Youth hunts are supposed to be a good opportunity, but this was ridiculous.
Fourteen year old Robbie was on his first duck hunt and he must have been impressed as we headed for the pond. Thousands of ducks and geese were rising from the marsh as we approached.
Snow geese were exploding from the water with a roar of wings. Pintail, wigeon and teal were zipping about. White front geese were making their signature yodel calls.
Our first set-up didn’t work out, so we moved a little closer to the grind and Robbie made the first attempts of his life to bring down a duck. Lola and I were there to retrieve the birds and set up in the cattails behind Robbie, his grandfather Ron Spradlin and my brother Rob. After the first shot I remember hearing some chuckling as Robbie got his first appreciation for the speed which ducks travel.
And, at the same time waterfowl went airborne in all directions. Spring, teal, wigeon, they were everywhere.
Now there were plenty of targets. After four or five whiffs in short order, I began to wonder how long it would take Robbie to get the hang of it. Then a flock of ducks came in low in front of us and down came a hen sprig. Lola did her work and we were on our way.
I think he hit three in a row including a greenhead that came to our calling. After a miss, he downed another greenhead. Impressive for a first duck hunt.
As the birds thinned out, we could see that quite a few wigeon were working another part of the pond a about 150 yards away so we shifted. On the way a flock of specs appeared and headed directly for us. We ducked into the cattails and Robbie reloaded.
On his first shot at a goose he connected and now were were cooking. Shortly after arriving at the next setup, several huge flocks of snow geese appeared on the horizon. The low-flying geese passed directly overhead and with three shots Robbie downed two.
A few minutes later severl groups of Ross’s Geese decended upon us and with that Robbie had six geese. Lola and I spend about a half hour rounding up snow geese which seemed to be dropping all over the pond.
At about 11:00 AM, Ron declared that he and Robbie had enough and we headed back to camp for sandwiches. What a day. In the end Robbie had fired almost two boxes of shells and had collected four ducks and six geese. What a first duck hunt.