The early bird did not get the worm. Or maybe it did, we just decided to sleep in a bit. That’s how our day started. Really it started with us going to bed late the night before and snoozing the alarm so that my fiancé could sleep in for another hour. I, on the other hand, stayed awake lying in bed waiting to see what the day would bring. We were planning on spending the whole day hunting but with the warm weather that set in, I knew the hunt wouldn’t be as good as the last two times I took my fiancé with me. I was hoping that a slower day wouldn’t kill her excitement to go hunt but I guess slow days are a part of the experience anyways.
We loaded up the truck and off we went to our favorite spot. As usual, I was all excited and my fiancé slept the entire 2 hour drive. I can’t blame her; early starts are hard and why not sleep when you can. With traffic and us sleeping in, I knew that making it to our spot in time for first light would be impossible. We pulled in while it was still cool but the sun was already out. We could hear some shooting going on in the distance but already noticed that the number of birds had gone down from two weekends ago. I figure they either made their way south, or moved north a bit and just cleared the area. We loaded up and got some bug spray out. The stuff we bought at Cabela’s works like no other bug spray I’ve ever used. I’ll post the link up when I get a chance.
The hike out wasn’t bad. It was still cool and we didn’t layer up as much so it didn’t get too warm. I wanted to try a different spot on the marsh that looked good last time we were in the area but my fiancé wanted to stick to our little spot and maybe move if we saw ducks landing in the other spot. I had her set up our marsh chairs and get our hide ready while I set out the decoys. Like predicted the action wasn’t very hot but it always feels good to be in the marsh. I set the decoys out and went and sat down. At about that point I realized that wind was not in our cards either and so the day was looking worse and worse. At least this time I had my duck caller now that the season is getting going. I was able to work a couple of groups in but as they would start finishing in on the decoys, I think they would notice that there was no movement and they would pick right back up.
While we were sitting there, this Bufflehead came zooming in sweeping right over my decoys. I called the shot and took three shots at it. I forgot how fast those things are. My first two I was way behind and the third one I crippled it. I ran out to go after it and I could see it sitting on this pond right next to me. Instead of shooting at it I decide to try to run and grab it. That was a mistake. I knew better but I lapsed in judgement. I started walking over and the Bufflehead picked back up and I shot at it and it landed in these tall reeds. I tried to find it and knowing how small a Bufflehead is, I knew that attempt was futile.
After a couple of hours, we decided that we should rearrange the decoys and move more to where the ducks were finishing so we could get some shots on cupped up ducks. By now we were well into the morning and getting to that time that ducks like to stay down and not move much. This meant I got to take a nap for a second, I tend to doze off when I hunt sometimes, and we got to chat and enjoy our time waiting for ducks to show up. 11:30 came around and we decided to give it another hour and then we would pack up and go have lunch and then move to another spot. While we were waiting there, this beautiful Drake Red Head landed in the decoys and all we heard was the splash. I watched him for a second thinking I wanted him to move closer. After a couple of minutes of him checking out my decoys I decided that it was now or never. I lined up on him and took a shot with my 3 ½ shell and by some miracle, I hit the duck. The water around it all splashed with the 2 shot smacking into it and by some even bigger miracle, the duck flapped his wings and picked up off the water. My jaw dropped. I looked back at my fiancé and she was staring at the water with the same look of disbelief. We were so confused at how that duck survived. I decided I better do my due diligence and go see if I could find him. As I start walking to the pond behind me, he picks back up and this time my shot is true and down he goes….. right into the reeds.
This time I was determined to get this duck. He had a perfect red-head and bright white chest, I was thinking of how I could probably mount him on my wall and it would be perfect. I decided to sprint after it. By sprint I mean run as fast as I could through a marsh in my waders. I go right to where I saw him go down. I search the reeds for a solid half hour. At one spot I swear I could smell the duck but there was no duck to be seen. My first thought when I didn’t find him right away was how I wish I didn’t give my dog away, not that I had much choice. The one voice I had on my head was my buddy that I gave him to saying “He’s the best dog I’ve ever hunted with.” I got so frustrated at losing two beautiful ducks. I couldn’t believe I was walking back to the truck empty-handed. On top of it, I strained my hip flexer and I was hurting.
Needless to say, our day was over. My fiancé still had a smile on her face and we made our way back to the truck. We had lunch and then went and scouted the spot we were going to hunt in the evening but we saw zero ducks anywhere in the area. When we got home, my fiancé had me try to foam roll my leg and I was not a fan. I don’t know what people see in that. Either way we had a good time. I was frustrated but it was fun to see my fiancé spotting ducks and helping me work them into our decoys. It was also fun to see her feel more comfortable walking in the marsh. She was wearing waders that actually fit her this time and that was good. I’ll always recommend those Roger’s Sporting Good 5mm Toughman waders to anyone.
• Don’t get frustrated
• We need movement in our decoys
• Don’t get rid of your dog
• The right equipment can make a new person a lot more confident
• Get in good cover
• Face masks make good shields from bugs, I bought mine from Kings camo but here’s one that I’ve used in the past and lost. AXBXCX 2 Pack – Camouflage Print Seamless Neck Gaiter Bandana Face Shield Mask Headband Headwear Sweatband Wristband Scarf for Fishing Hiking Hunting Cycling Motorcycle Riding Skiing Outdoor Sport 051
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