Thursday, November 19, 2009

Having Your Ducks In A Row

RNH and I have had two days of hunting. Two days, meaning waking up at 5:30 to be heading into the woods by 6am. We walk in the dark through the woods into the murky waters of the swamp where the boat awaits. Paddle on out to our spot, park the boat, sit, and wait. And wait. Daybreak begins and the ducks begin to fly!

The first morning out, I don't even want to talk about it. We're setting the decoys out and getting the boat hidden under the trees when we hear the duck's wings twittering overhead. We saw at least 30 ducks fly over while we were getting situated. We also didn't know what time it was. We can shoot 30 minutes before sunrise, but if you don't know when sunrise is, you can't shoot. We heard a shot off in the distance and knew that we could join in on the hunt. Oops. We made sure not to forget a watch the next day! The rest of the morning was spent paddling around the swamp trying to jump the ducks. I kind of think if we had been patient and sat in our spot, we might have seen a few more fly. We jump a total of 3 ducks. One before the secret pond, and 2 at the pond. Boooo. It was pretty warm and it seemed like nothing was flying. Around 10am, I called it quits. RNH followed and we headed in for the morning.

That afternoon we were supposed to go back out. When I realized how warm it was, I decided against it and took Drake on his first boat ride. More on that later!
Today, however, much more successful. But before you get too excited for me- nope, no kills. So if you're not interested, you can skip this post! We got out perfectly on time, knew what time it was, and was set up waiting. Then they began to fly. And fly. And fly. It was awesome. We pretty much already knew that the ducks were coming off the secret pond (south from our spot) and heading north towards some unknown body of water. (We looked at Google Earth and apparently there are tons of bodies of water around us. Who knew?!) Our spot is an area in the middle of the swamp that has few trees. It is actually the largest "clearing" from the secret pond to the south of us, until the river, about a half mile north. It is about the size of a football field. The ducks don't seem to land on the river if they're coming from the secret pond, so I guess we were hoping they'd be interested in the clearing we're standing in. Well of course they're not! The clearing is anywhere from shin to thigh-deep, has a ton of reeds, that are mostly washed down to the ground, and a few trees that don't provide much shelter. I think that a duck would like to hang out there, but of course I'm not a duck. I pull up a bunch of reeds out of the water creating a blind for myself and hang out. The ducks are flying, pretty low, over my head, heading north from the secret pond. They are flying though. Like fast flying! After taking several shots (8!) and several frustrating minutes trying to line the bead up with the ducks, I realize that this is never going to work.

(Please remember, I'm new to this!) I realize that these ducks are on a mission. They're going somewhere, and they're going fast. Wherever they're going, they could care less about the clearing in the swamp that I think is so nice. They are moving out. I have a nice decoy spread set out, but these dang ducks are flying so fast, I doubt they even notice the decoys. I'm pretty sure half of the ducks that flew over, never saw me. Even if I was shooting at them!

Another problem with today's hunt was the fog. It was terrible. I had no idea there were ducks flying until they were right in front of me. I would set the bead on a duck in a flock right in front of me, and next thing I knew, I was having to pull the trigger while looking straight up over my head. This is not going to work. I need to start being a hunter, and think about things like this. After going through half a box of #2 shot, I decided that we needed a better set up. A better blind, a stool to get us out of the water, and we needed to be off to the side of the clearing, not in the middle. This clearing is basically the duck's "fatal funnel." And if I sit off to the side, I'll be able to swing my gun with the flight of the duck, instead of trying to bend over backwards (literally) to get a shot off. DUH! I'm almost embarrassed that it took me half the morning to figure this out.

It was surprisingly warm today, but it made me happy to see as many ducks as I did. I'm heading to Charlotte in a few weeks and will hit up Bass Pro Shops to see if I can get a triangular stool to sit on while I'm out there. My rear end got soaking wet while I was trying to get down in the blind. When the weather gets cooler, that will not fly!

Overall I am pleased with today. Every time I go out and learn a way to hunt better, I'm all for it! Even if I didn't get anything. This year is MY year though. I'm determined!


  1. Hello, I enjoyed visiting your blog. Congratulations on your new puppy. We have a Yellow Lab and while he is now 6 years old, he tested our patience while going thru the terrible two's. Laughed at your story about the coop and how you used to crawl thru the poop......LOL.....

  2. Ha ha, you said fatal funnel. I got my new gun. At the end of the night I couldn't lock the slide to the rear because my thumb hurt so bad. Yowza!

  3. Thanks Barbara!!!

    Skinny- ummmm getting the new gun was TERRIBLE! My thumb still isn't quite the same... all those magazines we had to load! See ya tonight!