Ten days ago I saw more Canada geese than I may have ever seen or heard at one time in one place in La Porte County.
A week later, with a Saturday waterfowl season opener looming, they were gone.
I don't know about you, but I still stop and admire when Canadas are honking overhead. It's a call of the wild thing, offering brief relief from an often urban setting, although most Canadas around here are not truly wild migrants anymore.
Not so with the mass of birds I saw a short while ago. Way too many to be local geese, even though we're a month or more away from peak migration from Canada.
Two hours before sun down I was scrounging fire wood and trimming trails while geese traded back and forth within earshot. Surely a nearby resting pond we hunt, neatly tucked in a pasture a couple woodlots and fields away, was filling with birds.
Waiting nearly until dark before inspecting the goose pond, I was a bit surprised to only find a smattering of feathers and sign. All those geese I'd been hearing had not been here.
Soon, disappointment turned to awe as the roar of geese lifting off a nearby field began to grow. First a dozen, then 25, then a couple bunches crowding 50 clamored overhead. Moments later, an already-dark sky blacked-out completely as hundreds more winged by close enough to feel.
The groaning and honking and wing-socket creaking was deafening as the geese, perhaps a thousand in total, beat it back to La Porte or wherever they were roosting.
Same time a few days later, the sky was silent.
So goes goose migrations and hunting. I used to spend hundreds of hours scouting and tracking geese in the fall. The payoff was only occasionally as good as hoped and certainly nowhere near 100 percent successful.
Nowadays I just go with the flow. If they show up in my hunting spot fine, If not, just being out there catching a sunrise and camaraderie is pretty good, too.
Indiana's lengthy goose season starts Saturday in the North Zone and continues through Nov. 20 before opening again Dec. 10 through Feb. 12. Bag limit is three Canada geese per day.
Ducks are also legal from Saturday through Dec. 11 and again Dec. 24 to Jan. 1. Bag limit is six ducks per day (no more than four mallards, three wood ducks).
• Indiana bison: Last Saturday, 23 wild bison from South Dakota were released in Northwest Indiana at Kankakee Sands, a 1,095-acre Nature Conservancy property on the fringe of the once-great Grand Kankakee Marsh in Newton County. The majestic, 1,000-plus pound beasts last roamed here in the 1830s.
Bison are expected to help restore native prairie in the fenced preserve located near Willow Slough Fish & Wildlife Area, near the Illinois border. Public viewing areas have been built. For more information, see www.nature.org/indianabison.
If you're thinking about a bison-viewing road trip, keep in mind this isn't far from another awesome wildlife spectacle, the Sandhill Crane roosts at Jasper-Pulaski FWA.
• Fishing report: Seen some really nice bluegill and crappie catches the past week. The 'gills were hitting shallow, in three to five feet of water. Crappie were over a bit deeper water, roaming on top of deep weeds.
Bass are biting, too. The key is timing decent weather this time of the year.
Salmon are slogging around area tributaries, with most chinook in the upper reaches with coho scattered lower. A few Skamania steelhead are biting throughout Trail Creek. No reports from the harbor and pier. Colder temps are needed to bring in some fresh steelies.