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Finally Just Me And The Old Girl!
Old 12-01-2004, 10:12 PM
Senior Family Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Springfield, Missouri
Age: 56
Posts: 100
DEADBIRD is on a distinguished road
Cool Finally Just Me And The Old Girl!

It has been a long holiday mixed with family activities,basketball games,and work. We have also had seven days of rain, sleet, snow, and high winds which has made hunting a back burner issue. I find that the older I get the less I appreciate getting up at 3 am. I less appreciate traveling the hour to my nearest ducking spot to see if there are really ducks migrating or if all the hoopla on the local websites are merely dreams. Oh yeah and then wading in 30 degree water to find out that the lake has risen so high that I can't hunt the usual spots because the make shift timber blinds of willow limbs are now eight feet under water. All is refreshed though when the fog begins to lift as I down my coffee and load my Remington with 3inch magnums in anticipation of the first flight.

The lake has risen to the highest level it has been in about five years. Unfortunately all the rivers 100 miles north are out of their banks as well and the residual flooding has put a layer of water over all the harvested milo and corn fields. Not to mention the pinoak and pecan groves all have about two foot of water in them. Most waterfowlers would say that this was a gift from the duck gods but for us southerners in the state, it is a problem since the ducks have been pushed out of Iowa and Nebraska and are flocking to these flooded oasis on their journey south. The migrating flights are hitting the west-central part of the state and stopping. My lake spot is 100 miles shy of the motherload but I went for traditions sake.

The joy of this hunt was the solitude. It was me and the old girl. She is as beautiful as I met her. Dark brunette hair. Muscular where it counts and her chest ........ her eyes are as dark as midnight and always ready to express her opinion on the, or any other circumstance. Normally I have one of my other hunting buddies with me but today it was just us. As we left the boat ramp we could see the residual snow left on the north facing banks of the lake. Loons were calling with their melancholy call as I fired up the Susuki. We traveled to one of my usual spots only to find that the blind of willows was no where to be found, that is unless you had scuba gear. So I wondered aimlessly down the west bank of the reservoir in search of ducks. Finally in the back of a small cove I found that the timber along the bank was flooded. It looked alot like the areas in Stuttgart, Arkansas that I have hunted. This could only mean one thing. Green flooded timber means Greenheads. As I pulled up to the edge of the brush the sky began to fill with a few mallards. Next gadwalls began to jump followed by greenwing teal. Sum total was only about 70 birds but it was the only game in town. I began to set decoys from the boat in the hole just inside the flooded timber.

The decoys were set and I hid the boat. The wind was from the south at 10 mph and my set up was with four dozen mallard and pintail decoys from a variety of manufacturers. I hunted from a small patch of willows with buck brush all around. I was facing west and set along the east side of my horseshoe decoy spread. The sun was at my back so the shade of the willows helped to conceal my presence. The old girl was not much for standing in the belly high water since it would be over her head where I was standing, so she found her a place about 20 yards back in the weeds to sit. If the birds worked the wind right they should fall into the mouth of the horseshoe.

After an hour of waiting in the frigid cold I found that I wasn't the only thing in the water. The slapping splash of a beaver's tail showed his intolerance to my presence in his home turf. The sounds of migrating snowgeese filled the canopy of timber as flight after flight of the white birds flew over. The squall of an eagle brought to mind that a friend of mine in Afganistan would soon be home to share a blind with me at a later date. This freedom that I was enjoying gave an additional chill to my heart knowing that many of our loved ones were fighting for the right that I was currently using.

Soon the sound of a drake mallard broke the solitude. As I peered down the timberline, a group of seven mallards had returned. I hit the call and the birds kept flying away. One last comeback call was sent and a lone drake peeled off the group and began to call back at me continuously. The bird cupped his wings and slid down the wind currents dumping air from the cup as he fell. The horseshoe set up must have been a magnet since it pulled him to the mouth, right in front of me. My Remington barked and the bird plumetted to the water. I turned to the old girl and she launched into the icy water to retrieve her first Missouri duck of the season. If you havn't figured it out, the old girl is my seven year old labrador Shelby.

About every 30 minutes I would see some action. At one point I had a group of 20 greenwing teal fall in the hole without a sound and before I could react they were up and gone again. The second group of teal allowed me a single on a drake and as Shelby was bringing the duck to hand three mallards slid across the tree tops. A quick hale and a drake quack and the birds slipped over my left shoulder from behind and began to land at the mouth of the decoys. I took the teal from Shelby and hung it in a tree fork,swung my 28 inch modified barrel to mark, squeezed and my last drake for the day hit the water. We waited another hour or so but the flight was over. Three birds in the bag on a short hunt but the old girl and I continued our tradition for another seasonal start.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg trio.jpg (54.0 KB, 130 views)
File Type: jpg shelby04.jpg (86.5 KB, 127 views)

Last edited by Jay Edward (deceased); 12-01-2004 at 10:57 PM..
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