Goosefest Begins Saturday - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Goosefest Begins Saturday

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A major event in our region is celebrating its 25th year.

The Kenmare Goosefest begins tomorrow with a chili feed and continues through the following weekend with hunting, banquets, and special events.

But of course the entire festival is centered on what brings tourists to the region right now - goose hunting.

Jim Olson went out with a few local hunters this week to help us experience the popular outdoor activity.

The pitch black field held only a pickup truck at 6:15 am - a truck that had served as a bunkhouse for these two guys.

(Scot Ness, Kenmare) ""

That's Coot - who didn't seem to be unhappy with his lodging. But why did these intelligent humans spend the night in a pickup?

(Scot Ness, Kenmare) ""

(Grant Gotschall, Kenmare) ""

(Scot Ness, Kenmare) ""

Scot and Grant wanted this spot because there had been a large flock of honkers and snow geese here the previous night.

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

And so, by 6:30 the pre-hunting activities were underway - unloading dozens of decoys...

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

And placing them over the area where the real birds were seen feeding the night before. The idea is that the geese will return here at sunrise to resume their feast.

And while the decoys were being set, a welcome sound

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

Meanwhile the preparation continued - hauling out hunting blinds and finding just the right spot for all four of them among the decoys - three for the hunters and one for me, your humble reporter. All the while, Coot was frolicking and checking out the progress, waiting for his chance to perform. And finally, the stage was set

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

So the trucks were moved back to the road and the wait began.

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

A nice morning that may have been a curse as well - the clear sky meant high-flying birds may be out of reach of the shotguns. But the idea is to hide in the blinds - spread among the decoys - and coax the geese to land right here. But that takes patience. Something these guys - and Coot for that matter - seem to have plenty of.

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

Sightings of far off geese are relayed -

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

As are reports of neighboring hunters' activities.

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

And then, (more of 59:50)

preceeded by that familiar honk, here they come

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

But the flocks seem to be steering clear of us.

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

What could it be? The hunters realize frost has formed on their decoys, making them shiny and unrealistic-looking to geese in flight.

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

But finally, a few geese decide to fly right over.

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

Coot is excited - here's his chance to show off his bird dog skills. But no geese flutter to the ground. It was a miss. And it proved to be this group's only shots of the morning.

And so we end our 90 minutes in the blinds and remain philosophical

(Tim Lautenschlager, Kenmare) ""

And they all promise to be back at it again soon - hoping to make this year's goose hunting season a success. Near Kenmare, Jim Olson, KX News.

You'll find a complete schedule of events for the 25th annual Kenmare Goosefest online at www.KenmareND.com

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