Case: Wild goose chase in Ohio was a rewarding journey

Photo contributed by Larry Case / Hunters pose with Canada geese during an early season hunt in northern Ohio. The Canada goose population increase has been a problem around the shores of Lake Erie since the 1960s, and hunting is used to help reduce the number of these birds, which can cause environmental, agricultural and property damage.

I glanced over at Big Jim McConville and thought he looked like a coiled spring (albeit a really big coiled spring). We were both crouched in a brushy ditch with water above our ankles (this level changed later). Jim had a M3500 Stoeger shotgun clamped in his big mitts, and he was working his goose call profusely: E-yonk! E-Yonk! Yonk, yonk, yonk!

His plaintive calls must have sounded good to the gang of Canada geese about 400 yards out, because they turned slightly and came in our direction.

"They turned! Get down!" somebody to my left hissed.

It seemed a given that we all should do that, but we obeyed.

Now the geese were close, and you could hear the soft chatter in the flock. The tension of the eight or so gunners in our waterlogged blind was palpable, and you could almost hear it crackle like static electricity up and down the ditch.