Tu tene eum procul; Ego curram ob auxilium!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

10 Ducks and a Conger

For Craig and I, the season is over. We had our last hunt
today. We partied up with my boss and his friend and the
two boats. Mike and John hunted off an island in the
center of the impoundment and we were hunting a reed
line closer to the edge.

The way things set up, we only had the stray ringer
come zinging through every so often. I tried getting
out of the boat, hunting other spots on the reed
line, and moving decoys, but nothing was making the
ducks slow down.

Things improved after most other hunters in
the area either filled their limits or left early. The
ringers seemed to lose some of their wariness. We
were able to coax several birds in with a gentle
purr in the duck call. It was very effective.

Craig ended the day with 6 birds and I had
4. You may not see the tenth duck in the picture,
but it is a drake wedged under a hen. It was one
of Craig's cripples I retrieved. I saw it in the
reeds and knew it was too alive to chase. I had
to pop him at fairly close range. Several "jokes"
were made at the check station about the nearly
headless duck.

I had another close encounter of the scaly
kind. I went looking for a drake ringer I hit
that landed in the bullrushes. I plowed through
several times where I thought it might have landed.
In the middle of the reeds was a large open area.
I saw movement to my left and realized that it
was a water moccasin slithering over a mound
of vegetation. I shot it and then shot it again.
That was very satisfying.

Youth waterfowl day next Saturday. Should
be a good hunt.



Sunday, January 21, 2007

The End is Near

Only two more hunts in the season. I'll try
and hunt next week, but I'll have to swing
another walk on spot at the WMA.

Dave and I were able to party up with Riley
and Jake yesterday and that worked very
well. Dave got a hen bwt and a nice drake
gwt. I got one bwt (with an almost defensive
shot she was so close) and three ringers. I
missed several teal and a walk up shot on
a beautiful drake woody. The woody dove-
whodathunkit- and disappeared in the reeds.

The last hunt is one of my favorites each year -
Youth Waterfowl. We may try the Camp
Blackbelly campout again this year if the
weather is not as destructive as last year's




Saw my old BOB roommate Tim Zimmerman on
Friday night. He was doing a tour of Florida with
his group, The King's Brass. I don't think I've ever
heard them sound better. They were really hitting
on all cylinders.

I remember a very dark time in my life when his
album A Backwards Glance was continually on
my turntable (that should date things). I derived
a lot of calm and solace and probably drove my
then roommate nuts with that music.

One of the things I like about Tim's concerts is
his humility. He may headline the name of the
group, but he doesn't hog the spotlight. Each
of the other players has an opportunity to
shine. They sure did the other night.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Finally Shooting Straight

Saturday was another awesome day. We had a good draw at the WMA and ended up in the reservoir. It was a spot I hadn't scouted and two different people gave me good directions and advice. My #4 son and I put out only 6 ringer decoys, but we tossed two dozen coot decoys. There was no wind and no clouds, but we did set up with the sun to our backs in a small clump of reeds. It was quick work to get the camo netting up and 15 large palmetto (God's gift to brushing) fans jammed around the boat. We had half an hour to sit.

Things didn't start fast, but soon the ringers were zinging through. I knocked down 3. I didn't want to try a retrieve on them until daylight was fully up and I could pick out any gators in the pond. But, a pair of woodys came whistling through. I popped the drake and I was in the water retrieving that one in a hurry. I found two of the ringers as well, picked up a bunch of hulls, and got back in the boat. A buddy came by in his boat to see how we were doing and he found my missing ringer. We'd seen him kill a nice wigeon, but otherwise his day had been pretty slow. A few minutes later, a small group of bwts came just behind me. I hit a hen just about straight over me and she sailed into the weeds behind me. It took two passes through some thick stuff to find her but I also picked up two sleeves and the front of my waders full of sticker burrs (beggers lice).

We spent the next hour or so working big flocks of fulvous whistling ducks. They wanted to roost in the hole we were in, but they've had the crap shot out of them this year and they were spooky. Finally, a nice pair came across the dekes. I dropped the hen and my day was done.

My poor #4 son has had a horrible year after doing so well last year. He didn't kill any of the ducks that came through while I was still shooting, and the wigeon, woodies, and fulvous that we worked the rest of the morning either didn't come in close enough or flew through the duck sized holes in his shot string.
Above is a picture of three of the birds that were not too messed up.