With one collared, banded specklebelly already in hand, Josh Breaux experienced a chill of exhilaration when his dog returned from a second retrieve with another collared, banded speck.
And if that wasn’t enough, the 19-year-old guide’s dog came back with yet another banded specklebelly on his third retrieve from the same group of birds.
“When I saw that second neck collar, my whole body just kind of started shaking,” Breaux said. “My nerves kind of got the best of me.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, this just happened. Ain’t nobody going to believe me.’”
According to Breaux, he has only killed two other birds with bands since he started hunting at the age of 13: one was a teal, the other an eagle head snow goose.
On the morning of Nov. 20, Breaux was guiding three hunters, and action started out slow. By 7:15, the group had only garnered two pintails, but that’s when the specks started moving.
“We had a bunch of specklebellies that started to move. I called and I didn’t really have that much luck with them. They didn’t want to work that much and honestly, the conditions weren’t really that great. Then we had three specklebellies pass over the blind pretty low, so I called and they didn’t want to work, so I tried a different tone on them,” said Breaux, who works as a fulltime farmer and guides during the off-season. “Finally, I found one of the birds wanted to break off and come towards the blind. I kept using that same tone and they all started following the lead bird. I worked him in and told the guys to just stare at the floor, whenever they’re in front I’ll tell ya’ll to shoot.”
When the birds were about 10 yards out from the blind and only five feet off the water, Breaux called the shot and the hunters got all three geese.
“Everybody was just pumped up,” Breaux said. “I’d never seen anything like that in my life. It’s something you hear about, but it never happens to you.”
One of the hunters called in the band numbers while the group was still in the blind. The lead bird was banded in 1997, and the other two were banded in 2011 and 2013. All were banded in Alaska.
After the thrill of taking down three banded and collared geese in one pass, the hunters decided to call it a day.
“All we killed were those two pintails and three specks, but everyone was so excited they didn’t care to stay much later,” said Breaux, who’s working with Feet Down Guide Service out of Gueydan. “We all just got out of the pit blind and left.”