There is something about duck hunting that makes everyone smile and shake their head frustrated at the same time. I love how you can take a guy out once and have him hooked for life. One good trip is all it takes. Y’all know what I’m talking about. The ability to shoot more than once on a hunting trip. The building of the blind, and silent sit and wait. (Okay if you go with buddies it may not be silent).
What about the not so fun duck
hunting trips? The ones where you drive for hours, break ice to setup decoys, fill your waders filling in the blind, and get skunked. I know what y’all are thinking. “No thanks.” Something about waterfowl can be so intriguing, yet so aggravating. I know from experience the feeling of disappointment when you put in the time and no dice, nor ducks. However, today I want to talk about how hard work plus patience equals success.
A friend and I went on a duck hunting trip after scouting a spot in northern New Mexico (yes, we have water) and knowing there were going to be some ducks in this spot we planned to hunt there. We left his house at 0230 and arrived at our spot along the Rio Grande and started putting in the hard work. It was cold, but not frigid and the water on the river was running fast. The bottom of the river was covered in rocks and we couldn’t punch our motion decoy stick through, so we got wet by removing a foot and a half of rocks only to find more rocks. We eventually realized how foolish and futile our attempt was and decided to wedge our motion decoy stick in the rocks. Hoping and asking mother nature not to knock it over.
We set out our decoys for a NW wind. When we went to scout we saw some Mallards, Wigeon, and Wood Ducks. We set out our floating decoys, jerk cords, and setup some floating Canadian Geese just in case. (You never know.) We wanted to go out into the river to make sure any ducks flying down or up stream could see our spread clearly. We brushed up the bind with natural cover around, and hunkered down to wait for shooting light.
About 10 minutes to sunrise we hear a pack of coyotes howling and heading to their den for the day. We play the rookie mistake of calling out with a cottontail distress call. To our dumbfounded senses we hear ducks get up off the water and fly away. BUSTED!! By a dumb out of place call. What were we thinking? We came to shoot ducks and literally scared them off as they were swimming into our spread from upstream. Rookie mistake. After having a moment of shame, and reminding ourselves the day is young, we quiet down and get ready to hunt.
The morning goes by slowly. We shoot some singles, and debate whether or not to stay. I say let’s stay for another hour and if nothing comes flying by we will pack up and leave. My buddy agrees. This was the best decision we made that day.
About 25 minutes later we see off in the distance some Canadian Geese flying high but, dropping in altitude. I flag them and they descend even more. As they approach my buddy works them with his best honk, cluck and moan sequence. The geese circle overhead and we allow them to work so we don’t sky-bust (another topic soon) and scare them away. We allow them to work, but then I see our motion decoy moving still. I reach for the remote to shut it off. The geese flare because they see me move. I am so mad at myself at this point. I know the motion decoys make geese wary, but I busted myself by another rookie mistake.
I start lifting up prayers to the Almighty and ask Him for a favor. To my surprise we hear geese mimicking my buddy’s honk, cluck, moan sequence. My buddy gets back on his call and works them into the decoys again! This time the motion decoy is off, and we are ready to kill some geese. The geese worked so beautifully I regret not setting up my camera. The lead goose puts its’ feet down and we now have 12 geese landing into our decoys up-river. I call out, “Kill ‘em” and we shoot one each because both of our guns failed to eject the shells. We are on the river so we hurry to get out of the blind and retrieve the birds. (Still training my gundog). My buddy takes his gun with him like a smart hunter. To our delight, one of the geese circles back and my buddy shoots him down. We had 3 geese.
All this is to say how hard works pays in the end. Yes, you may have some difficulties hunting and may even get skunked. My opinion is the Almighty favors those who work for it. You get out what you put in. We started discouraged, wet, cold, and tired, but we worked hard and were patient. In the end we were rewarded with some ducks and 3 geese.