Wings Over Montana January 2010

 
Wings Over Montana

January 2010 
In This Issue
Welcome
Steve's Corner
Waterfowlers News Article
Montana Artist of the Year
Conservation Issues
Photos from Recent Events
Upcoming Events
SBA Announcements
Chapter Spotlight
A New Year's Tradition
Quick Links
 

Your Montana State Committee


State Chairman
Steve Christian
sjchristian@pplweb.com  
 
Senior Regional Vice President
Bruce Posey
BPOSEY@STREETERBROS.COM  
 
Eastern District Chair
Chet Walsh
cfcwalsh@nemontel.net 
 
State Newsletter
Tammy Jordan
tjordan@windturbinetools.com
 
Western District Chair
Dave Klein
DJKLEIN@hotmail.com 
 
State Package Committee
Edie Hallford
edie.knappins@bresnan.net
 
State Package Committee
George & Kathy Stirner
ltllamas@bresnan.net
 
State Chair Elect
Jim Daugherty
jdaugherty@windturbinetools.com
 
State Greenwing Chairman
Jim Moreland
jim@floortraderofbillings.net
 
State Recuitment Chair
Kathy Christian
kmchristian@pplweb.com

South Central District Chair
Les Jones
snowbear357@hotmail.com 
 
Past State Chairman
Linda Daugherty
ldaugherty@windturbinetools.com
 
State Major Donor Eastern Vice Chair
Michael Wendlandt
mg@apexcompanies.com
 
State Major Gift Chairman
Neil Severinson
neil.severinson@yahoo.com
 
DU Conservation Board
Nora & Fred Taylor
fntaylor@earthlink.net
 
State Treasurer
Randy Schmoldt
RandyS@mtnwestbank.com 
 
Western Zone Chair
Ryle Benke
rylebenke@hotmail.com
 
North Central District Chair
Steve Cunningham
slcstir@yahoo.com
 

Your Montana Area Chairs

Anaconda
Mike McLean
mike@mcleanlawfirm.com
 
Big Sky
Kevin Barton
MTNVIEWTV@aol.com
 
Bigfork
Mark Manders
mmdmanders@centurytel.net
 
Bighorn County - Hardin
Silas Counts III
scounts_iii@yahoo.com
 
Billings
Michael Wendlandt 
mg@apexcompanies.com
 
Bitteroot Valley Dinner
Scott Johnson
scott@prudentialmissoula.com
 
Bitteroot Valley Greenwing
Jon and Sue Miller
jon.miller@jci.com
 
Blackfoot River - Lincoln
Ernie & Renee Lundberg
erlundberg@linctel.net
 
Butte
Quinn McCarthy
Quinn.McCarthy@northwestern.com

Carbon County - Red Lodge
Steve Thuesen
sthuesen@juno.com
 
Colstrip
Steve Christian
sjchristian@pplweb.com
 
Deer Lodge
John Skibsrud
jmskibsrud@peoplepc.com 
 
Flathead Valley - Kalispell
Tom Greiner
tom.greiner@mannmortgage.com
 
Fort Benton
Barb & Bob Thomas
tex@mtintouch.net
 
Gallatin - Madison - Bozeman
Jason Humberger
bmw_mt@yahoo.com
 
Gardiner
Eric Robinson
erobinson@xanterra.com
 
Glendive
Kyle Robinson
griffno24@hotmail.com
 
Great Falls
Tom McElroy
tomducks@yahoo.com
 
Helena
Jerry Hallford
jhallford@m-m.net
 
Hi Line - Havre
James Bachini
406-265-2485

Kootenai Valley - Libby
Jon Jeresek
jjeresek@fs.fed.us

Lewistown
Tim Hartford
printmgr@lewistownnews.com
 
Medicine Valley
Josh Johnson
joshjoh@nemontel.net
 
Milk River - Malta
Kathy Tribby
parrsace@yahoo.com
 
Milk River - Malta
Ken Weiderrick
406-654-2245
 
Mission Valley - Polson
Chip Kurzenbaum
chip_kurzenbaum@yahoo.com

Missoula

John Dilatush

1-jrd@bresnan.net

479-225-7888
 
Missouri Milk River - Glasgow
Ken Jansa
kjansa@valleybankglasgow.com
 
Montana State University
Kjel Olson
kjel.olson@myportal.montana.edu
 
Plentywood
Cindy Wilson
challes32@yahoo.com 
Home: 406-895-2691

Cell: 406-895-7998


Ravelli - Hamilton - Sponsor
Bill Reed
bosk2420@aol.com
 
Roosevelt County - Froid
Art Ryder
406-963-2262
 
Rosebud County - Forsyth
Doug Martens
martens@wbaccess.net
 
Saunders County - Thompson Falls - Plains
Nate Hall
Nate.Hall@avistacorp.com
 
Scobey
Richard Kerstein
4buttes@nemontel.net
 
