Let's Start the Fire

posted on March 24, 2015

“I’m not doing this to smell the smoke; I wanna start the fire.”

Our travel companion George Kolodi uttered those words during our 24-hour trek out to South Dakota earlier this week. He said them in regards to the region’s spring snow goose harvest—we’d heard some good things, and excitement was building. But he wasn’t interested in just hearing about piles of light geese … he wanted to start making them.

And on Tuesday, that’s what we did.

I’ll grant you that 42 birds isn’t a huge number by conservation season standards, but it was a heck of a lot of fun, regardless. Five hunters and one dog picked away at small groups of birds throughout a windy, wet day on the South Dakota prairie, and we left happy with our harvest. The skunk was out of the box within minutes of our settling into the pit, and action never slowed for long.

Some Day 2 Highlights:

  • My NRA companion, Assistant Editor Jon Draper, narrowly avoided getting brained by a falling blue goose on one of the last volleys of the day. It got stonewalled by steel shot some 50 yards straight above the pit, and came tumbling down at us. I sought cover immediately—largely because I’ve seen this kind of thing happen before—but Jon tried to ride it out. He had to dodge late.
  • Our 42-bird total was a healthy mix of snows, blue geese and Ross’ geese. Monday was Ross heavy, but things swung back to a more normal distribution on Tuesday.
  • Nearly getting himself knocked unconscious aside, Draper had an excellent day. He knocked down more than his fair share of birds, all with the Benelli Ethos. If he’s not the first hunter to purposely turn the Ethos loose on snow geese, I know he’s got to be at least among the first two or three. We really should ask.
  • For the record, our hunting party (pictured below with Monday’s trophy shot) consists of (from left to right): Rick DeWitt, George Kolodi, Web Managing Editor Shawn Skipper, Garrett (our guide), Assistant Editor Jon Draper, Pat Skipper and Tank the golden retriever.


Stay tuned for more coverage as the week rolls on, folks.


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