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June 03, 2008

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Bourjaily on Goose Hunting with a Rake

I was in a bar in Texas once after a quail hunt once, drinking a beer with my guide. A woman who must have been 6’ 2” or so walked in the door and the guide observed: “She’s so tall she could goose hunt with a rake.” I always thought that was a funny remark, but I never thought anyone actually knocked birds out of the air until I saw this video.

Although I’ve seen snow geese fly that low, it’s never occurred to me to stick the barrel up and smack the bird as it flies by. I’m not sure I could make a clean kill with a gun barrel anyway. Last week’s topic was people hit by birds. This week it’s birds hit by people. Anyone?


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Did see something similar once, in a South Dakota milo field loaded with pheasants, a wounded but still flying rooster couldn't get altitude, but wouldn't go down. Since he was so low the walkers and the blockers couldn't shoot, but he flew close enough to one of the blockers that he reached out with his gun barrel and knocked the rooster down. He was a tall guy which probably helped.

Also once on a quail covey rise one of the birds was in such a hurry to escape he rung his own neck on a powerline and fell right at my feet.


Never seen anything quite like that before, but did see a guy get a pheasant without a shot fired. We were walking along and the guy felt something move under his feet, the bird was holding so tight that he stepped on it.

Dennis L. Crabtrey II

My Dad, Uncle, and I quail hunt a few times a year when I get a chance. On one covey they flushed and Dad shot two, and another quail went Kamikazee at my dad who was shooting a double. He swatted at him and came VERY close, but missed. We all had a good laugh.


My first adopted racing Greyhound redefined the term "bird dog" when he flushed a rooster pheasant and then caught the thing. For some reason, it ran instead of flew.


Never seen anything like that!

Not sure it's something I'd do, but it seems like this goose was a cripple that maybe tried to get back up, so the ends justified the means...

I've put the Joe Dimaggio on a crippled snow in the marsh before, because it was too close to shoot and too lively to grab by the neck. But I don't think I'd be real enthused about killing a healthy bird with a swipe of the gun barrel (or butt).

Mike Diehl

Well, I've seen a grouse struck by car antenna at highway speed. That was kind of..... feathery.

Since we're on the topic of weird encounters w/ birds, I once had a vulture fly up off some road kill when I rounded a curve. The vengeful buzzard upchucked about a pint of half ingested rabbit meat on the hood of my truck. It was a hot July day in New Mexico and it was 10 more miles to the nearest USFS station (which happened to have a hose). Now I know how they make jerkey.


I just spit coffee all over my monitor. Hope my keyboard isn't damaged. Thanks alot...


Great post and great writing in F & S and this clip is very interesting, actually kind of funny,

But something the Anti-gunners love. Showing hunters acting like idiots.

I love to shoot and hunt(when I get the chance) but does this really show us in a good light?




How did they act like "idiots"?

They didnt act like the guys I hunt with and I probably wouldnt fit in well in that blind.

But dont condemn them as "idiots" just because they arent like you.

Ralph the Rifleman

I agree with the C_S on this one, it doesn't take much for PETA freaks to think us hunters even more sick when they see something like this. Personally, I say the bird is just as dead and the man saved himself a shell!

WA Mtnhunter

When I have my limit (or all I care to carry), my Lab goes on the leash! He will grab a bird out of the brush unassisted.

I doubt the Game Warden differentiates between shot birds and "Lab'd" birds! LOL

Bill in VA

Is that a legal method of taking game?

Jim in Mo.

dartwick, concerned_soldier, Bill in Va
I don't blame the guy. He had the expensive tag, fair game.
Snow geese are like vermin, too many of them, ruining nesting grounds in Canada and alot of sportsmen dollars are going up there to save/restore those grounds.
If I'm acting/performing in a legal manner I no longer worry about what the anti's think or say. They'd spout lies even if we were angels. Screw em, their tax dollars don't help conservation.

