I was sitting in the blind alone. I was a young man. It was a few years ago. I don’t remember exactly, but I remember that day. It was a sunny day. Not too much wind. The geese were hardly flying. So at midday everyone went for tea except me. My grandfather was there, all my uncles and two of my brothers.

As a young boy I sat at my grandfather’s side fetching his geese. Watching and listening to him as he spoke of the ideal conditions for geese, where to expect them and when. He has an uncanny ability to predict where the wind would be coming from and whether the geese would be flying. If he knew the geese weren’t going to fly and it didn’t rain, he would still go out.

I sometimes wasn’t a very good student, not very patient. He survived famine and hard times, he saw the transition from the old ways to the new—he knows. One of the important lessons he taught me was patience.

“Even if the wind isn’t right, go out and wait—you never know when you will sit in a goose’s path.”

Sitting alone, I was watching for geese, then someone shouted “EYAK-WA.” I turned to where the fire was; everyone was huddled down. Then I lowered myself and fixed my eyes toward the decoys. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a lone goose pass over the fire but they didn’t touch him. They called to him.

“What’s going on,” I thought. The goose did a circle and came back in to my side Then my heart started pounding. I became uneasy. “What if I embarass myself in front of everybody,” I thought. One of my uncles yelled, “Ako Wahmschtikoosh! ”

Without hesitation I aimed my .410 single shot, squeezed the trigger and I felt the kick.

But I didn’t see the hit. I blinked. I opened my eyes and it was falling. Excitment came over me. Everyone was laughing. I went to get my first goose.

Walking back was one of my proudest moments.

That day I became a hunter.