Sidney
Stacey McNally
irishmcnally@hotmail.com
 
University of Montana
Open
 
Upper Missouri - Townsend
Ernie Nunn
 
Valley Wide - Sponsor
Dave Klein
DJKLEIN@hotmail.com
 
White Sulpher Springs
Donny Babcock
dbabcock@ttc-cmc.net
 
Wolf Point
Jerald Petersen
jeraldpetersen@westernbankwp.com

 

Welcome!!

 
Welcome to the January 2010 edition of Montana Ducks Unlimited's Wings Over Montana Newsletter!  We hope you had a wonderful holiday and are ready for an exciting new year with Montana DU! 
 
This issue is full of information and articles sure to please.  Also check out the photos and upcoming events!  Remember -if you have an upcoming event or photos from a recent event, please forward them so we can make sure to feature your chapter in the next Wing Over Montana Newsletter! 
 
We hope to see you at an event near you soon!
 
~Tammy
406-362-4449

Steve's Corner

 

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, blessed with the gift of Family and friends. Special thanks go out to all of the Montana DU volunteer community for making 2009 a successful fundraising year.

 

Kathy and I have been blessed with the time and resources to travel across Montana to renew acquaintances and meet new friends who share our passion for wetlands conservation.  We've instilled that in our children too who serve on the Billings and Missoula committees. 

 

We, as active DU volunteers, carry on a tradition that was started 73 years ago during the Dustbowl years by sportsmen & women just like us. Those individuals are now gone, just as most of us will be 73 years hence. However, we carry the same dream that the founders had and are reaping the benefits from their earlier efforts.  But we still have a long way to go to reach our goal of zero net loss of wetlands habitat. Millions of acres will soon be taken out of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and returned to agricultural production. Additionally, many more acres of marginal land will be planted for Ethanol production. When this land is broken it removes nesting habitat and further drainage of it removes valuable ephemeral wetlands from the landscape.

 

We must head into 2010 with a renewed sense of purpose. The challenges will be as great as they were in 2009.  Here are some suggestions for your committee to consider:

  • Be more efficient in these difficult economic times. Be prudent in what we order and buy.
  • Take a step back and consider having just a few less auction items this year.
  • Consider increasing your raffle items. State-wide we are seeing growth in raffle ticket sells while seeing a decline in average auction revenue.
  • More underwriting and cash donations. These go directly to the bottom line as dollars for the ducks.
  • Have a second event! Try a Waterfowl Hunter Party (WHP) of Sportsman's Night Out (SNO) in your area.

 

73 years from now in 2083 will young nimrods have the same opportunities that we have today? Will our waterfowling tradition still exist? Will the same wetland acres be available for waterfowl production?

 

We owe it to the past generations of DU volunteers to carry the torch for the future generations of DU volunteers.  We must keep our eye on the prize: Wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever.

 

Thank you once again for all you did for MT DU in 2009. And thank you in advance for the precious gift of your time and resources in 2010. Kathy and I look forward to seeing our DU family as we hit the event trail again!