Jim in Mo.

Our tax dollars do!


I agree with Jim in Mo.'s comments entirely, well put...
Insofar as the whacked goose I finally am speechless with a return story since my previous mention of the bobwhite quail flyinging into the barb on a wire fence pales in comparision. I'll have to wait on another topic to bore you guys anymore.

Bernie Kuntz

I saw a sharp-tailed grouse fly into a barb-wire fence one time in northeastern Montana and kill itself. (I picked it up.) But I never have seen anything like on this video--whacking a goose out of the air with a damned shotgun barrel!

SD  Bob

I found the video interesting! If you've never tried to decoy snow geese you can't fathom how amazing that video is. Once those snow's hit South Dakota and they've been hunted they are one of the toughest birds to get into your spread. Hit it right and it'll be an adventure you wamt more and more of! What is in that video is such an aberation that it is just plain fun to watch!

Del in KS

One day I was running my old Brittany "Belle" in a hayfield when she locked up on point. I walked in behind her and there appeared to be nothing there. Next I stomped around in the little bit of short grass. Not enough to hide a butterfly. Finally called Belle off minutes later she went back and pointed that spot again. So I said "get 'im". On command she lunged forward stuck her head into a small hole I had missed and came out with a nice fat live Bob White. Another time she caught a flushing Chucker as he rose from the grass. Belle died a few yr ago sure miss that dog.

Scott in Ohio

Before I was of hunting age a buddy and I were walking in a stream and a mallard drake flushed out from beneith some low stream-side brush. It flew right over our heads and my buddy leaped up and touched its wing. Though this video takes the cake.


Bill in Mo, Dartwick, Bill in Va,
Thanks and I appreciate the feedback.

I just believe we do not need to give PETA or Anti-gunners any ammo against us to strengthen their case.

Hell, I roll through stop signs, but I don't video record it for the police to use against me.

If can save some face by leaving videos to just showing friends at the house or very close friends on e-mail, it may be better for our cause.



Thos. B. Fowler

Del in KS...
I have to agree with the Brittanies. Terrific hunters, good, gentle companions. Have had pointer and setter dogs, but always return to Brits.
As to whacking something the size of geese with a thin shotgun barrel...probably not the best of ideas. Sort of like whacking bad offficials at a tennis match with a racket. Hard on the racket, and annoying to the officials. use a .45. It is designed for the job.

Tom Fowler

Duck Creek Dick

Concerned Soldier:

I agree with your analysis of the video, though the term "idiots" might be too strong. These folks in the goose pit just weren't taught any better hunting ethics. Even pestiferous snow geese should be hunted with respect, not shot like rats or starlings. The old saying, "one boy-all boy; two boys-half a boy; three boys-no boy at all" applies to these dudes in the goose pit. Too much testosterone and grandstanding in too small a space to suit me. I wonder if that guy's 12 ga. camo Louisville Slugger patterns a yard to the left after that performance?


That was too funny! For the anti-gunners & PETA, I'd just file that under Darwinism. If the bird is too silly to know any better than its days are numbered anyway. I wonder if the folks at PETA should start an anti clean window campaign during the migration seasons as too many birds hit my windows. I have to admit if that situation came upon me, I too would smack it down like a goal tending NBA player... but not with my Holland & Holland. Great post, Dave!

Phil Bourjaily

To Concerned Soldier: I thought for a long time about whether or not I should post this clip although I knew the majority of you would get a kick out of it.
Personally, I would not knock a goose out of the air with my gun barrel for fear of not killing it cleanly. I don't think, however, we have handed PETA a major propaganda coup here.
To Bill in VA: Is it legal to hit geese with a gun? As far as I can tell, it is. The migratory bird regulations prohibit use of
"trap, net . . . fish hook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance." There's nothing in the regs about gun barrels being illegal. Or rakes, for that matter.


I have to agree with some of the others. The clip is not in good taste.

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