Jackie Gross
Special to the Citizen Telegram
Rifle, CO Colorado

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January 23, 2013
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Jolly ol' goose hunting on Christmas Day

T.J. and I were up and at 'em with the good ol' smell of coffee brewing Christmas Day. I walked into the kitchen to read the temperature gauge that said -5 degrees. But with goose hunting on the brain, I really wasn't worried about the chill.

Katie (our dog) was up at this point, tail a wagging, knowing we were about to be on our way for some shotgun action. I opened the door to let her out and wow, was it ever so cold. Brrrr....

Living on the river is always an advantage for us, because once we are ready, we just head out the door, walk a few hundred yards and goosing, here we come. We hiked down to the river, glassing to see if there were any deer or elk grazing late morning. Just enjoying the moment of being in the outdoors.

Once we got into our blinds, the cold started to set in. It was cold enough that I immediately started to wiggle my toes and my fingers to ensure blood circulation would move through my feet so they wouldn't freeze. The snow had been so deep that when I had set my gun down, snow had covered my chamber. So I quickly rubbed the snow off my gun so my old trusty Mossberg wouldn't jam.

The morning started off slow, with only a few birds flying high. It was foggy on the river, so the visibility made it a little harder than usual. The sun started to perk up over the mountains, and I could see something big flying over the river.

"What is that?" I asked T.J. As it came closer, we saw it was a bald eagle. The eagle was soaring over the river, and as soon as it flew by us, we could see duck action but no geese. We waited and waited, which felt like forever.

I was really starting to get cold. My eyelashes had ice on them from the steam off of my breath and they were literally freezing. At this point, we could hear the honkers and the sound kept getting closer and closer. My heart started to beat faster. I'm wide-eyed, looking to see where they were. At this moment, the feeling of cold had disappeared.

They were flying down the river, right towards us. Katie started to get anxious, as she could feel my nervousness. I'm telling her, "wait, wait, wait." Then, in a split second, they are right in front of us. I shot off two rounds and watched a big Canadian tumble into the river. Katie took off. The flock was flying in the middle of the river, so Katie was out swimming in the worse of it.

I bailed out of my blind, running downriver to keep up with my dog and the goose. With my being a worrier, I always meet Katie downriver so she won't try to swim up river to me, especially in these types of weather conditions. I am trotting as fast as I can to keep up with them. Wow, does the river run fast, or am I just out of shape? LOL.

When Katie catches up to the goose, she starts nudging it to me. I yell, "Fetch it up!" She is doing what she is best at, retrieving. As she had that big ol' jolly goose in her jaws, I can see that it is as big as she is.

Finally, she was in safe waters and drops the goose onto the ice shelf. She climbs up, shaking and wagging her tail. I continue to tell her, "Good girl, come with it." I was so proud of my dog. Katie and I walk back up river to show T.J. our prize. He was hugging me, all smiles. We got our first goose of the season! We were so happy.

Even though I was all warmed up at this point from running downriver and walking back, I had to call the day with one goose. We had enough for dinner, and I was ready to eat some breakfast.

The most important thing was being able to experience these adventures with not only my best friend, but my future husband, T.J. Guccini. As always, smiling big!

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The Post Independent Updated Jan 23, 2013 04:55PM Published Jan 23, 2013 04:54PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.