Oh Shoot! A Goose?

Canada Geese

Canada Geese

Goose Break Raffle

Goose Break Raffle

Any day now, the geese will return, writing letters in the sky.

The bulletin board at the entry of Meechum has a posting for gun cleaning at $50.00. There is also an announcement for a raffle for bullets, tents, down sleeping bags, toilet paper, etc.

Inside the grocery store, signs advertise goose break specials. Cases upon cases of bullets are stacked high, alongside boxes of kraft dinner.

Across the street, at the local hardware store, I line up behind people purchasing gas tanks, coolers and batteries.

Goose break fever is in the air, as families prepare to leave for camps. Consider it similar to the pre-Christmas/Chanukah season of family celebrations, but instead of a turkey, picture hundreds of geese… Only the geese aren’t purchased in the freezer section of a grocery store, wrapped in plastic. These geese are shot, plucked and then singed over an open fire.

Andy asked a student what they did with all their geese. “We have lots of big freezers,” he replied.

Goose break is not only family time, but it is also a chance for a young boy to shoot his first goose.

When the first goose appears, is difficult to predict, but when it does, it will be hard keeping anyone in town. For about two weeks, families will be at their camps, some accessible only by skidoo, or later in the summer, by canoe.

One of Andy’s students invited us to visit his camp, which is more accessible than most, but we are headed back to Montreal for two weeks. I would have loved to have gone, with fresh baking in tow, in hope of a slice of fresh goose … maybe next year.

Below is a link for some pictures of Goose Break.

http://www.chtisb.ca/news/276-happy-goose-break

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4 thoughts on “Oh Shoot! A Goose?

  1. It’s also a chance for a young girl to make her first kill….after Goose Break there is huge party involving the whole village to honor the geese and celebrate the first kill of boys and girls, one of the guys told me he had his first kill at 6 years of age…..Andy

  2. How interesting – a goose break plus a coming of age ceremony for boys. But what about the girls? What do they have to accomplish to be initiated into the circle of native women?
    Staying on the topic of geese: We just bought a goose at the Metro store in Gananoque. They were left over from Christmas and reduced to half price – $20! It’s in our freezer, awaiting visits from one of the kids to make it a little festive meal. I think the goose deserves at least that, considering it was cheated from being served by the light of a Christmas tree, right?

    • Rita, there’s much excitement and energy, I’m almost swept away with the geese! I am not sure if the girls shoot as well. I’ll find out. I still remember my Opa’s geese in Germany, but they were snowy-white. When I was about four, I gathered the geeses’ favourite food and fed them through the mesh of their enclosure. I must have spent hours doing this. I do remember Opa being quite upset. The Sunday roast goose dinners were delicious, but the one smell that still haunts me is the singing of the feathers. That I could do without!

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