 

 
 Steve

Top Resolution for Waterfowlers:  Protect Wetlands

 
WASHINGTON - As the New Year begins, waterfowlers are pursuing a top resolution for 2010: restore Clean Water Act protection to wetlands that are vital to keeping the skies filled with waterfowl.

 

Millions of wetlands used as prime breeding habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region could be threatened with drainage and destruction under regulatory guidance released in 2008. Over 20 million acres of marshes, wetlands, and playa lakes across the country are at risk of being lost without action by Congress to restore protection to these areas.

 

"Waterfowlers could lose millions of birds a year if these breeding habitats are destroyed," said Dr. Scott Yaich, Director of Conservation Operations for Ducks Unlimited. "This is a top priority for sportsmen in this Congress."

 

A bill to restore protections to wetlands, endorsed by sportsmen's groups, farmers, ranchers, and clean water professionals, is awaiting debate on the Senate floor.  Ducks Unlimited played a critical role in bringing diverse interests to the bargaining table to hammer out a compromise bill that protects wetlands as well as landowners' rights to work their land.

 

"Clean water and wetlands are important not for just hunters and anglers, but for all of us," said Yaich. "Farmers and ranchers depend on adequate supplies of clean water for their crops and herds, and the wetlands that help provide it also provide waterfowl. Many landowners and farmers also depend upon upstream wetlands to help reduce flood damages to their croplands and other property."

 

Waterfowlers add more than $2.3 billion to the US economy every year, according to a study from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

"Losing these wetlands could seriously hurt our waterfowling traditions and impact the rural communities that depend on waterfowl hunters as part of their economy," said Andrew Limmer a duck hunter from Milwaukee, Wis. "As a sportsman who cares about the future of waterfowl hunting and the safety of our drinking water, I ask others like me to contact their Members of Congress, and urge them to restore protections to threatened wetlands."

 

Sportsmen and women can contact their Members of Congress, and learn more about the threats to wetlands, at the Ducks Unlimited Clean Water Action Center (www.ducks.org/cleanwater).

 

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved nearly 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever.

 

 

 Neil Shader                                    nshader@ducks.org                              202.347.1530

Montana 2010 Artist of the Year

  

     Michael R. Brown grew up in Lincoln, Montana in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.  He began drawing in childhood, as a way to connect with the beauty of the wildlife he saw around him.

 

 

     Although his talented colored pencil artwork has been well known to those close to him, he has only recently taken to the national stage with his winning Ducks Unlimited entry.  He is currently working on projects for admission to upcoming National Wildlife Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation & Wild Turkey Federation artwork competitions. 

 

     In addition to art, Mike likes to spend his free time fishing, viewing wildlife, spending time with his children and improving his skills in photography.

 

 

                Ducks Unlimited                    Conservation Issues Briefing 2.1

 

Prospects dim for wetland protections in 2010

 

 

As the second session of the 111th Congress dawns, prospects for protecting wetlands through legislation are beginning to dim... While a bill to restore wetland protections that were lost in 2001 and 2006-the Clean Water Restoration Act-passed a Senate committee in June, there is unlikely to be a floor vote or a companion bill in the House before the end of the term.

Restoring these protections has become a hot-button issue, as opponents of the bill have effectively used scare tactics and fear mongering to put the brakes on what is now seen as a very controversial bill-even though all it would do is restore wetland regulations to their 2001 status. However, after a bitter and divisive vote on health care, even traditional supporters of waterfowl habitat are shying away from further controversy as the 2010 elections near.

While the prospects are not promising for this year, there is still a lot you can do to make sure wetland protections stay on Congress's radar:

                      Visit your members of Congress while they are home: Congress does not come back into session until later in January, so many members of Congress are in their home state and districts, and are likely available for a meeting. Find contact information at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

                      Take action for wetland protections: Visit DU's Clean Water Action Center and find sample letters to the editor to send to your local newspaper and sample e-mails to send to your members of Congress. Tell them you support protecting the wetlands that matter to you as a duck hunter and conservationist.

