The Grand Council of the Crees

Spring Goose Hunt in Eastern Ontario

By Diana Fisher

Posted: 2010-05-17

Jim Fisher (host), Freddie, Ruth and George Salt, plucking geese.

Spring Goose Hunt in Eastern Ontario
By Diana Fisher
gordongroup marketing + communications

The "nisk" came early this year. I was afraid they would all be gone by the time our Cree guests were scheduled to arrive mid-April. The Crees had been "skunked" when they came hunting in our area last November (due to unseasonably warm weather) and we were determined not to let it happen again!

A quick email to the north solved the problem. Our guests moved their holidays up a bit so they could be on the land a few weeks earlier.

Gordon Blackned and his troop, including his wife Sarah, Jermaine Blackned, Jason Weistche and Robert Stephen, were up and out the door before dawn every morning. They headed to farmland near the St. Lawrence and Nation Rivers, where my husband Jim had arranged for them to hunt. The farmers were happy to see them, as the geese apparently compact the field with their little webbed feet, creating non-ideal soil conditions. Jim was a little jealous I think, because he is not even allowed to set foot in the field during the off-season.

When the hunters were driving through the countryside each day, they would take note of fields that were full of geese. Then they would go to the door and ask permission of the property owner to hunt there the next day. In the afternoons, they returned to the farm for a nap. In the evenings, they wandered down through the pasture behind the farmhouse to the creek. There they would wait until the sun began to set and the geese flew in, following the curve of the creek.

Using this resourceful hunting method, Gordon's group bagged 79 geese in one week!

Sarah plucked the geese, and we kept them in our deep freezers until the group was ready to return home. When they left, their trucks were loaded with coolers stuffed with geese. I hope they enjoyed their feast.

Two weeks later, on April 16, the other arm of Gordon's family arrived. Freddie and Ruth Salt, their grandson Riley, George Blacksmith, Deshawn Whiskeychan and Jamal Moar followed Gordon's plan of attack and managed to get 59 geese in 3 days! The day they brought home 40, I didn't know whether Ruth would laugh or cry. It's a good thing she had help plucking. I think it took about 6 hours altogether. They even taught their host, Jim, the proper Cree method of goose plucking.

If this pattern extends and our Cree friends continue to travel south to our neck of the woods twice a year, I can see that we are going to have to set up some sort of match-making system with local farmers.

The night our guests left for their return trip to James Bay, we had a call from a local farmer who was very disappointed that they had left. His corn field was covered in geese, as far as the eye can see.

I told him the Crees will be back in the fall. And this time, my husband's party will be permitted to join them.