5:00 am the alarm goes into overdrive as I pry my eyes open. Just 5 hours ago I was still up talking to my oldest son, it seems way too early. I pack the car full of gear in a fog, still trying to wake up, hoping I wouldn't forget anything. Reports from a friend said a lot of widgeons had moved onto the river and this was my first crack at them. At the river I load up, and find I have no extra batteries and the head lamp is becoming dimmer. Hoping the light will last I head off to the river once again. I finally reach the river bottom take off the pack and get out the blind bag and stool and go to set up decoys when the head lamp gives off its last ray of light and dies. I get the decoys set up by the moonlight, but I can't see on shore to get anything I need. Finally I find the camera in the dark and use the flash to find the last items.
|Camera Flash Flashlight|
With 20 minutes till shooting light I sit down on the stool and begin to wait. The wait is short as a dozen plus ducks buzz the hole, circle, then put down in front of me. I can't see them but I hear what's going on. Suddenly from downriver the resident beaver slaps his tail and the nervous birds are gone in a flash. Another ten minutes pass and a pair of widgeons hit the deck, only 5 more minutes till shooting light and I will jump shoot these birds. From downriver a quarter mile the thunderous boom of shots ring out, I can't see crap but birds fly everywhere, I wonder what can they see to shoot at? Shooting light arrives and there is not a duck in sight anywhere. Once again more shooting from down river but no birds anywhere to indicate ducks are flying. After 90 minutes pass by I decide to go walk to do some jump shooting. This pays off, I shoot a Gadwall drake in first spot, then drop another upriver from that.
|Ducks like to loaf here|
As I go to retrieve the second bird in waist deep water, I am 5 feet from the bird when I find myself looking up at the sky with just my face and left forearm holding my gun above the surface of the water. I hate big slippery rocks! At first the cold steals the air out of me and I am speechless, but as I resurface move to shallow water my sentiments are vocalized at the underwater rock. A trip to shore to dump water out of the waders and wring out the clothes before hiking back to the car adds insult to injury. I have had many great days waterfowling this year, and today wasn't one of them. As I drove home cold and damp, I thought to myself if the rest of the season is going to be like this, I'm done for this year. I will end with all the good memories and wait for next year, but as I think it, I know it’s a lie I'll be back as soon as possible, "I'm addicted and I can't control it".