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

Kudos!!

 

Congratulations to our volunteers for making Montana one of seven states to achieve all goals for for Life Sponsors, Major Sponsor Upgrades, and Feather Society!!  

 

 JOB WELL DONE!!!

And.... Action!!!!          (Photos From Recent Events - Out and About)

Sam Lawry and Erica Lane of Doublefork Ranch were gracious enough with their time to give DU Greenwings the chance to duck or goose hunt on their ranch between Victor and Corvallis on the eastside highway. Below are some pictures taken by Scott Johnson at the event featuring Tyler Johnson, Lafe Shoopman, and Colton Shoopman.  They were able to set up goose decoys and enjoy the Saturday morning goose hunt.  According to Scott, they had a great time! 

 

                      

 
 
                       
 
 
 
We had several hunting shots come through from various sources - enjoy them below!!
 
Here we have Robert Hathaway with his son Tyler along with Marty Corollo and his son Drew at the Thermopolis, Wyoming hunt on January 9, 2010.

 

   
 
 

Glasgow Area Chair Ken Jansa, Treasurer Jeff Cole, and boys with nice limit of Missouri River Honkers

 

 

 

    Past Great Falls Area Chair and now

   Zone Chair Tom McElroy with Missouri
         River Banded Greenhead!
 
   
                                                                Glasgow Area Chair Ken Jansa, Committee Member
                                                                Jeff Robertson and Jeff Cole (taking photo) with nice
                                                                batch of Missouri River Canada Geese and Mallards!  It
                                                                was about 27 below zero that morning of the hunt
!
 
 
   And the entire gang at Thermopolis with all their treasures!
 

Congratulations!!

 

I'd like to take this opportunity to announce the appointment of Renee & Ernie Lundberg as new Zone Chairpersons. They join District Chair Steve Cunningham and Zone Chair Tom McElroy on our team that encompasses North Central Montana.

 

Ernie & Renee have led the Blackfoot Chapter (Lincoln) for a number of years. Their April banquet yielded a Net/Net of 71% and an increase of $9,000 for the DUcks! They have assisted at numerous events across the State. So this is a natural and well deserved promotion for the Lundberg's.

 

We look forward to having another committed couple joining the Senior Volunteer ranks of Montana DU.

 

Thank you & take care in the fields and on the roads,

Steve

Upcoming Events... The Places to Be!!

 
January 
 
1/23/2010 - Plentywood Banquet
Gold Dollar Steak House, 120 South Main
For more information, please contact Cindy Wilson (406) 895-7998 
 
February
 
2/6/2010 - Anaconda Banquet
Anaconda's Elk Lodge, 223 Main Street
For more information, please contact Sharon Mihelic (406) 563-8484
 
2/19/2010 - Havre Banquet
For more information, please contact James Bachini (406) 262-3739
 
2/20/2010 - Great Falls Sportsman Night Out
For more information, please contact Jerry Osborn (406) 788-6726
 
2/26/2010 - Colstrip Banquet
For more information, please contact Steve Christian (406) 740-1025
 
2/27/2010 - Red Lodge Banquet
For more information, please contact Steve Thuesen (sthuesen@juno.com)
 
March
 
3/5/2010 - Helena Banquet
For more information, please contact Jerry Hallford (jhallford@m-m.net)
 
3/13/2010 - Glasgow Banquet
For more information, please contact Ken Jansa (406) 228-2031
 
3/27/2010 - Malta Banquet
For more information, please contact Kathy Tribby (406) 654-1998
 
April
 
4/10/2010 - Lincoln Banquet
Lincoln Community Center, Highway 200 / Main Street
For more information, please contact Ernie & Renee Lundberg (406) 362-4072
 
4/10/2010 - Hardin Banquet
For more information, please contact Silas Counts (scounts_iii@yahoo.com)
 
4/10/2010 - Gardiner Banquet
For more information, please contact Eric Robinson (erobinson@xanterra.com)
 
