The goose that took revenge

By G. Sam Piatt - Contributing Columnist



Geese are delightful creatures to observe as they fly overhead in their classic “V” formation, continuously honking and blabbering about something or other.

I haven’t seen them for a while, but occasionally a flock – or gaggle – makes their way directly over my house on their way to their feeding grounds on a nearby small lake.

The troublesome thing about geese is that they make such a mess when they’re walking around on the ground.

A few years ago, workers from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources decided it was time to take action on a flock of messy Canada geese from Greenbo Lake.

They would herd ‘em up and move ‘em out.

During the summer molting period geese are grounded for four weeks or so until new wing feathers grow in.

Workers rounded them up like cattle, clipped a tag to each one, and hauled them off to Cave Run Lake, where there’s a special cove set off for them, far from any marinas.

But the work was all for naught.

As soon as they had their new wing feathers, the geese rose up and flew back to Greenbo.

Waterfowl hunters delight in the challenge to connect on a high overhead shot and take a big Canada goose home for the roaster.

In the latest issue of Hook & Barrel magazine, freelance writer Caleb Miller tells about a goose hunt taken by his grandfather that came out with a surprise ending.

One might even refer to it as “the goose takes revenge.”

Miller’s grandfather owns a farm a short distance from the local cemetery.

Every morning the geese would fly over his farm on their way to the ponds in the cemetery, where they were making a mess on his ancestors’ graves.

Miller’s brother told their grandfather, who they addressed as “Pop,” that they needed to get set up and pass-shoot the geese as they flew over.

Pop was more of a farmer then a hunter, but he agreed.

When the geese were in range, Pop aimed his 60-year-old Iver Johnson Champion single-shot 12 gauge skyward and put a load of shot into the leader of the flock.

Pop turned to say something to his grandson.

He paid no attention to a dead 20-pound goose that was falling from the sky and picking up speed.

Miller wrote that the “goose fell at such an angle that it hit Pop, chipping a tooth, breaking a rib, smashing his glasses, and bruising his ego in the process.

Oh, and it knocked him out cold.”

Miller wrote that when his brother went over to check on Pop, he was still lying on his back. Pop opened one eye and said:

“If this is goose hunting, I think I’ve about had enough. I’m gonna go up to the house.”

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A wildcat sits on its haunches and stares directly into the lens of the camera.

Also referred to as a bobcat, they are a cunning and secretive animal that usually lives in the deep woods, far from the sight of man.

This one, though, was photographed by Jeff England near the spillway of Greenbo Lake.

He looks contented and well-fed.

Could it be his diet consists mainly of fish that get washed over the spillway, or some he catches from the shallow stream that carries away water from the spillway?

The wildcat is one of dozens of wildlife photos taken by Jeff and his wife, Lisa, both retired, both still in their 50s, and both enjoying the satisfying activity that keeps them out there clicking the shutters.

Jeff retired in 2018 from his corporate travel job with Ashland Oil.

They are lifelong residents of Ashland.

“Lisa and I have been doing more and more outdoor activities, discovering places I hadn’t had the time to before. We have also added a nice point and shoot camera with a good optical zoom that has enabled us to “shoot” a lot of wildlife. I find I am much better at shooting with a camera than my shotgun. Ruffed Grouse always seemed to make a mockery of my gun skills.”

One photo is of the elusive river otter.

It was swimming in the Ohio River near the mouth of Little Sandy River at Greenup.

The state several years ago stocked otters in the Little Sandy and in the Tygarts Creek Gorge.

I’ve never seen one in recent times in my travels by fishing boat up and down the streams.

Perhaps they have taken more of a liking to the big river.

Many of the photos are of shore birds taken along area streams and lakes.

They have taken half a hundred trips by kayak.

Another shot is of the green heron, a bird I have never seen.

It was shot on the Little Sandy.

“Taking pictures from the water is the best approach,” Jeff said.


By G. Sam Piatt

Contributing Columnist

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.