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Band Tales: A Speck of Luck

A group of goose hunters doubles up on jewelry.

Band Tales: A Speck of Luck

This mixed bag hunt had a speck-tacular ending! (Photo By: David Stimac)

The Hunt

“John and I weren’t even going to hunt that day. John had some family commitments and we needed to get back to Minnesota,” said John Gallagher about a successful Saskatchewan hunt that almost didn’t happen. He and fellow Minnesotan, John Froehle, have been making the annual trip for over 30+ years, with Todd Russell from Oklahoma joining them for the last six.  

The day before their departure, Russell and Gallagher were discussing what their true trophies would be in the waterfowling world: “A banded bull sprig, a fully plumed drake widgeon and for sure a banded speck,” they concluded, realizing the latter was a long shot. “The area we hunt doesn’t see the numbers of specks that the western side of the province does and we have probably only gotten into a flock of them on 10 occasions or so in all these years.”

Todd had secured permission and was planning to sneak in one more hunt the following day on a field that looked promising, so both Johns decided to join him for a couple hours and head home from there. The first birds in were a group of about 200 snows. “They were horsing around quite a ways away (like snows do) when four birds broke off and headed towards our honker spread. Once they spotted us they never looked back,” said Gallagher, and soon there were four birds on the ground.

“As I approached the closest one I could see it was a speck,” he continued. “The bird was belly up and had beautiful bars across the chest. Then I noticed the hardware on the leg! I couldn’t believe it, a banded speck.” They hunted for another hour and a half, shooting a dozen honkers and a half dozen snows; then it was time to pick up.

“Todd grabbed one of the specks, saw that it had a band and was confused as to why I would have put the banded bird on his side,” said Gallagher. “Then, as he gathered up the rest of the birds he realized that we got two banded birds out of that flock.” They noticed the band numbers were close in sequence and surmised they might have been banded together. “I plugged in the numbers on the drive home and we were right, both banded on the same day, same location, and same bander. A banded specklebelly goose might be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, at least where we hunt,” said Gallagher. “Two out of one flock is for sure once-in-a-lifetime; and to think, we didn’t know we had a dual trophy hunt until two hours later.”

The Bands

BAND#: 2177-17038

SPECIES: Greater White-fronted Goose (M)

HUNTER: John Froehle, Maples, MN

BANDED: 7/14/2019

Near Cambridge Bay, NU

RECOVERED: 9/22/2021

10 mi S of Foam Lake, SK

Recommended


 

BAND#: 2177-17002

SPECIES: Greater White-fronted Goose (F)

HUNTER: Todd Russell, Eufaula, OK

BANDED: 07/14/2019

Near Cambridge Bay, NU

RECOVERED: 9/22/2021

10 mi S of Foam Lake, SK

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