Tu tene eum procul; Ego curram ob auxilium!

Thursday, January 01, 2015


Took Navy boy out hunting twice.
The first time we didn't even ring
off a shot.  The blackbellies came
over too early and the lone wood
duck squealing behind us never
came into the open.

The second time we scouted hard
and found a spot we liked.  It was
9 miles from the launching ramp
and the forecast was for fog. We
got up at 0230 for the long, slow
boat ride.  At the ramp, we were
the only guys launching but there
was no fog.  We were able to
crank the boat up to full speed and
zing to our spot.  [It helps that the
river is still up high enough that
we aren't as likely to hit sandbars
at speed.]

We got to the hole and were able
to set up nicely.  The sun was at
our backs and we had lots of open
marsh in front of us.   I had to kick
a big wad of hyacinth out of the way
to clear a landing zone and we were
set.  We even used the same palmetto
fans that we'd retained from the
previous hunt.

We were in the shallows of a very
large pond.  Another boat that came
from a different direction, set up at
the far end of the pond.  They were
well out of our shooting zone.  Later,
an airboat shoved it way through dry
land behind us and came to rest in
some palmetto trees.  I never heard
them shoot and they may have been
deer hunters poaching the private
land to the east.

We waited an hour and 12 minutes for
shooting time.  I used the Thermocell
to keep the skeeters off and used my
Anglican training to cense Navy boy
in hopes of keeping them off him too.
He says I was only mildly successful.

Right at hunting light we heard a group
of blackbellies coming in.  The went a
skosh wide, but the second group that
came in a bit later was closer.  I opened
up on them, but they went on to their
retention pond feed trough undamaged.

Navy boy got on the board first with a
nice shot on a drake spoonie.  We had
a shot on a duck that landed behind a
clump of hyacinth.  I had to yell at
it to get it to jump up and to make sure
it was a duck.  Instead of going straight
up like a puddle duck is supposed to
do, it flew along the water and made
good its escape.

When we scouted, we saw a group of
mottled ducks in the area.  On the hunt,
we had three that we watched fly all around
the pond.  Navy boy got on his drake
mallard call and got them to fly right to
left over our decoys.  He dropped a fat
drake, but I whiffed.

I picked up two singleton blue wing
teal that came in and landed in the

The remaining two mottles continued
to fly around the pond, but I didn't think
they would ever come back over us.
Navy boy's drake call did the trick though
and back they came.  Again, I opened up
but didn't hit one.  It was no hard shot and
was embarrassing in the least.  Oddly,
the pair headed across the pond and did
a controlled descent behind some reeds.
I asked, "Did I nip one of them."  "No, I
don't think so was the answer."

The guys at the other end of the pond
only pulled the trigger twice and loaded
up early.  We pulled up stakes just before
0900 because we had to get home and
crash for a duck feast party that night.

As we motored out, I decided to look
on the other side of those reeds to see
if there might not be a crippled/dead
duck over there.

We snuck in from behind and saw
one mottled duck take off.  And
there, floating in the open water was
the mottle that I had indeed hit and

It turned out to be a good day.

When I was a boy and fished with my
dad, we had a running bounty of a dime
per category for First, Most, Biggest, and
Only.  Here's how that same bet worked
out for the duck hunt.

First Duck                    Navy Boy     Spoonie
Most Ducks                 OFS               2 bwt and 1 mottled
Biggest Duck               Navy Boy     Mottled
Only [species] Duck    Navy Boy     Spoonie
Only [species] Duck    OFS              Blue Winged Teal



Biggest (his modu was much bigger)