Tu tene eum procul; Ego curram ob auxilium!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Two Flew Over the Cuckoo's Canal

Craig and Dave spent the night in the TMG
walkin line.  They ended up eighth in line.
For a Saturday, that put us pretty far down
in the running for any unclaimed permits.
After noodling on it quite a bit, I had opted
not to bring the boat when I met the boys
in the morning.

By the time our time to choose came along,
all the Broadmoor spots were long gone and
the best TMG spots were picked over.  If we
had had the boat, though, there were lots of
open impoundments.  Duckmanjr came to
our rescue and told us a spot.  Dan was
working the table and asked me for my
pick.  I said, "7E."  Right then, we figured
out that the guy ahead of me still had to
pick.  Guess what spot he snaked me for?
[It turned to our favor - he got skunked.]
Duckmanjr, told us of another spot that
didn't have much water but hadn't been
hunted too hard either.

The hay ride dropped us off at our
impoundment and we waded in.  We
had dressed so light because of the
heat that we weren't even wearing
waders.  Going into the water was
an initial shock, but we quickly got
accustomed to it.

Indeed, there wasn't much water.
We set up pretty close to the east
levee and hard against the canal on
the north levee.  Any long shots and
they would be in or over the 20ft deep
canal.  Having ended up in one of those
canals, I wasn't making the long retrieve
no matter how many sprigs or how much

Dave wandered off and came back saying
that it opened up farther down.  I said I'd take
a half dozen duck and a few coot decoys and
hunt that area.  As I headed out, I asked
Dave if he had gone left or right around the
reed island in front of me.  He said left.  He
was wrong.  I ended up in some really
thick stuff before I got course corrected.

The spot I choose was much smaller, but
a safe distance and direction from the boys.

The day was great.  Ducks actually decoyed
in or flew low and slow enough for easy
shots.  Well, all but two.  Both of them ended
up over the canal.  I was bummed.  Counting
them, I was limited.  The boys had been shooting,
but didn't have a lot of birds.  I called one of
them over.   Dave came and Craig stayed.

As he waded over and I headed out to meet
him, he yelled, "Down!"  I ducked and put
my fingers in my ears.  He fired and dropped
a drake woodie.  Unfortunately, it too went
over the canal.  I told him to hunt and I'd
make the circuit to the levee on the other
side of the canal to try and retrieve his bird.

I ended up retrieving my two teal, but neither
I nor later he could find his duck.

We ended the day with 11 ducks and a lot
of fun.

Bucket O'Ducks



Thursday, January 03, 2013

Christmas 2012

Christmas Dinner - two of the sick boys were exiled
All my kids: Stu, Tom, Sherry and Tadpole, Craig, Rob, Jim, Dave, and Jenny

All but the Tennessee contingent had the flu.  Here is ofs making use of his new sherpa throw.


Going for the Green

 Jim and I went snipe hunting on New Year's
Day.  I would have tried a duck hunt in the AM,
but I didn't want to be out driving with all the
early morning drunks.

We weren't but a few hundred yards from the
launching ramp when we saw several small
groups of mottled ducks take off from small
ponds.  We grabbed a couple of decoys and
hunkered down in the dog fennel hoping
some of the ducks would come back.  A
pair gave us a look but stayed just out of
shooting range.  So, we headed back in
the boat and headed further upriver.

We found a large open area of mud and
low smartweed.  Jim went right and I
headed left.  There were snipe, but they
had been shot at pretty hard and were
taking off yards out of range.  As I
swung around in a big circle, I saw
big flocks of sandpipers flying over
the open water to the west.  I watched
a little closer and realized they were
green wing teal.  I headed back to the
boat hoping Jim was doing the same.

At one point, I looked down and saw
the thick, black body of a cottonmouth
at my feet. I first thought it was already
dead because it wasn't moving.  Two quick
blasts of 20 gauge steel #7s and it most certainly
is now.

By the time I got back to the boat, Jim was
indeed on his way.  We found some fresh,
abandoned palmetto fans and tossed them
in the boat.

We had to make a giant loop to get all
the way around to where the teal were.
I found a likely spot, stopped the boat,
and started to toss out the decoys.  Suddenly,
I noticed a guy not 30 yards away
stand up.  He and his lab were really
well camoed up.  We quickly pulled
up stakes and headed to a spot he indicated.

We set up quickly.  Jim made hides of
the fans and I dragged the boat down
an airboat trail.

By then, the tour air [barges] boats were
running, but still the ducks wouldn't
clear out.  They also wouldn't quite
fly where we were.  Jim finally got
stiff and headed out on walkabout.

His jaunt was my good fortune.  I
had three groups of teal come over
and dropped two nice drakes and two

Jim did get buzzed by one group, but
as he ducked down to hide in the
broomgrass, he looked down to
see he was standing on another
moccasin.  Both barrels made
short work of that problem.

By then, the duck flight slowed
down and we headed back out to
a hot snipe hole of the past.  It
was ice cold for birds and our
boat floated out into the middle
of the slough.  I was almost ready
to swim for it, but two airboats
came by and one of them dragged
the boat over for us.  Nice guys.

Spent an nice, warm, breezy afternoon
having a good time.  Besides the
four teal, we got a snipe apiece.


Few ducks are pretty than the Drake Green Wing Teal

Truly the Softest Feathers