It's Called a Pit for a Reason

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Published on: Oct. 2, 1998

Last revision: Nov. 2, 2010

I don't answer. To my credit I don't murder him either, even though he was the one who left the heater in the truck. I try to think happy thoughts. I try to think about geese.

Imagine sitting in the middle of a frozen pond, hiding like an outlaw inside a dark, smelly tank, possessing not a single decoy with which to lure geese, even if they had been flying, which, of course, they weren't. We have no flags with which to trifle with the beasts' obviously superior minds, no heater and virtually no knowledge of goose calling.

Honk! Honk! Honk!

"What's that?" Bert whispers.

"What's what?"

 "I thought I heard honking."

 "Yeah. Sure." I'm chuckling inwardly at Bert's incredible naiveté when a flock of geese whiz by 10 yards in front of our pit.

 "I told you I heard honking," he sputters, standing up and staring pitifully into the distance. He turns and glares at me.

" Sorry," I grumble. Boy, some people. You would have thought it was my fault we didn't see those geese.

Honk! Honk! Honk!

"What was that?" Bert says. But this time, I've heard it too.

"Sounds like geese."

"But where?" he queries. I look to the front. No geese. I look to the right. No geese. Bert looks left. No geese. We look at each other and then, slowly, I peek my head out of the pit. A whole flock, bearing down on us, 10 yards and closing.

"Geese!" I cry, but the cunning creatures see my head and flare. We grab our calls, "Come back, come back, come back!" we cajole using our finest gooselike noises.

As we watch them stream from sight, we understand the sport at last. Once bitten by the bug you'll never be the same.

You'll buy larger guns that kick harder than mules, shotshells loaded with ever more-and bigger-shot, layers and layers of warm camo clothing and decoys-lots of decoys.

Although, our hunt is a total failure, we're reluctant to leave goose country. But tomorrow is another day. When we return home, I call Harriet Weger, area manager of Otter Slough. "We don't have many Canadas," she says, "but we're plumb full of snows and blues."

"Wow," I reply, imagining two mounted geese-a snow and a blue-hovering against the family room wall.

"They're really fun to hunt," Harriet continues, "much, much harder than Canadas."

I shudder at the thought of a species harder to hunt than Canadas and hang up quickly.

"Well?" Bert asks.

I couldn't deceive my poor husband, could I?

"Sounds promising," I say. "Let's go tomorrow."

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