Last Weekend – First Limit
The last weekend arrived and I still had not shot my first duck limit of the season. With the annual Native Sons Big Buck Contest on Friday night, Rob and I were late arrivals at Mayberry.
As I arrived, Fred reported he had a spec, mallard and pintail, but that hunting had been fairly slow. I decided to use my field glasses in an attempt to spot mallards. As I glassed from the levy, my vantage point let me see into the water grass and Bermuda in the pond we call pond 4. It was loaded with mallards and they were laying low.
Nothing in the air. Towards the end of the season the mallards get very secretive and hang out in places where you don’t find them early in the season.
I concluded to chase off the mallards, set up in pond 4, and hope they’d return during the afternoon.
The Wind Whacker
I’m not a big fan of gadgets when duck hunting. I’ve never hunted over a mechanical wing decoy, but a guy sent me a wind whacker last year and late this season I broke it out. With a steady wind this weekend I decided to deploy it and I think it did attract the ducks, but they didn’t fly close to it.
I set it up about 100 yards from where I was hunting and it may have influenced the birds.
Late Afternoon Mallards
Sure enough, about 2:30 the mallards began to return and I managed to shoot six greenheads, a cock sprig and a spec. First limit of the year and boy was it heavy. I wasn’t sure I’d make it out of the pond with my decoys, ghile suit, dog stand and tule seat, but I did.
A big disappointment on Saturday was Lola’s failure to retrieve my birds. She found them all and sometimes picked them up, but for some reason she didn’t want to bring them to me. Rather then spend the afternoon doing dog training, I just picked them up.
However on Sunday morning, I concluded that the last day would be dedicated to dog training. I figured the best way to train the dog would be to shoot birds of opportunity. I’ve only shot a couple ducks all year that weren’t mallards or sprig, but I concluded that dog training would work better if I shot teal, wigeon and spoonies as well.
Poachers are Liars
On the way to the pond I came upon a couple poachers hunting across the ditch from our property. I warned that guy that he was trespassing, but he claimed to have permission. Something that would be impossible to obtain. It never ceases to amaze me at the balls poachers have.
I’ve heard many stories, inlcuding one guy that claimed Rich Fletcher gave him permission. At that point I indicated that I was Rich Fletcher and that sobered him up.
Anyway back to the hunt.
Mallard Day Off
A few teal came in at the start of the first setup and I hesitated. Then a greenhead flew in over my head and hovered over the decoys, landing 30 yards in front of me. I held on him as he decended. Then I stood with my shotgun pointing at him for a few seconds. He was beautiful.
I decided to give mallards the day off. He disappeared into the cattails and a couple minutes later I shot the first duck of the day, a drake cinnimon teal.
I sent Lola and she disappeared into the wrong patch of cattails. I attempted to call her off, but she was chasing something and thrashing about. Eventually I gave up and began to seach for the teal.
Dog Knows Best
About that time, Lola emerged from the cattails with the teal in her grasp. Never forget that dogs have better noses than you do. She was on my bird the entire time.
One Shy of a limit
As the day progressed, I moved to a better location and shot a variety of ducks. Lola retrieved them all without a hitch. Training day was a success and a nice way to end the season – one shy of a limit.