We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Interesting bird, the Snow Goose. For one thing, it comes in a blue and white form, and all sorts of intermediate forms, so was long thought to be two species. For another, its population has boomed in recent years such that it is destroying its tundra nesting areas, and so the wildlife managers are essentially begging people to shoot them. They were scarce in the 1970s.
There is almost no real limit on these birds, and it is now legal to use electronic calls to try to bring them into your field decoy spread during the spring Snow Goose season in the midwest. However, as it turns out, hunting makes no dent in their numbers.
When a flock of 100 or 1000 of them descend over your blind into your field decoys on a frigid dawn, it's one hell of an adrenaline rush and one hell of a shooting experience. A literal "blast," and you cannot reload your auto fast enough to keep up with the action of these determined birds who can, at times, seem quite undeterred by the sound of shotgun fire. They go down very easily, compared to Canadas which can sometimes coast or flap for a quarter mile with a fatal wound, which gives a retriever - or a fellow - a good work out.
We say "They go down like a prom dress."
Our Brit cousins would love this shooting - they have, alas, nothing comparable for fun. Neither prom dresses nor Snow Geese. Our good pal Mr. Free Market would have the time of his life.
When 5000 of them decide to chose the seemingly identical barley field adjacent to the one you happen to be in for brainless goose reasons, it is a deeply frustrating experience and there is not a damn thing you can do about it.
A northern Canadian nester, this medium-sized honker is highly migratory across the US, especially in the Central Flyway. It is not unusual, these days, to see them flying over Vermont ski slopes in winter, or on Long Island potato fields.
The causes of the potentially self-destructive population boom are unclear, but may have to do with changes in the agricultural lands on which they winter. I wish I had a decent digital image of the size of the flocks of these birds, capable of truly blocking out the sun, but my best shots are from my pre-digital era, a few years ago. Beautiful, and awe-inspiring but, according to the biologists, a big problem too. They could be wrong; it might just be a natural boom and bust cycle like the housing market.
Being game birds, a word is always in order on cooking, since you must eat what you kill. These geese do not hold a candle to the delectable Canada Goose. The tough breast is best stewed, or crock-potted, and can be quite fine in a cassoulet. But anything is good in a cassoulet on a cold snowy, blowy winter evening, with crunchy garlic toast and a few bottles of Cote Roti and a mountain of powerful stinky French cheeses on the side.
More about Snow Goose at CLO, whence the photo, here.
Our old post on Cassoulet is lost for the moment. Good hearty peasant food, best made with game sausage and game meat of any sort. We once made one with venison sausage, wild boar, and Snow Goose breast.
Can you really eat all you kill? It must definitely cut your grocery bill although how much do you spend on all that lusted after gear? You must have trained your family well. I suspect that mine would whine for chicken and hamburger and merely pick at the luscious game.
For Canada Goose, best to confit the legs. For the breast, marinate overnight, dry, salt and pepper, then saute over high heat until rare, like a good steak. Slice thin, and serve with a sauce of your choice. And maybe some currant jelly or cranberry sauce on the side.
I've got a few pics on my camera of, in absolute terms, large flocks. Relative to the size of flocks I've seen, however, they are small. We had a lease last year in a rice field that had been a traditional lesser snow roost / feeding / loafing area. Different snows used the place at different times of the day for different purposes. I'm certain there were times when their numbers exceeded 20,000.
When a flock is seen rising from a field at a distance, they in fact resemble snow falling. A camera can't capture that effect.
I use my smokers to make an excellent jerky from the Canadas that I shoot.
....and Whitehall, as long as yer learnin', the term Canadian geese is not used. They're corretly referred to as Canada geese.
We occasionally see a few snows overhead but never in range...till last season when one glided right into my spread with a pair of canadas. I'm usually a pretty decent shot but alas, snow fever hit and I missed three shots right in range! Doh! I'm still mad about it ;)
Agree, delightful phrase. Though really, from anecdotes and experience it was, literally, up. Who had time and luxury for else. But then, I'm older, older enough that a hotel room was the backseat of a 63 Mercury.