Big Game Hunter in Training

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Last year was my son’s first year of hunting.  You have to be 12 to hold any hunting license at all in NY and at least 14 to hunt big game.  The biggest game that a 12 or 13 year old can harvest in NY are turkeys and Canadian geese, so that is what we chased.  It was the best preparation for big game hunting that I could come up with to reinforce safe gun handling, stalking, and the hard, hard lesson of patiently waiting in a blind. 

One the first weekend of goose season we dressed in full camo and went out before dawn Saturday morning.  We scared some birds away from the near shore of a large pond as we approached the water in the darkness. They honked their way over the dark water to the far side of the large pond but did not take flight.

We set some decoys and did a little calling trying to get then to come back when the sun came up, but they were not interested.  We eventually tried to work around the pond ( +/- ½ mile walk) to get closer to them.  We got within about 50 yards when they went up.  We tried a couple of shots, but it was no real surprise that they were without result.  Still, we had seen geese and my son had taken his first shot at game so I called the day a success.

Saturday evening the geese returned, but it was after legal shooting time.

Sunday morning we attempted the same ambush on the near shore but, they busted us before we were within range (again!)

Sunday night we checked two ponds.  There were no geese on either at the close of legal shooting time. 

Monday morning we set up to ambush at dawn on the 2nd  pond.  There were no geese there when the sun came up.

We proceeded back to the first pond, but since we had been harassing the flock for two days and the sun was already up – i.e. we were visible they busted us at +/- 200 yards and took off for parts unknown (yet again!).

Last night – the owner of the smaller pond called us to say “Come get them!” as there were geese landing on the pond just before sundown.  That gave us 30 minutes of legal shooting time.  So we piled in the car just as we were – no boots, no camo.  I was in jeans and a T shirt, he was in shorts, shirt and sandals! 

We parked 200 yards from the water’s edge and on the far side of a small wooded rise with tree cover that went right to the water’s edge.  Then S-L-O-W-L-Y sneaked the last 75 yards to just shy of the water’s edge.  That put the geese at about 40 yards from where we were on the shore.  There was a sentry bird standing on a small island keeping watch for danger while the rest of the small flock fed in the shallows around the island. 

My son took careful aim.  I could see his hands tremble as he braced himself for the big 12's recoil, then his shot echoed across the pond and dropped the sentry bird !

It’s not only his first goose, but the first game animal he has ever hunted. 

Gentlemen, we have another hunter in the ranks.  By the time we used the canoe to retrieve the goose and get back home for photos it was fully dark, but by the miracle of flash photography here is the happy hunter and his trophy (photo attached).

Later in the fall he took another Canadian goose with me in a local barnyard.  The photo of him and that goose was posted on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website.

Not a bad start for a first year of hunting!  We can hardly wait for next year's deer season!


Deer Slayer's picture

Excellent job on the story,

Excellent job on the story, it was a great read. You have some nice pictures there as well. Congratulations to your son on a very nice looking goose. I bet that was a crazy hunt. You are all dressed in camo and you couldn't get a shot. Then, you come in street clothes and bam, he connects. He sure looks like one happy hunter. Thanks for sharing your story. 


Rem2arms's picture

That young hunter's gonna be

That young hunter's gonna be a force to recon with real soon with your guidence, Good looking goose and I bet was good eating too. Good story and Congrat's !!

ManOfTheFall's picture

Congratulations on the very

Congratulations on the very nice goose. I really liked the story and had a fun time reading it. Also some very nice pictures you have there as well. It sounded like those goose gave you guys fits. All dressed up in camo and they kept on busting you. Then the landowner calls and says get over here right now and you show up in street clothes, put on a stalk and your son nails his fitst goose. I would say the smile on his face tells it all.

jim boyd's picture

Mike, That is a great story


That is a great story and a couple of great photographs to go along with it.

You have a new hunter in the ranks, that is for sure.

I would say that you are "planting the seeds" that will create yet another generation of hunters - which only serves to perpetuate our sport and we thank you.

That is a great looking young man and I wait rather impatiently for the story in which you highlight him and his first deer!

I loved the mental images of you two in street clothes (and sandals!) creeping up on the birds... we spend so much on camo and he got his first in short pants!

Thanks for the great tale!


GooseHunter Jr's picture

That is a great story and

That is a great story and gotta love getting the young ones out there andn getting it done.  I caanot wait til the day when my 5 year old is old enough to start pulling the trigger on some geese and then bigger game!

Tndeerhunter's picture


Mike, You might already know that I really like it when a plan comes together!! And here is a perfect example of somone making/having that happen.


Really good stuff!


groovy mike's picture

Thank you


I'm not real good at most things I do, but I DO try to stick with it! 

Thankfully, sooner or later God usually rewards persistence!

jaybe's picture

That is so cool! To see him

That is so cool!

To see him there with shorts, tee shirt and sandals is priceless!

Not only are you teaching the young man to hunt, but to be flexible as well.

Congrats to him on the harvest.

Keep up the good work, and we look forward to seeing more pictures when he is old enough to shoot larger game.


groovy mike's picture


Thanks Jaybe.   Just goes to show you that it is more important to be where the game is than to worry about every detail of camo and scent control etcetera.