Finally – I get to fire my gun!

After being on the island for nearly two weeks,  I got to dirty my barrels for the first time yesterday evening.

Sunset down at the Strandervat Estury

Sunset down at the Strandavat Estuary

The night before I had gone out with the intention of putting myself into some of the many greylag geese on the island, but instead discovered I was around 300 metres too far away from the line. All I could do was watch as around 90 geese flew past me into the setting sun. It was very frustrating, to say the least, but the seven or eight small skeens I watched all followed exactly the same line, so I said to myself “THAT’S WHERE I’M GOING TO BE TOMORROW!”.

Goose decoys set

Goose decoys set

So, after a day of catching up with paperwork and a trip into town shopping with the wife (VERY expensive as she insisted on purchasing every single different type of cheese and salami one can buy on the Isle of Lewis), I headed down to the estuary with six decoys and my trusty Labrador Boris to a location as close to getting directly under the flight line that I had watched the night before, that I could. I put my decoys on the top of a little rise covered in short grass that is grazed by the sheep and geese daily, to try to ensure that the geese would keep to yesterday’s flight plan. I hunkered down into a suitable little cut in the shoreline and waited, giving a few blasts on the goose call every few minutes to keep the ruse up.

Boris waiting patiently for goose flighting on the Isle of Lewis

Boris waiting patiently for goose flighting

Here come the birds!
After about an hour, I heard the geese stirring – not as many as last night, but I could hear a small number coming my way, and boy was I in the right place! It was only a small group, but they were flying directly at me, around 25 yards up, calling out to my decoys to join them. As they got to around 45 yards, I jumped up and my first shot claimed its prize! I swung onto the second, but in my eagerness, I swung too far and missed in front. Boris, who had been waiting with me so patiently, had disappeared into the bank and was swiftly on his way back with the first bird – looking nearly as proud with himself as I was.

Goose shooting on the Isle of Lewis

The Shotgun Chef’s first goose on the Isle of Lewis

We settled back into our little hole to see if any more would come but alas, to no avail. I could hear the main lodge having a great flight on the duck ponds, and the whole time I was there I was buzzed by snipe, but they were nearly invisible in the half light, so I left them to it and headed back to the warmth of our lodge. I’m very happy with my find – a good little flight line that I suspect will provide sport for my guests on a regular basis in the weeks to come.

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