After making the drive across the GTA and up to the lodge just outside of Walkerton, Kevin Beasley headed out with owner/outfitter Steve Todtz to do some evening scouting. After checking several fields and getting a lay of the land, we settled at the edge of a half-cut cornfield that Steve was planning to have us hunt in the morning. As the sun started to set, the flocks of Canadian Geese started pouring into the field in great numbers. Some flocks of ducks followed as well, but clearly we’d found the goose hotspot. Steve believes that scouting is the most important aspect of running his outfit and ensuring successful waterfowl hunts. By watching where the birds fed that night, we could put ourselves in the best spot the following day. Odds are the birds would return to the same spot to feed again in the morning, and we’d be there waiting for them.
Peter Smallman-Tew, the current President of Yamaha Canada, joined Kevin for the hunt. An avid hunter himself, it was great to spend time with him and get an inside look into how truly passionate Yamaha is about promoting the sport and providing hunters and outfitters with top-quality gear.
After an early breakfast, the crew hopped in the trucks and headed out to the field. We got out there nice and early, giving us plenty of time to set up the decoys and get ourselves hidden in the standing corn, near where all the geese had been landing the previous night.
Joining our crew for the morning was the landowner’s son Tate, a passionate and knowledgeable young hunter, and Grey Bruce guide Garret. As the sun began to peak over the horizon, we were all set and ready to go. The quiet of dawn was soon interrupted by some distant honking. The geese were up and flying. We began seeing small flocks and singles cruising across the skyline, but they either hadn’t noticed our spread or weren’t yet ready to feed. Then, out of nowhere, two wood ducks came whistling into our spread, and it was game on.
Anyone who has hunted them knows how beautiful woodies are, and how much fun they are to hunt. With our first two birds on the board, we waited patiently for the big flocks of geese we knew were coming. As the sun rose higher in the sky that seemed to flip the switch for us. It started with two big Canadas circling into our decoy from behind, and for the next couple hours, we had flock after flock flying overhead and coming into our decoys. Steve’s scouting had paid off, and we were perfectly situated.
By the end of the morning, we put down a five-man limit of geese, and a smattering of ducks to go with it. Aside from the awesome hunting, watching Steve’s dog Taz’s endless energy and enthusiasm retrieving birds, and seeing Tate’s excitement after making some long shots, made for a memorable morning.
With our goose limits full, we set out to target some ducks for the afternoon. Steve set us up in a willow blind at the edge of a large field. Again, the landowner’s son, Jordan, joined us. The amount of birds we saw flying in the area was impressive, and we were able to bring in a number of beautiful, full-plumage drake mallards. Huge flocks of geese teased us all night as well, almost like they knew we had filled our tags and couldn’t shoot them.
The next morning we again setup in a half-cut cornfield and tried to repeat our success from the previous morning. Unfortunately, the geese and Mother Nature had other ideas, but we managed to have a great morning nonetheless, and brought enough goose meat back to camp for a terrific snack on the grill. When cooked properly, goose breasts and hearts make for a delicious meal.
Our final afternoon had us set up in a blind in the middle of a large field, adjacent to a swamp. The heavy winds might have inhibited our hunt, but they did not dampen our mood. We blended in the blind the best we could and hunkered down for the night. It seemed at first that today was just not our day, as we watched flock after flock of ducks flooding into the swamp a couple hundred yards away. But our perseverance paid off, and later in the evening we tricked up a few flocks of woodies and ended up having an exciting hunt, despite the poor weather conditions.
And just like that, our hunt was over. It had been a whirlwind couple of days, with lots of laughs, tons of great shooting, and a nice bounty of goose meat to put in the freezer. Though we do love travelling across the country and seeing all that it has to offer, this hunt was a great reminder of how much we love our home province of Ontario and not to overlook the amazing hunting opportunities right here in our own neck of the woods. Thanks to Steve and his team at Grey Bruce Outfitters for hosting us at their beautiful place, and for some great southern Ontario waterfowl hunting!