thoughts from the field

this was reader submitted by Todd Kosel of Edgeley, North Dakota 

The alarm rang at 4:01 early Canada Goose hunting has finally arrived. My buddy Lee banged
his arm on the dresser turning on the light, so I heard a few words I can’t repeat here. As we
got into the pickup anticipation was heavy for a great hunt. The barley field we had scouted
the night before was full of geese, six different bunches spread out across a half a mile.
As I was driving, I got to thinking, why does everyone want to go deer hunting but other forms
of hunting are dropping. North Dakota has a record number of applicants for big game hunting,
but fewer hunters are taking to the field for waterfowl. Why is this?
We pulled into Matt’s yard to pick him up, the farmer whose land we were about to hunt. After
a two-mile ride we were setting out decoys. Three guys right around the age of 60 doing young
man’s work. After we had finished, I went and parked the pickup a half mile away and started
walking back to the decoys. Again, I got to thinking, why doesn’t anyone hunt waterfowl like
they used too. I buy two duck stamps every year just incase my son’s might want to go, but
they are both busy living in Fargo with jobs and I haven’t shot a duck in years.
As we waited for the geese the sun rose and nothing was flying. The temperature was warm,
and we only had two small groups come even close. We were able to scratch four geese which
was a little disappointing compared to our previous years opening day hunts. We usually quit
when we get to fifteen geese because that is enough to clean. We picked up the decoys and
drove back to Matt’s to clean the geese.
As we drove back to the lake cabin my thoughts again went to deer hunting. My one son and
son-in-law both deer hunt, my other son hasn’t hunted in years. Maybe they don’t hunt
waterfowl, grouse, and pheasant is because they had to eat a lot of it as kids. My sons were
both exposed to hunting at a young age, but busy lifestyles and where they live may play into
the situation why they don’t hunt.
Deer hunting for us is a social event, both son’s, my son-in-law, my buddy Lee all stay at the
lake cabin. Lee and my son Tyler don’t hunt but come for the socializing. We get up early go
sit in the pasture until about 9:30 come back have a big breakfast, take a nap, watch football,
go back out about 2:30 and then come back for supper.
We have a chili feed on the opening Saturday for farmers and ranchers whose land I hunt and a
few of my buddies. Usually around fifteen people or so. Stories are told and lots of laughter is
had. We all have a great time.
So, I believe that is why deer hunting is the most popular, due to the socializing and friendships.
So, us old guys must continue the tradition and expose future generations. Within a few years I
will be able to expose my three grandsons to hunting. By then setting out seventy-five to one-
hundred decoys will be their job. The socializing and deer hunting hopefully will both continue

long after I am gone and future generations of my family will look at photo albums, my hunting
diary and mounts on the wall and relive my hunts. But someone better learn to make the chili.