Tu tene eum procul; Ego curram ob auxilium!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Opening Day II

Today was opening day. I went to bed nice
and early, but woke up at 11:30PM. I couldn't
get back to sleep so I read Calvin, did
a crossword, and checked the weather.

I got the boys up at 2:00AM. We ate and
dressed hurriedly, but still didn't manage
to leave the house until 2:45AM. The
drive was uneventful except for a SUV on
its side in the center median. There
were a bazillion cops around the wreck.

We were the third duck boat in line.
But quickly got launched and headed
South up river. This was the first
time I ever tried to navigate using
the GPS at night. We got turned around
thrice but managed to get back on track
each time.

We got to our spot and were initially
concerned about how much the water had
dropped over the last week. Not to
fear. The boat easily got in place.
The boys got the camo netting up while
I tossed the decoys out. I put
palmettos up and we settled in for
an hour wait. I sliced my shooting hand
up on the palmettos, but at least there
were no skeeters. Shooting time was 6:17AM.
One good sign, we saw a teal take off
when we pulled up with the boat. Only
problem was that we were shooting into
the sun.

Here's a picture of the hole. It looks
crowded with vegetation - and it was.
Smartweed, duck weed, and other weeds
were thick. But there were enough small
pockets to put the decoys. I put out
bwt, pintail, and coots.

This was the boat. It was really well
covered up. We had tons of birds (ibis,
caracaras, kingfishers, and bald eagles)
practically land on the boat. When I
made my first retrieve before the sun
was fully up, I could hardly find the
boat from 30 yards away.

We had an awesome morning. I dropped one
bird stone dead very early and left it
to lay, but after a pair of mottled ducks
came and only one left. I figured I'd
better retrieve my birds. While I was out
Dave shot a nice green wing teal and I got
it for him. Back in the boat, I couldn't
figure out what my duck was. It had a
slightly rounded, smallish head and a blue
bill. I kept thinking it might be a wigeon,
but I knew they had a white speculum. This
bird didn't. I got out my Ducks at a Distance
and found that it was indeed a hen wigeon.
A new specie for us.

The boys had several opportunities at mottled ducks,
one hen was 2 feet off the water 15 yards
away and they missed with all six shots.
How they can hit little bitty teal screaming
through the dekes and not hit a hanging
modu - I'll never understand. Of course,
I've done it occasionally myself.

My calling was really on today. I worked
my Duck Commander drake call and pulled in
several of the mottled attempts. The boys
had success on the teal with their whistles.

Dave got a bwt when a pair came in low and
fast straight at us. I tried to get a shot
off, but forgot to take the safety off
first - that's happened before.

I got a bwt in a longish shot it fell
into a side channel of the river. I
spotted it trying to hide in some coots.
When they took off it was left. I spent
two more shells on it and it dropped its
head and started swimming in circles. The
wade out to get it kept getting deeper and
deeper. Thankfully, it didn't top the waders
and I didn't "float my hat."

Jim got on the board when a large group
of bwt came at us and broke across. He
shot and I shot. I saw two ducks fall.
One Jim's and one mine. Jim's was a cripple.
When I finished it for him, I saw that he
had another duck dropped with it for a Rut
Double. Later when I was picking up the
decoys, I decided to take a pass through
the smartweed. I found a second one I
had shot for my Rut Double.

Back at the boat ramp, we had the best
haul of the day. A lot of the guys who
were hunting farther north were hampered
by guys having airboat races.

Here are my birds:

This is the whole take:




Blogger vanckirby said...

looks like you all had a great opening day. are you a member of the pca. noticed you were reading calvin.

10:22 PM  
Blogger oldfatslow said...

Nah, Calvin was an Anglican.

Actually, we were many years in the PCA and have fond memories and friends there. We're in the AMiA now.

How about you?


7:34 AM  
Blogger vanckirby said...

well, he sure wasnt in the pca! haha

12:04 PM  

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