Goose hunt

Pictured from left are Steve Merlo, Brett Sill, Duffy Sill, and John Tkac with a nice bevy of geese bagged during a past trip to Oklahoma.

Readers may recall about a year ago when I wrote a column about a trip I took to Oklahoma some time ago with my son Mark.

One of my old skeet shooting friends, Jim Prall, who lives in Tulsa, put me in touch with a waterfowl guide he knew in the area.

His name was Jack Moore, and wow, did we ever have a great hunt. Lots of Mallards every day, and, the highlight of the trip being able to bag some Canada geese that Jack lured into a horse corral behind a home outside of town.

At the end of the column I mentioned that I would make the same trip a few years later..."but, that's another story down the road." Well, it's time for that story.

I think it was about three years after the hunt that I called Steve Merlo and asked if he wanted to make a return trip with me. He was all for it, and said we had some mutual friends that might like to tag along also. We contacted local businessmen John Tkac and Duffy Sill who said they were ready to go, and Duffy said his son Brett could make the trek with us, also.

A direct flight right out of Meadows Field and suddenly we were in Tulsa, Oklahoma being met at the airport by Jack Moore. He took us to a hotel he had booked for the trip, and we arranged for an early morning meeting time.

During that first night at the hotel, we all had one of the strangest weather happenings any of us could ever recall. Jack said there was a low pressure system moving into the Tulsa area overnight, and we would probably have much cooler weather the next morning, as well as wind.

When we all arose about 4 a.m.., the temperature was in the upper 60-degree range. As we stood outside waiting for Jack to show up, we could all fill a sudden change in that number. In less than 20 minutes, the temperature plunged into the low 40s. I cannot recall ever feeling anything like that during my life here in California. It was just plain eerie. We were all just laughing about it.

Jack was right about the wind. By the time we reached a field he had selected for a goose shoot, it was just howling like crazy. At least 30 mph steady, with gusts to 40 or 50.

We built a tumbleweed blind right along a fence line, and had a terrific hunt. The birds that worked the field looked like they were hardly moving as they fought the wind. We had one huge bunch of at least 150 or more fly by and the guys blasted into them. Looking back at the video of that shot I could see at least 15 birds fall out of the flock.

I think it is the most birds I have ever seen bagged at one time by a group of hunters I was filming with. Just awesome.

That night we had a light snowfall but it did not bother the ducks we were able to get into the next couple of days. Jack had some really terrific sloughs that were available, and the Mallards were right "in your face" most of the time.

Looking back on that trip just makes me smile. There is nothing better than being in the field with good friends, seeing the wonders of nature, nice rooms and meals, and having terrific shooting. I gotta' get back there one more time before I get too much older.

BASIC FIREARMS & HUNTER EDUCATION COURSE: Next course offered: July 13-14, two day course. July 15 is an internet follow-up course. This is sponsored by Jay Busby. For more information call 661-871-9025.

Ken Barnes is a record setting shooter and longtime outdoorsman from Kern County. Email him at ken.barnes@aol.com with comments or column ideas.

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