefirst peeping Of the gray dawn the hunter suddenly ; hears a welcome sound - the faint and j faraway honk-honk of the goose. He examines his gun and notes the direcj tiou of the sound. Nearer and nearer : the sound comes, and finally he ven tures to take a peep out of the pit and discovers the distant outlines of a large flock spread out V shaped in the rnornj ing sky, bearing off to one eide. Ap! parently they have not seen the decoys, I and the hunter thinks it is yet toodark. Suddenly the leader is seen to waver, and with !oud cries the flock turns and circles around the decoys as if suspicious of their genuineness, but drawing nearer at each turn. They have approached within easy shooting distance, and just as soon as the flock pitches down among the decoys the lond bang! bang! of a heavily loaded shotgun is heard, and two puffs of smoke are seen coming apparently from the surface of the eartb a short distance away. Several geese are lying on the ground, and one is skimming away over the prairie with a tipped wing. Some other flocks appear, and the shooting becomes lively until the snn is f ully two hours high, when the flocks diminish, both in size and number, and with the exception of a few straggiers the morniug flight is over. Orystal Springsisthe name of a smal! station on the Northe::n Pacific, 30 milea west of Jamestown, N. D. There are several small alkali lakes in close proximity to the station and a number of Bprings in the hillsnear by, from whicb the place gained its name. The town proper consists of a depot, boarding house and water tank and a population not exceeding 10 souls. üne April morning a few years or so since the writer, in company with the telegraph operator at the place, sallied forth in quest of geese, large flocks of which were seen circling around and alighting on a small lake, fringed with bushes and tall grajs. not over a mile from the station. After a full hour spent in crawling over tli) ground and keeping sut of sight as much as possible the hunters crept through the grass to the bushes and luokecl cautiously out. Upward of 1,000 geese were sporting on the water, iflng, squawking and carrying on at a great rate. When the edge of the flock had come within 30 yards the hunteis raised their guns and gave them a barrel, following it np with the remumiug barrel as they rose heavily from the water. Twenty-eightgecs were gathered up as the rsult of the Bhot, 24 of them the white or bram geese. The remaining tour were fiue specimens of that wariest of all birds of its species - the bhickhead or Canadian goose. The morning's work was highly satisfactory


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News