oldfatslow

Tu tene eum procul; Ego curram ob auxilium!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Don't Quack. Don't Even Quack.

I tried a Tuesday hunt at Goodwin
as a walkon.  I was 10th in line.
Many of the ones in front had spent
the night in their cars.

I came prepared to either wade
or hunt out of the boat.  Turned
out that I partied up with Dan
P. and his son Rob and we
would wade.  He had a spot
he liked on lower Goodwin -
so wading it was.

It's been a long time since I
took the Goodwin wagon
ride, but it was fun still.  We
got to our drop off and had
a 1/3 mile walk down the levee.
There was plenty of open water
and cover.  Dan and his son
took their spot near the levee
and I plodded deeper into the
impoundment.

There water wasn't horribly deep,
but it was uneven and very muddy.
A lot of the para grass had been
knocked down in the freezes and
made progress much harder and
slower.

I found an area where the water
funneled down before opening up
into some water behind me. I
had a large, open expanse in front
and grass islands to either side for
cover.  I tossed 7-8 teal decoys out
and sat down to wait.

I had forgotten several important
things - my gun strap and my
shell belt.  I solved the strap problem
by carrying the shotgun out in
its case since the case had a strap.
The case, I discovered, does not
seal well.  For a shell belt, I'd have
to use the pockets in my jacket.
That meant the jacket had to hang
outside the waders and down in
the water.

Somehow I managed to drop my
hat in the water.  That sort of worked
to my advantage.  I get so hot even on
a chilly morning that my glasses (forgot
my shooting glasses too) stay fogged
over.  The cold, wet hat cooled
my head and the glasses weren't
quite as bad of a problem.

The lunar eclipse was neat, but I
only got bits of it.  I was set up
facing northeast and it was behind
me.  When the eclipse cleared,
the moon was very bright in
the clear sky.  Coupled with
the rising sun, it was pretty
bright out.  There were plenty
of teal zinging around and
two landed in the decoys.
I was really surprised no one
shot early.

When shooting time came,
the two in my dekes were long
gone and no more came close.
I saw ducks on two flight
paths.  I moved to my right
and managed a bwt that
had landed out in the open
water.

Nothing much happened
after that.  So I grabbed three
decoys and moved farther north.
I managed to break a chunk off
of my marsh stool getting it
moved.

Over the next few hours, I kept
fiddling with those three decoys,
but nothing ever decoyed.  A
stray hen gwt landed close to
my hide and I bagged it.  For
a long time after, I took longish
shots at ducks that never quite
got in range.  Several times,
pairs of mottled ducks flew
from behind my left shoulder.
I was scared to accidentally hit
both and ended up shooting
behind the back one at each
opportunity.

At last, I heard a quack and saw
a singleton mottled flying
from in front of me.  I hit
it solidly with one shot and
it dropped perfectly dead
in front of me. [Turned out
is was a drake, so I don't
know where the quack came
from.]

As I slogged out to make
the retrieve, five teal came
up from behind me.  One
broke off and came right
at me standing wide open
in the marsh.

It took three shots to kill the
little teal, but my day was
done.  And a pretty good
day it turned out to be.
I've sure had lots worse days
out there.

ofs

1 Comments:

Blogger Hunt Like You're Hungry said...

Nice hunt! I'm hopin for one like that soon... too many people have made for some crowded, unpleasant hunts.

Merry Christmas!

HLYH

10:45 AM  

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