Monday, January 16, 2012

Two Birds , One Stone

Josh Loaded up with Ducks
Another weekend has come and as stated in my last post, I got up early Saturday morning and headed out to quench my addiction. Without much change in the weather the prognosis for a better hunt had not changed. I approached the day almost like I was headed to work, but as the saying goes “the worst day in the field, beats the best day at the office” so off I went. My hunting partner Josh informed me Friday that he had a lot of back pain and was limited in activity, read between the lines “I won’t be hauling my half of the decoys”. Not a problem we have cut way back on the amount of decoys we set up at this time of year.

Almost a Full Bag

Desert Rivers

More Ducks
 After setteling in on the river and waiting for the light to shine, we sat silently, without seeing a lot of birds moving. Most mornings I am fairly patient person, but today I only lasted 40 minutes before I decided to get up and go jump shooting. I informed Josh of this and took off hiking across the island were we had set up. When I came out on the other side I jumped a dozen birds and dropped a nice drake gadwall. I thought not bad for a three minute walk, I’ll keep going. So down the river I went to the next hole, after a 15 minute stalk I was close enough to make a move on about 50 birds. Two shots, two birds, and a third decided to fly right at me. Nerves kicked in because I have been known to miss an easy shot or three at close range, and this was shaping up to be my first triple in years. Last week’s bad luck was gone and I sent the widgeon tumbling into the desert narrowly missing a patch of prickly pear cactus. It’s moments like this that keep me chasing ducks through the river bottom for three months out of the year. 

Luck has Changed this Week
Spurred on by my success, I headed further down the river and spent the next three hours walking two loops around the island to produce only one more duck. When I got to where Josh had stayed the whole morning he enlightened me on the great shot that he took on a pair of high flying shovelers, the first ones that he’s ever harvested. Counting birds we found we had eight in the bag, so we decided to head up river and check one more popular spot for birds on the way back to the car. We walked up to the area and saw a few ducks just loafing so we started to sneak in on them. With the vegetation dried out and dead now, one can only be so quite. Knowing the birds would be ready to flush when we got near the edge we prepared for the moment. As I cleared the cattails about twice as many birds as I thought got up off the water. I had a long shot at the closest group and tried to pick out a drake and shot. The bird hit the water and started to swim towards the deep end of the run. I took my eyes off of him and started calling at the other ducks as they usually will fly by again and offer a passing shot. Josh was instead focused on the bird down saying you hit two, I didn’t believe it but sure enough, two birds had dropped from the initial flight. As I gathered up the two birds both were drake widgeons, but the bonus bird was a big beautiful drake, lots of color, full plumage, definitely the best duck I have shot in years. What a polar opposite end to the previous week, seven birds 5 widgeons, a gadwall, and a canvasback. No wonder duck hunters fly fishers, and archers get so addicted to chasing their quarry, the rewards are both great and personal to each one of us.  


Two Birds, One Stone