2017-09-07 / News

Goose season opens with a bang in Lapeer County

BY LAURI ELBING
View Newspapers correspondent


Greg Gumbrecht and Tim Kitchen, president and board member of the Eastern Michigan Sportsmen’s Association, respectively, motor over to pick me up at 8 a.m. The men had already been on the water for more than three hours before I arrived. 
Photos by Lauri Elbing Greg Gumbrecht and Tim Kitchen, president and board member of the Eastern Michigan Sportsmen’s Association, respectively, motor over to pick me up at 8 a.m. The men had already been on the water for more than three hours before I arrived. Photos by Lauri Elbing LAPEER — Opening day of the 2017 fall Canada goose hunting season began before dawn on a perfect late summer morning for thousands of hunters of all ages and abilities across Michigan.

I had the distinct privilege of going on my first goose hunt with Greg Gumbrecht and Tim Kitchen, the president and a board member of the Eastern Michigan Sportsmen’s Association, respectively.

The club is about a year and a half old, and members are on a mission to share and mentor the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. To say these guys have a love of the great outdoors is an understatement, and is matched only by their passion, patience and good humor while giving an aspiring outdoors sportswoman like me the first waterfowl hunting experience of my life.


Greg Gumbrecht turns the boat toward a secret hunting spot. Greg Gumbrecht turns the boat toward a secret hunting spot. They were the first team out on the water starting the morning at 4:15 a.m., setting up more than 50 decoys in a prime position, taking into account wind direction, nearby agriculture fields used for feeding, and landing paths at what will remain an undisclosed location in Lapeer County.

I had the luxury of rolling in about 8 a.m. The final remnants of mist were lifting off the water when they picked me up at the base of a bridge in their boat.

It was all decked out in camo, grass and cattail skirts and burlap panels held together with a hundred zip ties. The ingenuity involved in transforming a standard bass boat into a floating duck blind with easily retractable panels is something to behold. They’d give Angus “Mac” MacGyver, that action hero of the ‘80s, a run for his money, and like Mac would always say, “Brace yourself. This could be fun.”


Tim Kitchen uses a goose call to attract game. Tim Kitchen uses a goose call to attract game. Gumbrecht gave the motor just enough power to neatly nestle the boat in a swath of cattails and reeds, and there we sat overlooking the field of decoys, listening intently for geese while simultaneously chatting it up, telling stories of how each of us became interested in hunting and fishing.

I’ve asked people of all walks of life that question, and it almost always leads back to a childhood fishing trip or turkey hunt with mom, dad, or grandparents. I was one of the lucky kids that had a mom, dad, grandma and grandpa who loved fishing. And that is the point of this club: everyone is welcome and encouraged to come out and give is a shot.

Club membership is affordable and the members help guide what the activities will be for the year. There is a lot of expertise in the membership and on the board of directors, and they founded this club with a philosophy that mirrors mother nature herself: diversity equals strength. This is a family-friendly group and it doesn’t matter where you’re from, just come out a share and learn and enjoy.

Kitchen stops abruptly mid-sentence and pulls the camo bedazzled panel up and over our heads, “There coming in off the field,” he says. “Do you see them, Greg?” I’m holding my breath, and we stare at the geese circling around and then they start down. The guys start calling the geese in with squawks and chortles.

“I love that part,” says Gumbrecht with a huge grin, extending his arms like wings and making a swishing sound. “I love it when they lock up like that and come in.”

“They’re dumping! They’re dumping,” Kitchen yells in a whisper, then looks at me with a twinkle in his eye and a wry grin, “That’s when they adjust their wings to ‘dump air’ and descend.”

They got off a few shots that hit their mark while I snapped photos of the action.

“A lot of people say goose isn’t very good eating, but there is a place in Davison that can turn the geese we bagged into delicious snack sticks,” Kitchen explains.

Free range, no antibiotics, organic meat? You can’t beat that for a healthy snack choice.

If this has piqued your interest, or you have a twinge of curiosity about anything from deer hunting with bow or gun, duck or goose hunting, shooting skeet, making decoys, fishing, wild game cooking, wildlife photography, or maybe you’re interested in a CPL (Concealed Pistol) License class, check out the Eastern Michigan Sportsmen Association.

“In the next few weeks we'll start planning our activities and events for 2018,” explained Gumbrecht. “We rely on feedback from our membership in this process because our members are our first priority. Come see us at the Woods and Water Outdoor Expo next weekend. New members get a free t-shirt while supplies last.”

The annual membership dues for this multidisciplinary club is tiered at reasonable rates to encourage participation. General Membership: $30. Senior Membership (60+) $25. Junior Membership (under 17) $10. To join the Eastern Michigan Sportsmen Association, fill out and send in the membership application on their website. You can also join in person at one of their events or at the membership meetings that are held at 7:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month at Little Caesars, 1081 South State Road in Davison.

Upcoming opportunities to stop by and kick the tires of this group include stopping by their booth at the Woods and Waters 31st Annual Outdoor Weekend at the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds in Imlay City on Friday, Sept. 8 and Saturday, Sept. 9 (details here: http://www.woods-n-waternews.com/ Sissue-37607.292113-p24128.112113- Outdoor-Weekend.html), and at their annual meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Little Caesar’s. A social hour will begin at 6:30 p.m., following by the meeting at 7:30 p.m.

For more details, see their website: http://www.easternmichigansportsmen.org. or look for them on Facebook.

Everyone is welcome, and I for one am signing up. Thanks again Greg Gumbrecht and Tim Kitchen for that great experience. I’ll be looking forward to a couple of those goose sticks and to getting out there again.

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2017 The Davison Index, All Rights Reserved

Click here for digital edition
2017-09-07 digital edition