An incredible hunt leads to an even better wild-game breakfast
I’d heard the rumors and seen the excitement on the guides’ faces. My last day in Manitoba would be special.
No, not the stories about a partially flooded barley field holding thousands of ducks and geese. The whispered promises of a post-hunt breakfast served in the field had me pumped. Writer Brad Fenson and Brooks Hansen, of Camp Chef, had made goose sausage and intended to serve it on biscuits with cheese and fried eggs. And the rest of us — writers and folks from Federal, Savage Arms, Final Approach and Narrows West Lodge — would be the lucky recipients.
But back to hunting.
Light rain drizzled down as we lugged decoys and blinds through the sodden field. Within minutes, we’d set up the spread and covered our hides with field waste. And as shooting hours arrived, the rain seemed to let up somewhat.
Ducks came first, as we’d expected — and lots of them. Mallards here, pintails there — even some low, streaking flocks of greenwings that took us by surprise. Action was steady and spectacular for almost an hour, and our piles grew as our boxes of Black Cloud shrank.
On cue, geese began swarming to the field behind the ducks. Pairs and small groups provided excellent action, and hunt-master John Vaca also called in several large flocks, from which we took multiple honkers. Even a lone blue goose visited the spread and stayed.
Action continued until about 10 a.m., when we had about five limits of ducks and eight limits of geese. Then, the sun began to creep through the clouds, and someone revisited the subject of breakfast. No one argued.
Hansen and Fenson set up their gear and got the griddle humming. As the rest of the crew swept the field for more birds and picked up empty hulls, the smell of goose sausage wafted across the breeze. Soon, everyone huddled around the cooks, anxious to see the finished product.
It did not disappoint. Cooked to medium rare, the hot sausage beautifully complemented the cheese and perfectly runny fried egg, creating a stick-to-your-ribs post-hunt lunch. With my face and hand still covered in yolk from the first biscuit, I sneaked back in line for a second. Hey, no one likes to see food go to waste, right?
Stuffed and happy, we eventually wandered out of the field and prepared to head home. It had been the ideal end to a remarkable first Canadian trip; incredible shooting, great gear, fantastic folks, afternoon fishing and top-shelf eats. I don’t know if subsequent trips will match this, and it’s OK if they don’t. First experiences only occur once, after all, and my intro to Canadian hunting was eye-opening on many levels. I’ll absolutely be back, whether next year or thereafter. And when I return, I’ll think back to the action and hospitality that had made my first sojourn so special.
But I’ll need a grinder. And sausage spices. And a stove. Hey, hunting comes and goes, but I’m never missing out on “honk muffins.”
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Realtree waterfowl editor Brian Lovett has been an obsessive duck and goose hunter for more than 30 years, chasing his passion on the Dakota prairies and the marshes and open water of his home state of Wisconsin. He's been a writer and editor in the outdoors industry since 1991.