As you might expect there are not a lot of what some might call "normal people" applying to guide goose hunts. Anyone whose passion is to wake up at 3 a.m., tromp through the mud laying out 1000-plus decoys, hunt for 4 to 5 hours, pick up 1000-plus decoys, eat lunch, look for tomorrow's birds and then sleep 4 hours and do it all again is, needless to say, a little nuts.
Through the years, I have mentored many young men who wanted to join me hunting. My daughters' boyfriends provided a lot of the raw material. Some were the perfect goose hunting companion: Show up for the hunt, put out decoys, take a nap in the field while I shoot their extra speckle belly, wake up in time to pick up decoys then buy lunch, ride around and bullshit.
However, all of those young men grew up to be responsible humans and only go goose hunting for recreation. But there have been a select few who, like Peter Pan, have never grown up. Which leads me to the pair of passionate goose hunting crazies who are now working with Third Coast.
Let's start with Chad Hartman. During goose season, I am not sure he ever sleeps. He brings a level of energy to hunting that's off the chart.
He makes the Energizer bunny look like a slacker. There is a fire inside that does not go away. He has followed me since 2002, disappearing for a couple years and the reappearing. An accomplished artist, he's full of fun and passion -- he is one of a kind.
Then there is Andy Lewis. We call him Crazy Andy. The name says it all. A kinder more loyal soul has never existed, but he is crazy. His passion for hunting is side-by-side with Chad.
Living on two- to three-hours sleep, sloshing thru snow, ice, rain -- he never complains. He is like a light bulb, just plug him in and he starts working.
Of course many would say the head crazy is me. I graduated with honors from Texas A&M University, had a successful career building some fine golf courses and have been married to the same wonderful woman for 43 years. We raised two fabulous daughters -- both with master's degrees -- and six grandchildren. I'm 66 years old, had open-heart surgery just last winter and like most people you know have ups and downs and have been through thick and thin.
But what do I think about? Goose hunting. Goose hunting occupies my mind 24/7, 365 days a year.
I can hardly wait for the season to get here.
Speaking of the upcoming season, I am getting lots of good reports on the goose hunting in Canada. The last reports I read is that the snows are migrating from the breeding grounds and the hunting has been good to excellent. I also have read that the juvenile light goose count is much better than earlier predicted.
I'm excited, and am looking forward to hunting with YOU!