Hunters score rare triple of geese
Josh Breaux guided three hunters Wednesday morning that collectively scored these three geese. All three had leg bands, and two had collars. (Submitted Photo)
One guide. One group of hunters. One blind. Just another day of guiding. Just another day of hoping for a good shoot so your clients have something to brag about. If you spend enough time in the outdoors, particularly hunting, over time you’ll find some things are meant to be.
Josh Breaux suddenly caught a chill of exhilaration when he realized what just happened. Holding one white-fronted goose with a band on its leg and a collar around its neck, his dog was on its way back from a second retrieve with another speck with the same thing.
If that wasn’t enough, on the third retrieve his dog made for another speckle belly — it too had a band.
“When I saw that second neck collar, my whole body just kind of started shaking,” Breaux said. “My nerves kind of got the best of me. I was like, ‘oh my God — this just happened — ain’t nobody going to believe me.’”
Breaux, 19, has been guiding for three years; two seasons with Doug’s Hunting Lodge and one with Feet Down Guide Service. According to the young hunter he personally has only killed two birds since he started hunting at the age of 13 with bands. One was a teal and the other an eagle head snow goose.
One group of hunters.
On the day of the Nov. 20, hunt, Breaux was guiding three hunters. Two were from Houma and one from Lake Arthur. The hunt started out slow. And by 7:15 a.m. the group of hunters had only garnered two pintails, a hen and a drake. Breaux says that’s when the speckle bellies started moving.
Breaux, who works as a fulltime farmer and guides during the off-season said, “We had a bunch of speckle bellies that started to move. I called and I didn’t really have that much luck with them. They didn’t want to work that much and honestly, the conditions weren’t really that great. Then we had three speckle bellies pass over the blind pretty low, so I called and they didn’t want to work, so I tried a different tone on them. Finally, I found one of the birds wanted to break off and come towards the blind. I kept using that same tone and they all started following the lead bird. I worked him in and told the guys to just stare at the floor — whenever they’re in front I’ll tell y’all to shoot.”
When the birds were approximately 10 yards out from the blind and only five feet off the water is when Breaux called the shot. The hunters got all three of the geese.
“Everybody was just pumped up,” Breaux said. “I’d never seen anything like that in my life. It’s something you hear about, but it never happens to you.”
The United States Fish & Wildlife Service’s North American Bird Banding Program is jointly administered by the United States Geological Survey at its Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland. Technology being what it is today bands can be reported online at www.pwrc.usgs.gov. Upon request an electronic certificate of appreciation complete with the details of the bird will be forwarded to the person doing the reporting.
Besides the bird’s unique number the research center’s toll free phone number (800-327-BAND) is also stamped on the band. One of the hunters called in the band numbers while in the blind. The lead bird was banded in 1997 and the other two were banded in 2011 and 2013, respectively. And all of the birds were banded in Alaska.
The group of hunters was too excited to finish out their hunt that morning says Breaux. One of the Houma hunters had killed his first pintail that morning, but with all the added excitement surrounding the banded and collared geese, it was too much.
One guide. One group of hunters. All from one blind.
Breaux said, “All we killed was those two pintails and three specks. Everyone was so excited they didn’t care to stay much later. We all just got out of the pit blind and left.”
The hunt took place in Cameron Parish near Lake Arthur. For those interested in booking a hunt with Feet Down Guide Service, owner/operator Josh Sonnier, can be contacted by calling 337-329-3900 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.