2019 opened with a glorious sunrise.
October is a great month for hunters. Coastal deer season is over, but late season and out-of- state hunts are looming. The weather is changing and the days are growing short, but the highlight of October for me so far this year was yesterday and the opening day of the 2019 duck season.
Back in the glory days of Mayberry Farms, opening day was always full straps of mallards.
Brother Rob, myself and Fred Hilke on opening day 2006.
Those days ended when the seasonal marsh was replaced by permanent marsh.
In 2009, I was concerned about river otters: 2009 https://hunterlandowner.wordpress.com/2009/10/
In 2010 the Giants were in the World Series: 2010 https://hunterlandowner.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/opening-day-ducks-and-baseball/
Opening day 2011 was a winner and brought back memories of the “good old days” : 2011 https://hunterlandowner.wordpress.com/2011/10/
In 2014 I joined the Kerry Duck Club in the Grasslands to fill the void. My disappointment with Mayberry was mitigated by grasslands teal.
Last year provided good action as I covered the hunt in detail.
2019 was a success in many ways. The Friday night dinner was perfect and the mood of the club members was optimistic and lively.
On Saturday morning we were greeted with more ducks than I can recall for a grasslands opener. I was lucky to have my son-in-law Brett with me. Lola made it to another year of duck hunting, a little slower, but able.
Brett and I both had our hits and misses. We each had six ducks by about 9 o’clock – mostly green-wing teal. Then we decided to wait for a shot at pintail. Brett connected right away and got to watch me miss.
I missed three drake pintails in a row, each time emptying my shotgun. Finally I figured that I needed a bigger lead. The “teal” lead did not work for the faster-flying pintails. On the next bird I “aimed to miss” and the bird dropped with one shot. I was disappointed to see that I’d shot a hen – something I try hard not to do. You would think that it was be just about impossible to shoot a hen.
However, I did. And, we were done.
Lola’s retrieves were slow but effective.
Brett with his strap.
When we signed out, we found that everybody to that point had reported limits.