Tu tene eum procul; Ego curram ob auxilium!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Minimal Adventures

The hunting has been up and down. I had a good
draw for hunting at TMG and ended up in the
reservoir. The duck candy (hydrilla) was thick
and the ducks were too. We pounded the ringers,
but managed to slip in two woodies and a couple
bwts. When I hunted with boy 4 a few days later,
we got the last draw in Broadmoor. Still, it
wasn't a half bad spot, but we were pretty bad
shots. I dropped four, but one of them was a
spooner (ycch). Jim is still an ohfor this season.
Somehow, I need to find a way to step up to the
next level. I'm afraid it calls for a bigger commitment
than I am ready to make. As of now, I am still
not that good and have to rely on others for their
insights way too much. Yet, those few days when
I do put us on the ducks, there is no more fun. We
can put a lot of shells in the air and have a super



Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bummer Hunt

Jenny got me up at 1:15 AM because her blood
sugar was low. I fed her, but stayed awake and
got ready to go hunting. I got Craig up a little
past two, we ate breakfast, and headed out. I
was leaving early to avoid the crushing rush
at the launching ramp. The vast emptiness
of the parking lot should have been my first
warning this morning that things were

I had scouted last week and found that
Mud Lake was holding 2 to 300 green
wing teal. Today was my first time to
head south, up river, to find the lake in
the dark. I actually found it, but water
levels were down another six inches from
last week. Still we had a pretty good spot
to set up the boat blind. It was frustrating
that we got there two hours early and heard
no one else trying to find a spot. The river
was dead. I was so nervous that I twice took
out this years regulations to make sure today
was a hunt day.

When hunt time 6:34AM finally did roll around,
we didn't have any opportunities. Even more
annoying were all the flocks of sandpipers that
fly just enough like a teal to get your hopes up.
We stuck it out until 8 and then went snipe
hunting. We only managed one snipe a piece.
I'm bummed.



Thursday, December 07, 2006

I saw Satan

I have seen "the great dragon ... that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan."

Two Saturdays ago, I took boys 2, 3, & 4 into Broadmoor Marsh for a duck hunt. We set up where a good friend told he had seen birds working. It was cool, but clear. The water in front of us was covered with a thick pelt of duck weed. The water was a little deep for puddle ducks - knee deep, but we thought we had a good spot. I set Craig (2) and Dave (3) up about 120 feet away from Jim (4) and me . We were each on points of para grass, but there was a shallow bay between us. After we had the decoys out, we waded back and forth making sure everyone had the right gear. We settled down in the dark after a bit and began to silently wait. The sound of hen teal was all around us. Several flights of ducks including one of screaming F18 ringnecks passed over. Teal landed in the decoys. The tension was palpable, but the minutes to shooting time ticked slowly. When the moment finally did arrive we opened up. I limited out in about an hour, but the other boys weren't shooting their best. I had knocked down four blue wing teal, a nice drake woodie, and a banded mottled duck - my fourth banded bird. Craig dropped two teal, but one was a cripple that landed in the pond behind us. He checked for it, but couldn't find it. Dave got two blue wing teal. Jim killed a decoy.

Since I was done hunting, I decided to try and find my son's crippled duck. As a stepped into the bay between us, I noticed some strange ridges in the water. My eye followed them as they led away from me. They tapered to a point. My eye followed them back the other direction until the stopped at the head of a six foot gator one step in front of my foot. I hollered, "BIG!!" and started backing up immeditately. The gator did not move. The water must have been just cool enough that he was dormant. We packed up immediately. I sent the two smaller boys to the levee, but Craig and I went to look for the missing cripple. We didn't find it, but a large flock of teal flew over and he dropped one of those in the pond we had just been in. As he went to find that duck, I circled back to keep an eye on the gator. He had just surfaced and begun to slowly swim. I called off the retrieve and we called it a day.

I spent the next week thinking and fretting about that gator, but went hunting and wading for snipe the next Saturday in gator infested water anyway.