Every year, I take a little hike, a little jaunt, down to Arkansas at the end of December to join my good friend Amy Ray, founder of the The Sisterhood of the Outdoors. We meet for the Sisterhood’s annual women’s duck hunt, hosted by outfitter extraordinaire Buster Cooper and Bust-A-Duck Guide Service, in Gregory, Arkansas. Adding icing to this already great cake, Beretta sponsored our trip this year, and sent six shotguns for us to use – A300 Ultima and A400 Xtreme Plus.
Sponsored by Beretta
If you know about duck hunting, you know that you don’t always fill your strap with ducks. And, if an occasional specklebelly goose (aka, spec) flies in, it’s game on. A specklebelly goose gets its name from a pattern of black barring on its breast. They can weigh between four to six pounds, and according to this post at “Ducks Unlimited,” whereas “Canada geese glide down like huge bombers to a landing, white-fronts often careen out of the sky, sideslipping or butterflying down in a near vertical descent. Their voice is distinctive: high-pitched and melodious, like laughter.” These reasons make them really fun to hunt.
Also, many people prefer to eat the meat of the specklebelly, as opposed to Canadians and snows.
According to Buster and our guides extraordinaire, we needed to experience a spec hunt, if for nothing else than to say we had done it. After having a totally dry duck day the first day, and I mean, not a gun up and not a shot fired type of day in a marsh, I felt ready for something new. The guides got up really early, like 2 a.m., to set the field with hundreds of goose decoys. Then, they picked us up and we headed out in total darkness to sit in a field in between fake grass (blind). At sunrise, the calling began in earnest. It didn’t matter that there were 10 hunters, especially when at least 100 birds came in at a time. The calling went back and forth between the guides and the geese, and we all waited in anticipation for our favorite command, “Shoot ‘em!”
Wherein we would pop up and do so. It didn’t take long – really less than 90 minutes – and we almost had our limit. Being very careful of counting (six each), the guides knew we needed one more specklebelly goose to limit out. They asked for the youngest hunter, who happened to be in our group. Carissa would get the honor of bringing down the last bird. I talked to her about what that pressure felt like in the video below. You can see, she came through with flying colors. Later on, I overheard her talking to her dad and he said they would have that goose mounted. It was her first goose hunt ever, and how memorable for her!
Buster and Amy work hard to ensure that each year’s women’s duck/goose hunt is as successful as it can be. In the field, it’s never a given that waterfowl will arrive. Back at the lodge though, it’s always a given that there is an opportunity to network, educate and just relax around the fire pit.
Beretta’s shotguns added to the overall thrill of that day, in that they performed so well, with not even one malfunction. We shot several loads and makes of shells, in mostly 2s, 3s and 4s. The guns did not disappoint. In fact, most of us are purchasing the guns we used, because we liked them so well.
Learn more about Beretta’s shotguns.
Learn more about Bust-A-Duck Guide Service.
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