Tu tene eum procul; Ego curram ob auxilium!

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.




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