4/24/2010 - Libby Banquet
For more information, please contact Jon Jeresek (jjeresek@fs.fed.us)
 
May
 
May 13-15, 2010 - Prairie Experience
Great Plains Regional Office, Bismark, ND
For more information, please call 701-355-3525
 
June
 
June 3-5, 2010 - Second Session Prairie Experience
Great Plains Regional Office, Bismark, ND
For more information, please call 701-355-3525 
 
June 11-12, 2010 - Ducks University Volunteer Leadership Conference
Great Plains Regional Office, Bismark, ND
For more information, please contact:
Steve Christian (406) 740-1025 or Layne Krumweide (406) 350-0154

Save the Date!!

"Ole" Olson Tribute

 Mark your calendars for Friday, August 27th and Saturday. August 28th in Helena, MT to honor "Ole" Olson at a DU Tribute Event!!  More details to follow in upcoming newsletters, but reserve your room now at the Best Western Great Northern (406) 457-5500.  We have a block of 50 rooms set aside - so just mention "Ducks Unlimited" to get the special group rate.
 
We look forward to seeing you there!!
 

Now a Word from SBA!!

 

 

 

Sporting World & Mill Pond Press Additions

 

While a new calendar year is upon us, the Ducks Unlimited fiscal year is only hitting its half-way

mark! As a result, it's time to introduce some new framed prints to the SBA Program line-up. Starting

January 18th, both the Sporting World and Mill Pond Press galleries and order forms will be updated

on the SBA website (http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102971099093&s=1&e=001wJ5Yg7mPVpRcXiucdVkVMMlXUgrTKjS28lpEt0yycehOV8WxhHZty3IfRAcUCpVIleo9xCVzO1e8YBoDVRAZt78uWOhYew_SlDmqpHbCZxU=) to include several new prints featuring a variety of different subjects. One of these new images is "Duck Masters," found in the Sporting World gallery. This Killen print is a companion piece to the tremendously successful "Duck Daze" which is still being offered to SBA volunteers. In addition, you'll also find the 2009 International Artist of the Year print "Evening Sprig" by Peter Mathios. This print is specially framed with a commemorative medallion signifying the achievement.

 
                     

 

 

As mentioned, there will also be new additions to the Mill Pond Press gallery. Prints like "Evening

Encounter" by Seerey-Lester and "The Only Game In Town" by Mullane are sure to be top

producers for SBA as we enter 2010. As always, the goal of the SBA Program is to provide participating SBA chapters with high quality artwork that will provide the greatest appeal to DU supporters, as well as members of the general public who may not yet be affiliated with our fantastic organization.  We're confident that this new SBA line-up accomplishes that goal and helps take your SBA Program to the next level of success. Thank you for your efforts and support.

 
 
  

As a compliment to our framed

art prints,the SBA Program continues

to offer participating chapters 3D artwork. As with the prints, the new additions to the Ducks Unlimited 3D & Framed Art Gallery will be made available to volunteers via the SBA website on January 18th. The gallery will be revised to include new artwork while at the same time removing those pieces that have underperformed over the last year. The Program will also continue to offer decoys from Shaker Prairie Shops.

 
 

 

On January 18th, you'll also find the newest SBA offering in the Terry Redlin series "Moonlight Retreat." This is the fourth and final edition in the series and is sure to equal or surpass the same level of success in the SBA Program that Redlin's other editions have demonstrated.

 

 

SBA Business Recognition

 

While hustling to finalize each detail of your Ducks Unlimited dinner or shooting event, it can be easy to overlook SBA partners who help contribute every day to our cause outside of that big day. Be sure to find a place in your event program to call out and recognize those businesses that make the SBA Program work by donating floor space. Also, announce the support of these local retailers during your event to drive DU supporters to their doors. It's a win-win situation for us all... and demonstrates to business owners/managers attending your event, who may not be currently participating in the program, how partnering with SBA can benefit them. That next great SBA easel location may be closer than you think!

