Niagara Gazette


November 3, 2013

HILTS: Lake Ontario stakeholders push Caledonia for salmon


Niagara Gazette — Great waterfowl opener

After getting blown out on Saturday with high winds and rain (yes, we chickened out), we decided to group up for our “opening day” ritual a day late on Sunday morning in the Town of Lockport. The group was led by John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda and Bob Lods of Cheektowaga. It also included Kevin Gunther of Niagara Falls; Paul Laubacker of Lockport; Paul Sawicki of Angola; and me. Thanks to very muddy conditions, we had to use a four wheeler to get all our equipment back into the field. We met at 5:30 a.m. and set up shop with over 100 decoys – primarily full bodied geese.

It started around 7:30 a.m. with a flock of ducks, pintails that were surprised by a corn field filled with shotguns and hunters. Mallards were next. Then it was a combination of mallards and Canada geese. Within two hours, we had our limit of 30 geese and a dozen ducks to show for our efforts. It took us longer to set up and tear down than the actual hunt, but it was worth it.

Thanks to come great calling by Van Hoff and Lods, in addition to a super layout set of decoys, we were able to pull birds in from far off. This was our opening day contribution to controlling the nuisance population of geese — at least for most of us. Lods couldn’t sit at home no matter how bad the weather for the Saturday opener so he headed over to Iroquois to try and get a blind, hoping someone wouldn’t make it. He received the last blind available and managed to have some of his best refuge shooting ever, collecting eight mallards and four pintails before he called it a day. What’s a little rain and wind?

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