Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chasing Wingbeats with Reevo...

“By the Truck, (expert goose calling), circling around the pivot, (expert goose calling), cupped up into the final pass, (expert goose calling) (expert goose calling)


With that kind of build up, you think I might have had a little bit of waterfowl fevah?

You gosh darn right!

Recently I was given the opportunity to field goose hunt with two waterfowl masters, Cody and Mark “Pops” Reeves from Belly Up Guide Service.   What an experience it was.

We only took one goose.  It didn’t matter.

What I was left with was a understanding to the level of commitment and dedication these guys put into it, molded around a watching a father and son spend time doing something they wouldn’t trade for a million dollars.

 I got the call the night before and with 400-600 birds in the field they had leased,  I really didn’t sleep much.   The alarm bell hit at 315am and I shot from the bed ready to roll.  One things for certain, waterfowlers are not a group who accept lateness.  If you’re late, you get left holding your you know what in your hands.

Arriving at the Reeves house at 4am, I entered to see what their great family was all about.  Pictures lined the wall of family with a deep connection to baseball, family, religion and time outside chasing wild game.  It reminded me a whole lot of my childhood home and I felt at home instantly.  

Everything about their operation had me smiling.  To their classic 1977 Chevy Scottsdale pickup loaded to the brim with decoys to their pre trip prayer, it was an experience in routine, preparation and superstition.  Same stuff I go through with my dad.  If we roll out to steelhead fish without stopping at the Lewiston McDonalds, the day feels off.  I am sure the same goes for Cody and Mark.  When decoys are put out, it’s always an odd number.  Hunting superstition and baseball superstition are close brothers.

Through field prep before sunrise, I really saw how much detail they go to make their hunts successful.  The orientation of the wind dictated where our ground blinds sat and around that,  the strategic placement of their goose decoys.  41 to be exact.  You can tell they have spent a lot of time watching live birds work the fields, interact and behave.  Details baby, details are the key to success

First light cresting over the horizon had us thoroughly camoed up in our blinds awaiting our first flights of birds.  Within 20 minutes, the sharp and shrill honk of the northern birds broke the utter silence of the quiet morning.

Then Cody went to work.

With a strong background of calling competitions, the dude can really speak goose.  We were hailing birds from way out and getting their attention.  

In for inspection they came, circling 2, 3, sometimes 4 times before skating off at the very last second.

Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen.

We changed our decoy orientation.  Dusted off the hard layer of frost that accumulated in the hours after set up.  Still these late season honkers detected something that got them to flare off to somewhere else.

One group did land, albeit behind us giving only Cody a shot to take the lone bird of the day .

It didn’t matter; I had a hell of a time.

It had been a long time since I had been able to get that excited over hunting.  Camoed up and sunk into the ground blind, I haven’t shaken that much with buck fever since I was 12 years old on my first deer hunt.  I was totally enveloped into the process of watching and listening to Cody and his Dad  work the birds to come check us out.

It made me feel so darn alive.

Beyond that, I really enjoyed watching the relationship between Cody and Mark.  It reminded me so much of the bond my father and I have.  Cody has taken the cumulative 45 years experience of hunting experience that Mark has and taken it to the next level.  Far beyond jealousy, Mark beams with pride watching Cody take his passion into new grounds.  It’s truly a joy to be a part of a day where these two guys work their magic.

Noon hit and with that the majority of the geese flights of the day had passed and we all stood up and shook away the frigid day.  We laughed, knowing you just can’t control everything.  A day with high expectations of limits gave us the run around. 

And like I said before…It didn’t matter

I got the chance to be a part of what it’s all about.  Family, fellowship and a beautiful day spent outdoors. 


 Want to hunt or fish with Belly Up Guide Service and the Reeves boys? 
Shoot me an email at jmills81 at hotmail dot com and I will get you their contact information. 

1 comment:

  1. Count me in for a hunt with these guys next season! I'll hit you up for the info.