oldfatslow

Tu tene eum procul; Ego curram ob auxilium!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pounding the Modus


The river is still passable, but barely.
The water is at the lowest it's been in
76 years of measurement.  At the ramp
yesterday morning I made a command
decision to head south upriver instead
of to the places we had been hunting in
the north.  Once again, we were the only
ones at the ramp.  

Dave and Stuart went with me.  I didn't
expect much from the duck hunting,
but we figured to shoot some snipe
if all else failed.  

The boat trip took about an hour but
was faster than I expected and we
didn't get stuck once.  We looked
over one pond and rejected it.  I 
decided instead to try an area near
where Craig and I had success
three years ago.

Everything around is burnt brown
from the hard freezes/frost of a couple
of weeks ago.  Still, we found a wide
spot on a former creek that still held
water.  If fact, it held a lot of water -
enough to top my hip waders.  I
was cold, wet, and miserable all
morning. 

Here are some shots of Dave at
sunrise.


The deeper water was in front of him where
we put the decoys.  

We made booths like the Children of
Israel out of palmetto fans.  To our
eyes, these may look weird on the
flat, burnt landscape, but one disappears
in them and the birds never seem
to mind.


We were teased all morning by
a hen mottled duck quacking her
lonely head off.  Ten minutes before
shooting time, 3 teal flew right over
our heads.  We figured we might
have a day.  Instead, nothing 
happened.  The modu cleared
out and the teal never came
back.  

I decided to tweak the decoys
and rearrange our position.
We moved from the deep
water to a tiny hole directly
behind us.  It is just
visible in back of Dave.

 

Not only were we now higher than 
that glorified puddle, we were much
further back than the decoys.

We had a lovely view back over the
marsh and across the river.  There
are lots of little pot holes out
there and we were able to
watch a pair of mottled ducks
way in the distance bounce
from hole to hole.  My duck
calling has really improved.
Modus are normally very 
call shy and quiet ducks,
but I commanded these
birds with my Phil Robertson
Call.  We were able to watch
them swing way out to our
right and then zoom into the
decoys.  

The drake led the way and decided
to pull out right in front of me.
I dropped him and the boys 
blazed away at the hen.  
Unfortunately, they were a
little rusty and she got away.

Later, Dave and I were both out
of our blinds when he yelled, "Ducks!"
and hit the ground.  I crouched and
watched as a group swung behind
us into the original pond we had
been in.  We all opened up, but
only hit one bird.  It followed its
group, but turned back to cross
in front of us again.  It was 
obviously hurt and glided with
the wind far out on the flats.  
Dave took off in a sprint for
a good quarter mile to chase it
down.  We could see him in the
distance working in and out of
the broom grass.  After a bit,
we heard a distant "boom" and
saw him waving success.  

When he got back we found
out that the group had only
been impersonating ducks.
We had a hoody (legal, but
useless for food).


We decided after that to separate and
try for snipe.  I may have had better
reactions on the duck, but I can't begin
to outshoot Dave on snipe.  1 for me and
five for him including a true double on his
first ones.


Here's a  picture I took of Dave and Stu 
right before the camera died.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love shooting
modus, but something is very wrong
with duck season when they are the
number one duck in my bag and not
teal, ringers, or black bellies.

ofs

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