Windy goose mornings

Windy skies greeting the hunter & his catch

Storm Eunice is smiling as she takes off from our shores leaving the Netherlands with broken roofs and trees torn down. At 5 am me and the 3 black musketeers are sailing the highway.. brave Miss Ford is smiling back at Eunice and shortly past 7 we arrive safely in Friesland welcomed by a shower of rain.

My host Lieuwe is on his way to the field with his fellow hunters and I am late due to bad weather, so it will be a quick pitt stop and off to the field.

“You’ll find coffee at the table and be careful Gurbe is outside and will greet you passionately..”

Rumi awaiting a retrieve

I take Rumi out of the car when the first goose finds her way in the water.. a deep waterway and Rumi looks like a weightlifter on a day after a night out claiming a workout anyway. I just love her spirit to work – not even the stiffness of a 2 hour car drive stops her from working wholeheartedly.

On my way to our hiding place in the reed, a big Grey goose is hit but does not fall down immediately and lands rather far on a plowed field. Rumi does not seem to have noticed that it has landed. With pheasants and ducks Rumi spots an injuired bird immediately and will start running on its way down. With geese I can can tell she has not learned to tell the difference on a long distance yet. The goose lands somewhere 150 meters. In thick mud. So we give it a go as a blind. She runs about 80 meters and deviates to the left – then to the right. Of course..she wants to work on the wind.. I want to maintain her obedience on the cast. Finally she accepts the straight line and I feel very content. Then a hare comes out of hiding and runs across the field just in front of Rumi. Ships. A quick “no” from my side and she continues on the cast. Wauw that was some accomplishment for us. After another 30 meters I see her deviating to the left.. I decide to say nothing as her body language says it all. The goose has been found. It takes a fair amount of time for her to galop back to me in the sticky soil – I think she must have been further away than my estimated distance.. and the goose is rather lively when I pick it up. I must admit – a flatcoated retriever has the perfect size to retrieve these big birds and Rumi knows exactly how to get a perfect hold now. Wauw what a great retrieve.

A shot – do I need to mark another retrieve?

This is my third time in the same is crazy to observe how much damage on the grassland is being created by geese. The following photos are from the second last time showing what geese do to the soil and grass:

They stamp the soil and then water cannot pass anymore
And they eat everything and leave CO2 rich droppings. Farmers can apply for financial support when their crop has been damaged. This costs a lot of money for tax payers. Hunting is not just bringing home meat. It is very much about preservation of flora and fauna especially in a country such as the Netherlands continuously fighting water.
This photo is taken closely to where I live. All the wet and empty bits on the field are caused by geese. Such a piece of land can not be used to extract hay to feed farm animals or horses anymore. The farmer has to work the land (ploughing and re-sowing) again in order to restore its use.

After the long cast I reach our hiding place.. despite the cold and the hailstorm I regret wearing thermo undergarments at this point. Walking in the mud is a fairly good workout especially with a heavy goose in the bag. But no time to rest because suddenly Rumi disappears without any notice for a retrieve on water that I missed completely. Not so good for the obedience but perfect for the retrieve. Later the hunter explained how the goose had fallen into a tree in between the reed and how he and Rumi had collaborated in getting the bird out of the tree in the water and then out of the water again. For these kind of situations I am very thankful for Rumi’s perseverance and tough cookieness because a gun dog who is softer and less motivated would have not gone to the extreme needed in these waters.

Same waterway – different retrieve. I am standing on large wooden baskets placed in the water for preserving fish fauna. A really difficult water entry for a dog. Rumi is in the water on the left and at the right side her retrieve is waiting. photo by hunter Piet.

It was a morning full of impressions..Nature in her power, strong winds, rain as if in a waterfall, hail and warm sunlight caressing our cheek. Lovely company – good retrieves, some frustrating ones and a funny one (after a long search in reed Rumi came out with a ammunition shell in her mouth). But most of all a lovely day in the field with pleasant company-enjoying working with Rumi and Nature in her February power.

Happiness at the end of the rainbow

Our day was very retrieving rich – the “guns” (slang for hunters) were skilled and Rumi and I had a tough time getting it all done. Time to start hunting with multiple dogs, so we must speed up the youngsters’ education. Thank you to my host Lieuwe and his fellow hunters and thank you beautiful Friesland for your endless raw beauty. Looking forward to preparing the big lads awaiting our dinner table.

%d bloggers like this: