Last weekend found me back in my old haunts. Webb Tract.
Brother, Rob, and I returned to the site of our first duck club where we still find very good hunting for ducks, geese and pheasant.
It was approximately 40 years ago that we saw an advertisement in the Sportsman’s Corner of the SF Chronicle Sporting Green. Saturday was not unlike many trips to Webb. In Byron there was a sense that fog could be forming.
On Cyprus Road, just shy of Bethel Island, fog was visible. On Jersey Island Road, the fog thickened and by False River, visibility was down to about 100 yards.
But, it didn’t last long. By the time I’d driven across the island, watched geese, unloaded my gear, changed clothes and had a bite to eat, the fog was on its way out. Didn’t matter. I was happy to be surrounded by thousands of geese and ducks knowing that something good was about to happen.
Rob showed up shortly after me and we took turns hauling decoys out to our respective blinds. He chose a water blind with the idea of hunting sprig and I chose a semi-dry field in search of specs.
The goose hunt was good with some minor exceptions. Once ready in the blind, with my decoys exactly the way I like them, it wasn’t 15 minutes before I heard specs calling from my left. They came into sight about 150 yards out in the dwindling fog. Right away they spotted the white-front goose shell decoys I’d placed along the edge of the field.
I called softly, they were close and turned away towards the decoys. Slowing, they put their feet down and helicoptered downward. This was too good.
When about 10 feet over the decoys, they came to their senses and flared off the plastic birds. I called again and they turned towards me flying low, about 30 feet in the air. They were about to pass less than 30 yards from me when I stood and fired….whoops….I mean almost fired. My semi-auto clicked. Yes, a mechanical malfunction.
There were better moments to follow and despite more malfunctions, I did manage to bring down a spec before the afternoon was over and also bagged a couple in the morning. Both hunts were exciting and three specs is enough to motivate me to go back again before the season is out.
On Sunday, three more small groups of specs worked the decoys and call – passing by in range. I managed to bring two more birds. Lola made great recoveries on all three birds. By recovery I mean she chased them down and held them at bay. She might have retrieved them, but at 12 I’m giving her a break from heavy loads.
Without her I might have lost any of the three birds that went down as they were all very lively.
I’ve got an appointment to get my shotgun professionally cleaned on Friday.