Haven’t said much about ducks lately. Made a couple preseason trips to Mayberry. And, on Friday, I walked the spot I intended to hunt on opening day. Because our club is now so different from the way it used to be, it’s important for me to scout out hunting spots or I might run into unwadable water.
That turned out to not be a problem on this opening as the water level was lower than last year. I had seen mallards using a particular spot and set up my decoys, including a jerk string duck and wind-wacker on Friday. I figured eight decoys would be enough and it was.
The day got off to a less than perfect start, when Lola refused to stay on her dog stand, leading me to move to a spot where I could keep an eye on her. In the darkness, the jerk string got tangled in my tule stool and I dropped my shotgun into the water, completely submerging it. Even old farts get too excited on opening day.
Making a recovery, I sat and watched as the opening day parade of ducks began. There’s no other day like it. The mallards were flying at half speed and oblivious to Lola and I. I waited for a perfect shot to start it off with and before long it came. The drake passed directly overhead and I raised the Nova and fired straight up. The duck dropped dead.
Easy retrieve for Lola. Soon I had four and a drake landed in the decoys where I could not see it, but Lola did. She jumped off her stand and I reponded by dropping it in front of her. That made five greenheads in five shots.
The sixth duck was on a suicide mission and I dropped it. Hit hard. Wondered if it would be edible.
Now the real test. Could I pull off the seven-bird greenhead-limit in seven shots. The answer came after about a half hour of waiting. About 10:00 AM three mallards came directly at me. I stood a little early and the drake in my sights began to flare a little higher…boom..it didn’t fall. Thinking I’d nicked the bird I fired again. Same result.
I’ve never killed any duck limit without a miss, and that streak will continue. I did kill the eighth bird I shot at, with one shot. So I matched my best duck-shooting day ever. It all seemed so simple. The day was nearly perfect in many aspects. And, it was probably as close as I’ll ever come to the seven-bird seven-shot limit.
As the other hunters came back to camp, I found that not everybody had great shooting. I had been fortunate to locate such a hot spot. Even on opening day, such success is elusive.
On Sunday, with faster ducks and less certainty, my shooting returned to normal. The hot weather reduced time in the field, but the Sunday hunt was better than average.
With a refuge season pass in my wallet, I’m planning to get out and about more this season.