by Kenneth L. Kieser
Missouri hunters were born with a silver spoon in their double-clucking, goose-calling mouths. The Show Me State, in the heart of the Mississippi Flyway, has always enjoyed gaggles of geese dropping in from Canada and the northern United States’ marshes and fields. A huge resident flocks makes hunts ever more exciting.
Lewis and Clark noted in their famous journal the abundance of wildlife, including various types of wildfowl around the northwest Missouri region. The Squaw Creek Refuge located in northwest Missouri and Swan Lake Refuge located in north-central Missouri make Missouri even more attractive.
Add Smithville, Truman and several other huge lakes with unlimited row crops throughout the state and you can understand why Missouri is a goose hunter’s paradise. Oh, did I fail to mention that the Mississippi River borders the eastern side of the state and the Missouri River borders the Western side?
Stories of Missouri goose hunting recently attracted a Brazilian Congressman and his group to Missouri for a Canada goose hunt. Danny Guyer and I guided these delightful men that came to America for a waterfowl hunt after hunting was made illegal in Brazil. Each man was excited to hunt once again, a feeling Americans have fortunately never had and hopefully never will.
A long string of Canada geese set their wings and glided towards dozens of full bodied decoys. Six hunters collectively held their breath and waited as the geese approached, looking larger by the second. The geese curled slightly to the left and then back into an open space between the decoys and in front of the blind.
The Brazilians rose to shoot and the geese reacted with total confusion, but only for an instant. Their wings automatically pumped for altitude as each hunter swung his shotgun for proper lead and fired, dropping three geese.
Guide Danny Guyer quickly commanded his Labrador retriever, Mam J, to bring in the geese while the blind filled with excited Brazilian chatter that most Americans including me would not understand. The six hunters had traveled thousands of miles for that moment. More geese came throughout the day, some too high to shoot.
The evening shoot was soon over and nine geese had fallen. The Brazilians made the long trip to hunt, a privilege lost in their country for five years.
“Very good,” said Sandro Mabel, a congressman from Brazil. “I love shooting these geese very much, and I help call in geese too.”
Guyer had given Congressman Mabel a goose call after he asked to learn calling techniques. He proceeded to make a series of sweet and mostly sour calls that occasionally brought laughter from the group and spooked geese, at other times it may have helped.
“I really hope he doesn’t do that on our 11 hour flight back home,” said his son, Dudo. “We may have to hide his call and return it at home. He is proud of it.”
The following morning started out with geese flying everywhere. Guyer and Mabel called to the first group enticing them to swing toward the decoy set, make a wide swing and set their wings to land. Mam J soon retrieved three more geese.
Later that morning a single goose passed over the blind in shooting range. Congressman Mabel led the goose perfectly and dropped it in the decoys. He turned to grin at his son and then sat down to continue practicing his goose calling techniques while everyone laughed. The good natured Mabel had to laugh too.
“We grew up hunting waterfowl in Brazil,” Alvaro Mouawad said. “I hunted all my life and then the anti-hunters managed to pass legislation through a federal judge who closed it down. I still hunt in Uruguay, but miss our Brazilian hunts.”
The morning progressed with plenty of opportunities. Finally, the last flight of about 50 geese poured in over the field in search of a place to spend the afternoon. The group rose and shot, dropping three more geese completing every hunter’s limit.
The entire group to a man hated to see the hunt end, we did too. Each hunter carried two geese out of the field while talking excitedly about the day’s hunt. Suddenly one of the Brazilians started whistling the theme song from the Bridge on the River Kwai and immediately the entire group was whistling that familiar tune.
“We’ll be back,” Mouawad later said while Congressman Mabel blew his goose call over the phone for his wife back in Brazil. “After all, we are hunters!”
The Canada goose season in Missouri runs from Oct. 5-13 and then closes until Nov. 28 through Jan. 31. For more information about Missouri Goose Hunting, contact the Missouri Department of Conservation at: (573) 751-4115. To hunt with Danny Guyer, call: (816) 210-3969.