Social hour interrupted by ducks
Whether you’re deer hunting or duck hunting, a considerable amount of time can pass between the time when you arrive at your hunting spot and the moment you pull the trigger or release the bow string – if you ever do.
So one of the things that has always attracted me to waterfowl hunting is that I’m able to visit with hunting partners and carry on a conversation while we’re waiting for birds to fly over the decoys. That’s not something that’s easy to do when deer hunting, which is usually a solitary pursuit anyway.
A buddy and I went on a duck hunt recently, and the only visiting we did was in the truck on the way to and from the boat ramp. After we started the noisy outboard, motored out to our spot, and set the decoys, the action didn’t allow us to get caught up on the latest news in each other’s lives, as we routinely do.
We flushed a couple hundred diving ducks on our way out to our hunting spot, and many of the birds had been feeding right in front of where we intended to set up. It took us only 20 minutes to put out decoys and secure the boat in the weeds, and from then on, we didn’t have time to have a sip of coffee, let alone discuss politics or the status of our families.
Within minutes of loading our guns, a flock of widgeon was on its way into our decoys. We stood and each shot twice, and every bird continued flying without so much as a cut feather.
We didn’t have much time to lament our poor shooting before the next flock, redheads, came barreling in. This time, our shooting was better.
We had scarcely retrieved the birds when another small group came in, and before we knew it, we had our limit of redheads and had to watch many more fly in and out of the decoys until some ringnecks and bluebills joined the party.
It was a textbook diver hunt, minus the weather. The wind was strong, but it was so warm that I didn’t put my heavy coat on the entire afternoon. The sun was behind us, helping us hide from incoming ducks.
We passed on several birds as we tried to identify them and, as always, it was wonderful to watch migrating birds “juke and jive” in the wind – as a friend likes to say – and pass low over our heads.
My hunting partner, who is fairly new to waterfowl hunting, knows from our experience that hunts like this one don’t come often. But it sure is nice when they do.