Bagging Birds in Saskatchewan

SCI is First for ALL Hunters.

hunter on decoys at daybreak
The calm before the storm.

As the autumn sun began to light up the horizon, we were sitting in shallow field dugouts amid a spread of more than a hundred decoys that mimicked ducks, dark and light geese. From afar came the din of flying geese, talking among themselves as they traversed the cloudless sky. Some groups remained wide, others came closer while still others, hearing the enticing calls from hunters on the ground, flew directly toward the decoys, lowering their wing flaps and dropping their feet as they anticipated touchdown.

Bang, bang, bang…. several of the big birds in a single flight dropped from the air into the decoys, some almost hitting the shooters before making the unmistakable thump that results from a heavy fowl hitting the recently harvested pea field. Shots were close. Hits were solid.

That’s the way it was during the Third Annual Sure-Shot Media Hunt conducted on Northway Outfitters tribal land in Saskatchewan, Canada. Truly, it was a blast.

Attendance at the event earlier this fall was part of SCI’s efforts to expand its presence into other facets of the hunting world so it can be known more widely as being First for Hunters – all hunters. Both waterfowling and upland bird hunting represent activities that many SCI members and their friends pursue, but which traditionally have not been a major focus of the organization itself.

Represented on the hunt were several existing corporate supporters of SCI, as well as several companies that hopefully will become partners in the future.

Charlie Holder of Sure-Shot Game Calls
Charlie Holder, President and CEO of Sure-Shot Game Calls shows how it’s done.

Heading-up the event was Charlie Holder, President and CEO of Sure-Shot Game Calls. He’s a personable guy who is taking the company farther than it has been in the past – expanding his existing market in North America market into Europe.

Gun sponsor was Beretta. The Beretta A400 semi-auto shotguns brought down ducks and geese with ease. Beretta has been an exhibitor at the SCI Convention for many years, and recently has expanded its commitment with the SCI Foundation via the Beretta & SCI Foundation Conservation Leadership Award program, which will hold its inaugural gala Feb. 3 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada USA as part of the SCI Convention week.

Beretta A400 shotgun
Beretta was a hunt sponsor and their A400 worked great.

Camo sponsor was Mossy Oak, a longtime friend of SCI, including a major presence in the American Wilderness Leadership School program at SCI Foundation’s Granite Ranch in Wyoming. They provide funds to sponsor educators to attend AWLS that pays tuition and a travel stipend.  In addition, they provide instructional materials for all educators attending AWLS.  Last year, a person from their marketing department attended AWLS to videotape the learning experience of a teacher from Mississippi who was sponsored by Mossy Oak.

Other sponsors were Yeti coolers, Nissan trucks, Hevi-Shot ammo and G&H Decoys.

Waterfowl coming in to decoys
Looking up from the decoys at the clouds of waterfowl.

Such events afford the sponsors opportunities to have their products used in real situations by media representatives, who then can pass on the experiences to readers/viewers. Coverage from these kinds of events, coupled with advertising, is an effective way for the media to showcase products that work well in the field, the woods, on the water and high on the mountain, depending on the specific event. SCI co-sponsors such events in an effort to evangelize its critical mission programs via the media to the world at large.

All hunting was done in fields – for both ducks and geese. And it was a really mixed bag: greater and lesser Canadas, specks, Ross’ and snows, as well as both mallard and pintail ducks. From a single flight into the decoys, we dropped a pair of banded specks.

At times the sky was peppered with strings, Vees and wads of flying waterfowl. As the various flights came within sound range, hunters let loose with invitations via their Sure-Shot calls. It worked great. Birds veered toward the decoy set, following the sounds of the calls right over the guns and the blasting began.

Shoots happened during both the morning and evening flights. Group shot of HuntersTransportation for the entire event – from the airport in Saskatoon to the camp to the fields and back – was in Nissan pickups. Very comfortable, both on and off the road.

Saskatchewan is a hunting kind of place, whether it is for big game or waterfowl. Northway Lodge is primarily a deer hunting camp, but expanded its menu this year to include waterfowl. It worked out great.– Steve Comus

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