My First Report of the New Year!

My first blog entry for 2018 is…well…not a fishing report. What?

For years now, my son, Dustin, has been kidding me, asking, “Why in the world would anyone go fishing during hunting season?” Well, after putting my waders and shotgun up for, say 10 years, I decided it was time to spend some quality time with my son on the water.

Dustin has really been doing well the past two weekends and texted me Saturday that they had each shot a limit of nice puddle ducks that morning. After a full day of work for me (all music related), I decided to make the hour and a half drive to the camp to join him and one of his hunting buddies. This hunting camp is really nice and the wildlife décor really got me fired up to get out and shoot a few birds.

IMG_2072.JPGTo be honest though, I was secretly hoping that I would shoot well. I haven’t popped a cap in a long time. Was I going to embarrass myself among those “20-something-year-olds?”

To get to the blind, we mounted four-wheelers and made the ten-minute ride to the edge of the flooded timber and hard bottoms. The morning temperature dipped below 20 degrees so that ride, even though a slow one, was a very cold one. From there, we waded about another ten minutes through thigh-deep frigid water to get to the blind. I was really glad to be able to borrow a pair in insulated chest waders because we were breaking ice nearly the whole way until we got to the open water where the blind and decoys were. We got situated and were treated to a gorgeous sunrise.IMG_2075.JPG

The second reason I wanted to make a hunt with Dustin was to watch his three-year-old lab, Duke, work. Duke is a “cracker jack” retriever who absolutely LOVES to hunt. Here are a couple pictures of him “on point” as we positions himself on the ramp and eagerly awaits one of us to put a bird on the water.IMG_2077.JPGIMG_2093.JPG

Right at daybreak, we had some birds buzz us but we didn’t get a shot off. We nearly pulled the trigger on a drake spoonbill, but we thought we would experience the kind of morning that they had the day before. About five minutes later, we had a group of diving ducks buzz and I connected on my first shot. I was happy to know I could still shoot 🙂

Insert sound of crickets chirping here!

Well it took us a while before we were given an opportunity to pull the trigger again. We knocked down the first of two gadwalls and Duke made a great retrieve on both of them. I took my cell phone out to get a picture of him in action but the cold weather caused my battery to freeze up and I lost power for about 15 minutes until I could get the phone warmed up again. I did get a picture of half our decoy spreadIMG_2078.JPGIf I was a duck, I would sure want to land there. Anyway we didn’t do too bad for a slow day. We finished with six ducks between three of us. We winged a couple more that even Duke couldn’t catch up to. Did I say it was cold?IMG_2095.JPGThis hat and several layers of clothing were key! We were even able to fry up some deer sausage for breakfast.IMG_2094.JPG

I really enjoyed spending time with my son, doing one of the things he loves best. I won’t wait so long to go back with him. For now, I’ll leave you with some more pictures from the morning and I promise my next entry will be a FISHING story.IMG_2086.jpgGreen wing tealIMG_2083.JPGGadwall (grey duck)IMG_2046.jpgPintail (from a previous hunt but oh so pretty)

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