Geese at the granary

hunter calling geese

Goose hunter Mike Goodwin, hunkered down in brush, takes a short pause to watch approaching geese he has convinced to come his way. The hunt was west of Humphrey, Arkansas off Arkansas Highway 13 near Crooked Creek. I was unexpectedly invited to be the guest photographer.

Old granary

Click on the old granary for the the start of the story.

Garnering an invitation to photograph a Grand Prairie goose hunt was the last thing I expected when I set out to photograph the old granary where Crooked Creek crosses Arkansas Highway 13, west of Humphrey, Arkansas. But then one does not question the favors of fate. Find out how this story started and see pictures of the old granary on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. We’ll wait here.

After shooting the old building, I drove to a field full of geese nearby, dismounted, approached them, spooked them to rise, and photographed them. As I left the field, I noticed a truck pulling up at the old granary. Believing I might have a source of information about the building, I approached the driver, explained what I was doing and asked about the old building. He did not reveal a lot about the building, but did invite me to be a part of the goose hunt he was supervising. Without hesitation, I agreed.

hunter and dog along irrigation canal

Goose hunter Mike Goodwin and his Labrador Retriever, Star. We joined Mike and Star as they pursued the hunt. They are facing the general direction of approaching geese. To their rear is a field where Mike has placed a dozen or so very realistic goose decoys.

See more pictures of the goose hunt in our Weekly Grist Gallery

hunters watching approaching geese

Megan Kerr (center) watches as Mike Goodwin (right) calls geese in. Megan's friend Lee Anne Woodall (left) joined the group. She had no camouflage, so she is doing her best to hide behind the brush. Geese have wary eyes for humans.

Mike called in two groups of geese. The first group of geese won and flew on their way. Most of the time the geese win. That’s why there are so many geese. When the second group came in, Megan bagged her first goose. Star, the lab retriever did her duty and brought the felled goose back to Mike. After that, the geese began to make their way back to their roosting areas for the night. They have an early bed time.

Loading game to four wheeler

Steve who invited me to the hunt, loads geese onto the four wheeler which will carry us back to our trucks, which are specks on the horizon.

See more pictures of the goose hunt in our Weekly Grist Gallery

Geese flying to their roosting areas

As afternoon turns to early evening, geese head for their roosting areas for the night, well out of the range of hunters. Smart birds.

 We were privileged to be the guests in the practice of a time-honored outdoor sport in which hunters ply their learned skills against wary natural instincts eons in the making. Most of the time the instincts win. That’s the sport.

dog retrieving goose

Click on "Star" the lab for more pictures

SEE OUR Weekly Grist Gallery
for more pictures

We’ve posted 29 pictures of the hunt and granary in our Weekly Grist Gallery including Star retrieving the goose, the four wheeler ride, calling geese, geese in formation flight, and geese on the water. It gives us goose-bumps just to think about it.

The pictures are larger and easier to see than the pictures on this page. Click and look.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


The Tip of the Gooseberg

Thousands of geese object to my presence by taking to the air. They are south of Sherrill AR.

Thousands of geese object to my presence by taking to the air. They are south of Sherrill AR.

We’re taking a look at Snow Geese in Arkansas. The story started on Corndancer Dot Com’s picture of the week page. If you want to check out the beginnings of this tale, a very cool thing to do, click here. The numbers of geese here in the midsouth are staggering. This is probably a medium sized flock. The larger ones can go upwards to hundreds of thousands of geese.

Geese, unlike ducks, prefer sloppy, muddy locations, with an apparent preference for soybean fields. I say this, having observed a lot of geese so located. If there is scientific evidence to the contrary, I stand corrected.

Geese in and above a "buckshot" field near Sherrill AR.

Mostly snow and blue geese in and above a "buckshot" field near Sherrill AR.

The dreaded Delta ooze

This particular field was composed of “buckshot” or “gumbo,” two terms used to describe the most onery dirt on the planet. When this dark umber soil is dry, it is as hard as a brick. When it is wet, it is a gooey, slimey, sticky mess, the  nature of which one would expect to encounter in the worst, over the top,  “ooze” horror flick. When you walk on wet buckshot, your size 12s become size 32 extra wides after a few steps. That is if you manage to lift your feet from the sticky mess. You also become taller. I need this condition like Andy Rooney needs more eyebrows.

I say all this, because if you expect to shoot the geese in a rise and/or in the air, you must walk toward them. Otherwise they will, for the most part, sit and look at you and continue to honk, eat and defecate, not necessarily in that order.

As I walked to get the above shot, I missed the biggest part of the “rise,” because the gumbo soil was trying to eat my left shoe. I was trying to extricate by lower extremity with one hand and shoot with the other, else I would have wound up face down in the slime. To make matters worse, the geese had been there before me, if you get my drift.

I managed to slog out of the field, then removed my now 10 pound each shoes, and pitch them in the bed of the truck. I drove home in my sock feet. It took two applications of quarters at a car wash to get the shoes clean. The car wash drain may never be the same.

The mystery barn. Why the diagonal cut walls. Stay tuned. I know a guy who lives nearby. I'll find out.

The mystery barn. Why the diagonal cut walls? I know a guy who lives nearby. I'll find out.

The Mystery Barn

On the way home, I encountered this barn. I’ve driven by it at least a jillion times. In a former life, my livelihood required that I be in the neighborhood frequently. It finally dawned on me that the door is awkwardly shaped, or the walls are cut diagonally, or perhaps all of the above. Inquiring minds, at least this one, want to know why. As luck would have it, a friend of mine lives close by. Certainly, surely, he can explain. Stay tuned next week.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey

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