Chicago Sun-Times
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``Like Christmas with guns:'' Opening morning

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Even Buck couldn't contain himself. Every time Jeff Norris made a goose call Saturday morning, Jerry Pabst's 6-year-old black Lab uncontrollably whimpered in anticipation.


If you think humans get opening day yips bad, Buck had it even worse.

It was beautiful to see a dog that gungho, whining every time Norris blew his goose call.

Not that Norris was much less antsy. As we lined up, counting down the minutes to shooting time on the edge of an uncut cornfield to pass shoot at wood ducks, he had said, ``This is like Christmas with guns.''

Saturday was opening day for waterfowl hunters in Illinois' northern zone.

I hunted with Norris, proprietor of Fox Valley Guide Service, in one of his blinds in Kane County. Also along was Pabst, the venerable sage of Chicago outdoors, and Jason Polowy, a Chicago union carpenter (558) who started as a customer and became a guide for Norris.

My favorite moment on opening day is lining up in the standing corn to shoot at wood ducks whistling past as dawn comes.

The first pair came and went so fast, there was no shooting. On the second pair, somebody squeezed off a shot. On the third, one woodie went in the bag, with a mighty fine retrieve by Buck. Two more woodies were downed before it was time to climb in the blind for Canada geese.

Wave after wave of geese came over us, a few flocks low enough that we might have been able to knock a couple down, but on opening day, we left them go.

A pair of mallards teased us. But the geese did not seem inclined to settle in an open green spot next to standing corn.

The customers in the other blind with guide Mark Kibler on a fence row near a harvested soybean field shot out within a couple hours.

We hung in until the geese quit flying out to feed, then made a walk down the creek in case any woodies had settled in.

As we wrapped up the morning hunt and started to leave, Buck rattled the door on his portable kennel violently, trying to get out for more.

It was time.

On the way home, I saw hundreds of geese in a partially harvested soybean field near North Aurora.

For Fox Valley Guide Service, call (630) 264-1802 or go to

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on October 18, 2008 6:14 PM.

Keeping the rod out on the Chain was the previous entry in this blog.

Whoopers up: Wild Sunday 10-19-08 is the next entry in this blog.

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