Tu tene eum procul; Ego curram ob auxilium!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

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



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