Monday, November 9, 2009

Of mallards, wigeon and Coppertone...

I finally got a chance to get out Sunday morning for a little duck hunting, the first of the season for me.
It's not often that I wake up on a November morning to pre-dawn temps in the sixties and a forecast of sunshine and seventies. Not exactly traditional duck hunting weather, but when you gotta go you gotta go, so I went.

I threw the waders and a half-dozen decoys in the bag, loaded up Tess and headed for a favorite slough on my local lake. It's just a shallow little bowl of water, maybe an acre surrounded by trees, and it's a fairly long walk in, but I can usually find a few mallards hanging around.

One thing that really surprised me was the number of duck hunters I saw on the lake yesterday. I live in a part of the state where duck hunting isn't at all common. During a typical season I'll run into a few hunters from back east who hunt the area until their zone opener, but after that I usually have the place to myself.

Not yesterday. There were no less (and possibly more) than four different groups of hunters on the lake. I'm not used to sharing, and I fervently hope those people had a lousy hunt and decide to go somewhere else in the future. Yes, I've become a little spoiled in my solitude.

Despite the warm weather we've been having there were a few ducks on the lake this weekend and I managed to shoot a pair of mallards and a wigeon. I had my chance to limit out but the poor shooting I experienced during dove season has apparently carried over into duck season.

In fact, my dogs are becoming increasingly concerned about my inability to hit birds. There's nothing quite like a disapproving look to make you feel inadequate.

What ducks I did manage to hit were pretty easy marks for Tess, so the dog work was fairly routine. I am, however, going to have to work on breaking on the shot. It's my fault, really. She knows the rules but I've been letting it slide some during hunting and it's now becoming a problem. One of the disadvantages of hunting alone is it's very hard to work on things like that by yourself, whereas with a partner they can shoot and you can train.

Of course, while I'm thinking I need a hunting partner to help my training, my dogs are probably thinking I need a hunting partner so they might actually get to retrieve something this season...


  1. Ah, now, Booker (our Chessie) will crash on out there (he breaks on the shot, big time) and insist on checking the spread quite thoroughly, which in some ways rubs the point home even more than the "what, you missed again?" look.

    "Get back here, dog, I didn't hit a thing, the birds are gone. No, really, did you see anything fall, dog?"

    First hunt this weekend in NM, too. Too warm here as well, plenty of hunters, few birds, poor shooting.

    Nice shot of Tess and the widgeon.

  2. It is warm all over. Deer aren't moving in bama, and hurricanes do not help. Getting excited about the mississippi opener.

  3. Same goes for Kansas re: weather... although we're hoping the dry, warm weather has given farmers the chance to pull crops ahead of this weekend's pheasant/quail opener. We'll know soon enough!

  4. Weather's been bad in Cali, too, and we're deep into the November doldrums already. A local wildlife area had an average of about 1/4 of a bird per hunter last weekend. It's usually at least eight times that, I'm sure.

    I envy you having a place you consider your own, and feel for you finding all those other hunters out there.

  5. Thanks for the comments, guys.

    Mdmnm, Tess is actually doing that to, breaking on the misses as well as the hits. Makes us both feel a little foolish...

    Norcal, I ran into the WMA manager at the store yesterday and when I mentioned all the duck hunters I'd seen he told me he's issued more temporary blind permits for the lake and fielded more calls about duck hunting this year than he ever has.

    My secret spot 'aint so secret any more and now I guess I better learn how to be a better caller cause the ducks are getting educated...

  6. Geez, that should read "Tess is actually doing that TOO."

    Long day...

  7. Geez, part two. I have no idea why I spelled wigeon with a D not once but twice, and in the title, no less.

    I must be having an extended moment...

  8. Just found your blog - enjoyed reading it. I haven't been out duck hunting yet this year, but got a report from a buddy that it was pretty good this morning - despite the warm weather here in north Texas.

  9. Thanks, Rob, Scampwalker, Buffalo Digest and everyone else who actually sometimes reads the blog and leaves comments. Much appreciated...

  10. You cant shoot anymore
    I cant get the architect to measure up right
    At least we'll have plenty to talk about NEXT year