 
 
For more information, please contact Chris Logan at 307-203-8024 (cell) or via email at:
 
 

 

Chapter Spotlight - BLACKFOOT RIVER CHAPTER - Lincoln, MT

 

                   

Who says you can't have a DU event with a town of only 1,100 people? The Blackfoot River Chapter of Ducks Unlimited in Lincoln, Mont., never fails to have a full hall for every event. In the heart of big-game-hunting country and some of the finest elk hunting in Montana sits the town of Lincoln, which boasts no more than five waterfowl hunters, even on a "ducky day."

So strong leadership is the key to keeping waterfowl hunting alive and well in Lincoln. Layne Krumwiede, Montana regional director, says, "This group of committed volunteers led by Ernie Lundberg are dedicated and understand how to throw a successful event and a fun party."

The largest venue in town to hold the event is the Lincoln Civic Center, which is an octagonal Montana-mountain-style log cabin. Even though there are not many waterfowl hunters in the area, Ducks Unlimited has managed to complete 18 on-the-ground projects in Lewis and Clark, along the edge of Powell County. These projects restored 1,685 acres and cost nearly $600,000.

Krumwiede explains that Lincoln is a very conservation-minded community, filled with people who like to have fun-one of the main reasons the Blackfoot River event is so successful.

Lincoln is also home to DU Area Chair and Co-Chair of the Year, Ernie and Renee Lundberg. The Lundbergs have held their titles for the past two years and have been in the running for three. They're backed up by a hard-working committee of 21, which was named Committee of the Year in 2007 and 2008.

The Blackfoot River Chapter may bring in many more awards for 2009, as they once again exceeded all expectation. Some of the year's event highlights included 27 new sponsors, 74-percent net to net/gross and bringing in nearly $38,000 at an event with about 180 attendees. And the Blackfoot River Chapter doesn't stop at just one event a year-they also run a special Sponsor sporting clays shoot, Greenwing event and pre-event raffle (for a rifle, of course). This chapter does all it can for the ducks, and, as a result, they see their dollars put to work on the prairies and in their backyards.

"This next year the Blackfoot River Chapter is going to try and add a Sportsmen's Night Out event that would be a grand slam in this community of hardcore fishing and hunting enthusiast," Krumwiede says. "They never fail in going above and beyond my goals for them in raising money for the ducks."

 

 

 

Join the Blackfoot River Chapter in Lincoln Montana on Saturday, April 10, 2010 for their 11th Annual Banquet.  For more information, please contact Ernie & Renee Lundberg at:

 
 

$5 OFF!

 Use code: DUCKS
(Not Valid on Lowest Price Ticket) 
 

Professional Bull Riders

 

Nile Invitational 

April 23-25
Billings Metrapark
 
 
 
To purchase tickets by phone, please call 406-246-2495

 

 

A New Year's Tradition

 
A New Year's Tradition

by Steve Christian

 

My New Year's Day tradition is to go goose hunting. I have done this for 20 years either accompanied by a buddy or just my dog. However, this year was going to be extra special! Our daughter and son-in-law were coming for the holiday with our grandson Michael. He and I had been discussing goose hunting for the past month and couldn't wait for the day to come any longer.

 

He and his parents arrived on New Years Eve. Unfortunately I had to work late and didn't get home until late in the evening. When I entered the house Michael was abuzz with excitement. He showed me his new camouflage vest and pants that he got for Christmas. I hurriedly excused myself and quickly changed into my matching vest and pants. That was enough to drive him crazy with delight. Him & his Pap Pap - dressed to kill! We quickly passed the evening away with dinner and watching last years Steelers Super bowl highlights. Yes, he is a Steelers fan too and really knows how to twirl a Terrible Towel! We greeted the New Year at 10:00 with the revelers in Times Square. Then it was off to bed with visions of geese and ducks dancing in our heads.  

