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Band Tales: Beginner's Luck

One neophyte bags an ancient, banded bird.

Band Tales: Beginner's Luck

Some hunters can go a lifetime before shooting their first band; some lucky new hunters strike it rich very early on. (Photo By: Gary Kramer)

Most veteran waterfowlers dream of bagging a banded bird. Some go for years, others careers of hunting without doing so; and some enjoy beginner’s luck. The notion had never even occurred to Blake Jackson as he headed to Arkansas with a group of work colleagues for just his second ever waterfowl hunt.

The initial target for the two-day expedition was ducks, but the group decided to switch things up on the final evening and enjoy a guided goose hunt. It would be Jackson’s first, and possibly most memorable.

The Hunt

It was a warm evening with clear, sunny skies when Jackson and his colleagues settled into their coffin blinds and prepared for action. Despite less than favorable fowling weather, the birds worked well and by 3:45 p.m., Jackson soon had his first goose on the ground. Modest congratulations quickly turned to elation when the bird was recovered and discovered to be sporting a shiny aluminum band.

The gravity of the accomplishment became heavier when Jackson reported his band and discovered this goose was no spring chicken. According to the certificate, it was banded in 2008 and hatched in 2006 or earlier, making it at least 14 years old. Furthermore, it was banded on Alaska’s North Slope, meaning it had traveled more than 3,350 miles (about the width of the United States), probably many times.

Greater white-fronted geese tend to be long-lived; the oldest on record was over 34 years, and also banded in Alaska. Nonetheless, Jackson’s is a remarkable accomplishment.

The Band

HUNTER: Blake Jackson, Russellville, AL

BAND #: 1847-57228

SPECIES: Greater White-Fronted Goose (F)

BANDED: 07/12/2008

LOCATION: 16.5 mi W of Atqasuk, AK

RECOVERED: 01/08/2020

LOCATION: 8 mi SW of Dewitt, AR

If you have a particularly interesting story or band recovery tale, CLICK HERE to fill us in on the whole story and we might use it as one of our next Band Tales.


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