The last weekend of duck season was a workout.
Guess I’m getting a bit old. Can’t burn the candle at both ends and get away with it.
The Livermore Native Sons Big Buck Contest took place on Saturday and I didn’t want to miss it. That left Friday for a goose hunt and Sunday to pick up decoys at the Kerry Club.
Got to Webb Tract about 10:30 AM and checked the single blind I wanted to hunt. It was not flooded, which made me happy. But, the area around the blind was dense smart weed which made for tough paddling for Lola. We made it work.
The blind had not been hunted all season, so I figured the ducks wouldn’t be too shy of it. Although there we’re many ducks around, I did get chances at ring-necks twice and pintail once. Missed the first couple chances, but knocked down a ring-neck later on.
Specs were pretty active. After the first couple hours of hot sun, the birds began to work. Seemed like everything was going wrong. Hit the first ring-neck, but he sailed out of sight. Then I hit one of the sprig and it sailed away. I went after it almost certain that Lola would find it, but she did not. Could be that it never actually went down.
Lola was struggling to make it through the thick smart weed, so I actually assisted her by holding her up by her dog vest.
Specs kept coming around and finally I shot at a small group thinking there were well within range. Again a bird was hit and it sailed out of sight. I decided to calm down and wait for a shot I couldn’t miss – if there was such a thing.
Finally a spec came over at about 45 yards and my shot brought it down. Lola swam right past the goose and I had to make the retrieve. She was not having a good day.
At least she turned around and made it back to the blind – with my assistance.
As the afternoon was coming to an end, I checked the time. There was about ten minutes left before the end of shooting time when another spec came over in range and I dumped it. After four misses, I had killed birds on my last three attempts.
After picking up my decoys, cousin Wes appeared in the Yamaha Rhino and gave Lola and I a ride. I felt better after finally connecting. We barbecued specklebellies from my previous hunt for dinner. They were fantastic.
The Big Buck Contest at Basso’s Barn was a lot of fun. The out-of-state bucks were amazing with Jeff Zuniga winning with an Arizona Strip buck that was humongous. Clayton Koopmann won the A-Zone contest and my Inyo buck nipped Rick Escover’s nice blacktail in the “All-Cal” category.
Met my Kerry Club hunting partner, Tom Billingsley, at the K-Club about nine on Sunday and we hunted for about two hours. Knocked down a couple teal and then hauled decoys.
I won the half-mile race from our blind back to the truck. Tom did have a slight handicap. He was dragging all the decoys in my decoy sled.
Guess that’s story for 2018/19 hunting.
Now it’s time to start thinking about the plan for next season and doing some fundraising for MDF.