 

The New Year dawned with wind, light snow, and +8 degree weather. A perfect day for matching wits with wiley Canadians! Our ladies prepared us a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs fortified by coffee (with a splash of Kaluha) and chocolate milk for Michael. The son-in-law never made it out of bed, something about bein' sick. We quickly got dressed in our matching camo vests, looking good is half the battle! It was then that I presented Michael with his trusty weapon for the day - a dart gun rifle. I figured this would be enough firepower for him being a week shy of his fourth birthday.

 

So we were off. We loaded up our trusty retriever Max and headed for the secret goose honey hole, somewhere in Southeastern Montana. When we arrived at the pit blind the truck's thermometer registered -4 degrees and it was even windier.  And so it came to be that this would be a day of many new "firsts" for me.

 

I decided it would be best for my trusty hunting partner to stay in the warm truck while I opened the blind, started the heater, and set up the decoys. I will state right now, for the record, this will not happen with anyone else - ever (unless of course it's Ole Olsen)! So I rushed about setting up the two dozen Big Feet decoys. Michael watched me intently and contently from his warm confines. Once finished I unloaded our gear into the warming blind. Then I retrieved Michael put on his hat, coat and gloves and let him run around while I completed setting up the gear in the blind. When I came out to get Michael I was quite surprised to find that he was making a game out of knocking over decoys. Pretty amusing for him, but quite exasperating for the old dog as I had to reset the spread.

 

I finally captured the wild banshee and returned to the blind. Michael describes my pit blind as "Pap Pap's Box". Sounds good to me! It's sort of my toy box, full of decoys and ammo. Lucky my box has a heater. With the front covers in place it heated up to balmy 48 degrees so we removed hats, coats and gloves to settle in and wait for the geese to fly. I got out my calls & Michael had to try them out. Then he wanted to have one to use too. Fortunately I had a spare duck call & showed him the basics of calling. Later I learned that sometimes it is ineffective to have a neophyte calling for ducks while geese are decoying. I also explained the nuances of effective flagging. He didn't seem too impressed with that, but did humor me by saying he thought flags had stripes.

 

We now settled in to wait for the honkers to fly. Time ticked slowly and it became evident that I would have to resort to another first. We broke out the crayons and coloring book and commenced to creating works of art.  Later we opened our lunch box and had some fruit snacks (tiny globs of gelatinous sugar shaped like cars) and our drinks. About this time I had a craving for a cigar, but had to settle for splitting a banana. Who was it that packed this lunch for us? Have you ever heard of eating a banana in a goose blind!

 

Then it happened! The distant honking could be heard over the propane heater and jabbering grandson. With zest and zeal I started that joyful melody that always brings them in. Michael joined in with his duck call that sounded somewhat similar to the noise makers we used the night before.

 

What luck! Despite the freakish sounds emanating from our hideout a flock of four geese swung right towards us. Pulling up my trusty 10 gauge I fired twice to knock down one. Now the fun started. Before releasing Max for the retrieve, we had to get our hats, gloves & coats on. Get out of the "box" and watch Max run down the not so dead goose. Being quite excited we were able to witness a thrilling retrieve. "Max runs fast!" and "He caught it good!" piped in Michael. So there it was we had our first Grandson and Pap Pap goose in hand. He was a little apprehensive about what we actually had. The goose was much bigger than the pheasants and ducks from last year. Anyways it was back to the box to get ready for the next flight.

 

We managed to get our limit before noon that day. I missed a few and so did Michael. He lined up on a couple with his trusty gun, but alas the dang darts fell harmlessly into the snow. That didn't matter much though, he was quite philosophical saying, "!&#*@% missed just like you". We had a little discussion about what is said in the box, stays in the box. Hopefully he doesn't use any box talk too soon around his Mom!

 
We hope you've enjoyed this edition of Wings Over Montana.  If you have suggestions or would like to submit any articles, information, pictures, or ideas, please send them to me!
 
Sincerely,
 
Tammy Jordan
Ducks Unlimited
406-362-4449