I have hunted and fished all my life, but one of my more recent memorable outings had to be goose hunting in the Dakotas. South Dakota is well known for its waterfowl, goose, ducks, and upland game bird, pheasants. This is a very desirable place for hunters who like to scout upland birds.
Our hunt was on the Indian reservation in the city of Sisseton. We also went to Fort Sisseton the first fort in the Dakota territories. This fort was built even before South Dakota was a state and manned by Buffalo Soldiers in the late 1800’s for a period of time. Fort Sisseton is one of the best preserved frontier forts in the country. Walking through the fort and seeing how they had to live shows how difficult it was to survive on the prairie. Pictures of Buffalo Soldiers hung all over the walls of the fort, believe me the Brothers were very impressive. They were clean, stylin’ and profilin’.
In South Dakota you can’t start hunting pheasant until noon, so before the sun came up our prey was Canadian Geese. The first thing we had to do is set up the decoys in the dark. Our Guide had spotted several flocks of geese earlier that morning, but he stated he had seen at least five thousand the night before. So we set up in this 1000 acre cut cornfield with about 50 to 60 decoys strategically set out in the middle. In between and around these decoys we put down fastgrass. Fastgrass is like a burlap bag with artificial grass woven in it to look like corn stubble and grass. Lying down on our backs we covered ourselves with more fastgrass; once camouflaged, we waited patiently for the geese to come in.
Our guide had called out to the birds and they were headed our way. The sun was about to break through the horizon as the wave of geese got closer. Suddenly, the geese were over head and our guide told us when to sit up and take aim. It wasn’t long before the quest was over and I had my geese.
It is very important that we harvest a certain amount of geese because of the vast population of these birds. Canadian Geese like to eat farm crops and many of farmers have been inundated by the pesky birds; that’s why a lot of farmers and hunters work together. As our day ended, I look up at the fading stars realizing that this is the same sky the great Buffalo Soldier looked up at. Wide open spaces, peace of mind, fresh air and freedom, what a combination and of course plenty of good wild game to cook and eat. Now that’s Urban American Style!