There are incredible memories to be made in any outdoor scene, whether you’re fishing with family or goose hunting with clients in 20-degree weather. Numerous hunts come to mind when I think about making lifelong memories while goose hunting. One hunt stands out in particular because it made for a lot of laughs, hugs, and lifelong friends, and it was also the start of a new venture.
It was the 2018 opening morning for specks in Arkansas—the first year that speck season opened before duck season. We had started Major League Farms that same year with a few thousand acres for duck and goose. We had a group of four guys come into camp for the weekend and this was our first hunt as an outfitter for the business. I’d built up a lot of anxiety waiting for this hunt.
Our camp is located just east of Stuttgart in Almyra, Arkansas, and the specks were thick as flies on every field in town. We went out for the first morning of duck hunting and there were so many birds that we couldn’t get them to work right. We ended up only killing six birds.
The next, and last, morning of hunting was coming up. The scout that afternoon gave us a favorable look on the next morning. The geese were roosting on a reservoir about a half mile from us. We had the wind at our back and it was predicted to be close to 15 mph. We got all of the decoys set up the night before and set our spread in a donut-shaped look, hoping that the birds would work into the middle of the donut. If this were to happen, then we might see things we’d never seen before.
This was the last hunt for these guys who had driven many hours to see something special. The night beforehand was not a pleasant one for me to say the least. My mind was racing with thoughts of the unexpected. The pressure was building.
We got to the blind about 30 minutes before daylight. Specks don’t usually start flying until after daylight. Sweat was running down my neck from the last-minute preparations. I pulled my blind over my head and looked to my right and here they came. We only had five of us, so we could only kill 15 birds total.
The first group was like a scout group for the rest of the flock. If you have ever heard a speck, they will communicate with you. The sound that that speck makes is primarily the same sound you want to make back. This makes the situation more real because they are talking to you. That first group turned around and went back to the roost. About 5 minutes later a group of about 200 came over the trees.
Everyone was mesmerized. The birds cupped their wings and pushed straight for the spread. Time felt like it was moving as slow as a turtle while we waited on those birds to get to us. They made one turn and put their feet down in the spread.
There were about 25 that lit and the rest were above the decoys. We killed 8 out of the first group. Everyone shouted for joy as the three guides ran through the decoys picking up bird after bird.
We looked up as we were picking up the birds and saw a black cloud coming straight at us. I sprinted through the decoys to get back to my blind. Within a matter of minutes, we had a 2,000-plus bird tornado spinning right above us. It was what everyone had dreamed of. We worked the first group of close to 50 into the decoys and killed 5 out of it.
After that, we decided to only kill singles to make the moment last longer. Within 30 minutes, we had reached our bird limit. The smiles on everyone’s face made the scouting long hours, the sweating while putting out decoys, and the anxiety leading up to the hunt worth it
I have hunted for a long time and never seen anything like that day with so many birds in the area. Days like that are a blessing and the kind of experience we strive for at Major League Farms. This is a story that I hope to tell my kids one day.