Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Waterfowl Weekend

Well after I arrived back home Thursday night from my two day bow hunt, I decided that I wan't done hunting yet! My kids had Friday off of school and Mikey wanted to hit the water for a waterfowl hunt. My youngest boy Jacob hasn't been afield with us yet this year and he was itching to get out also.

We planned a quick trip for Friday morning to head to a nearby State Park and hunt the big lake we had hunted a couple of time already this year. Up North Journal Pro Staffer Chuck Parr and my son Mikey found an old duck blind on the island on the lake earlier this season, so that is where we headed. Little Jake thought we got up too early, 4:45am! He wasn't used to getting up at that time, but it didn't take long for him to get into the mood to get on the water. After a quick drive to the lake, we got the gear in the boat and put in at the launch. It was a windy and damp morning with a good amount of cloud cover. You couldn't see any stars out.

After a 5 minute trip across the water we arrived at the island and made our way out of the boat and onto shore. Jake only had hunting boots on, so I carried him to shore. Mikey began to quickly get his decoy spread set out and made quick work of it. In less than an hour he had a nice little spread set up for us. Usually it takes him and Pro Staffer Chuck Parr a good hour and a half to set up the spread.

Jake was getting a little edgy and ready for morning light. Then the clouds began to move out and the stars were shinning, also the morning light was breaking over the eastern horizon, it was almost shooting light. When the time arrived we loaded up and began to look to the skies for birds. The problem was we kept looking and kept looking. We only saw a few ducks flying that morning and they were all extremely high up. It looks as if the local ducks are wise to the schemes we hunters are putting out. It wasn't long until Jake got bored and began to play in the dirt. Actually I was getting bored myself and thought about joining him in the fun!

At about 9am we decided that there wasn't going to be anything to shoot at, so we began to work on brushing up the blind for the next mornings hunt. We put a good hour in, placing branches and leaves on the blind to make it look more full. We were going to bring a friend out the next morning to try his hand at hunting with us. After the blind work was completed we started to pack up the decoys and head in. But as usual, as soon as we started to pack up, a flight of geese came our way. Mikey was in the water picking up decoys and I told him to start calling. The flight was getting closer and headed our way. I got into shooting position and waited for the right moment. They seemed as if they were going to flare at the last moment so I pulled up and dropped three shots at them. Miss, Miss, Miss. Again as usual I wiff on them. Mikey is yelling at me, wondering why I shot so early. "You never wait" he tells me! He's right though, I get way to trigger happy when they come in. Oh well, I had fun letting the steel fly! We then packed it in and headed over to the taxidermist's house to pick up his Widgeon that he had mounted. It turned out beautiful. Here is a photo of it:

The next morning came early again as usual, 4:30am this time! We loaded up and met my friend from work at the local Micky D's down the road. Of course I had to pick up my morning breakfast sandwich and coffee. It wouldn't be a hunting trip without it. My friend asked me why we had to get out so early since it didn't get light until almost 7am? I told him it takes a while to put decoys out, as he would soon learn.

We arrived at the boat lauch and to my surprise Pro Staffer Chuck Parr wasn't there yet! This is the first time ever, that we arrived before he did. I later learn that his local Mikey D's was closed and he wasn't happy about it! So do to technical difficulties beyond his control we arrived first this morning! I guarantee that won't happen again. He is always early.

This morning we had to make two trips to the island since we had four hunters, there was no way all that gear and four guys were going to fit into my boat. So I took out Mikey and Chuck first along with all the decoys, so they could start setting up the spread while I went back to pick up Randy and the rest of the gear. We unloaded the decoys and they got busy and I made my return trip to the boat launch. I grabbed Randy and we headed back out. The two boys were busy spreading the decoys as we pulled up. I unloaded and got the blind ready as Randy watched in amazement. He couldn't believe the spread the guys were putting out!

It was starting to near shooting time and I had to rush the guys to finish up the decoys, then we loaded up as shooting light arrived! This morning was different that the previous day. It was blowing, cold, spitting drizzle, and plain old nasty out! This should be a great morning! Then it began to sleet, which then turned to SNOW! But the problem was that there were no ducks or geese flying! We saw a few singles and doubles, but they were extremely high up again, just as the day before.

A couple of hours passed as we sat and talked about hunting, work, and families. We then had three geese drop on the opposite shore and hang out for a while. Mikey was determined that he could call them over to us, so he began to cluck ocassionally at them. Within a half hour or so, they took flight and flew straight for us. It worked! They came in broadside at 25 yards, Mikey called "Take 'em!" We proceeded to dump 12 rounds of steel at them! They kept on flying away from us as if nothing happened! Randy slowly turned towards me then asked, "What just happened?" I looked at him and said, "We missed! That's the way we roll!" We all just sat and laughed at each other in amazement that no one touched any of those geese. Now of course Mikey will tell you that he hit one twice, but there is no proof of it. That is what he always tells us when he misses.

We sat around for another hour with no luck, so we started to pack it in and again as usual, when we were loading up, the geese come flying in! We couldn't react fast enough to get a shot off, but it was nice to at least see something. Afterwards we talked with Randy and he is eager to try it again as soon as possible. Something must have went right for us, we now have another waterfowl hunter in the fold. It isn't always about taking game, it is about the experience! If we can remember that, we will be hooked on hunting for the rest of our lives!

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