Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Morning Duck Hunt...

I have been dragging my feet on the duck hunting this year. It's something I want to do and like to do but the thought of a long cold boat ride in the early morning hours or a long walk in thick brush wearing waders has put me off. I can remember when my dad, who rarely deer hunted suddenly wanted to deer hunt all the time. And I seem to recall that he never killed a deer. I think he just gave up those cold morning struggles of duck hunting and was sitting in the woods taking a nap. I think he was about my age when he started doing this. I decided to toughen up and this morning and head out to the Big Slough Wilderness Area for a hunt. Here's a look up the big slough where I hunted this morning.

I did not duck hunt last year. So I was a little cautious about driving over in the dark morning hours to the wilderness area as I did not know the condition of the road. It's a good road and not slick in the rain but in the wilderness area there is only the most basic maintenance. I set out and with the road fair to good arrived at exactly sun up. You can shoot ducks 30 minutes before sun up but in my two year absence from this area the trail I walk in on has about gone away and I did not want to try to find my way in total darkness.. I had my land marks on GPS but the brush was very thick and I ended up following some one's flagged trail that ended up at a point on the big slough and at that point sat about 30 ducks. I dropped one as they flew. 

It seemed a good spot so as I had backpacked my waders in I put them on, retrieved the duck (a wood duck hen) and settled in. Those ducks liked that spot for some reason and I waited less than 5 minutes and killed a drake. by the end of an hour I killed a second drake and although you can kill 6 ducks 3 wood ducks is all you can have of that species.  

I never really identified where I was on the big slough. The GPS showed and this is crow flies measurement that  it was .15 miles to my favorite ambush bend, .34 miles to where the old main trail ends at the slough and .64 miles to the car. That involves a bunch of walking around thick brush and downed trees.   

It took three shots for these ducks. I was a model of efficiency this morning. In that photo is the shot gun, a Winchester 1200 that I got for Christmas when I was about 17 years old. It has served me well as has the single shot 20 that was my first shot gun and sits waiting for grandchildren to grow big enough for the old family fun of a duck hunt. I was hunting with my dad's old model 12 duck gun the past few years but it's about worn out. These are good all purpose guns that are made to serve a life time. 

So it probably took me longer to walk in and out of the area than the hunt did. On the way out I flushed a bird along the trail that was about crock pot size that I could not identify and stopped and took a picture of this fellow. He is not swimming in my belly but I would like some help from the bird experts in knowing what kind he is. 

On the way out four does ran in front of the truck. It was a great morning in the woods and now we have duck to eat.  


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Blogger scottbob said...

I believe you have captured a very nice photo of the American Woodcock. They are dark meat and tasty like duck or dove. The Angelina county season this year was 12-18 through 1-31 with a daily bag limit of 3 and possession of 3X daily. Snipe are also available to hunt there with a more liberal bag limit. They look similar.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Carl said...

Thanks for the info. Someone asked why I did not shoot it. I said, "It was at my feet." They thought I should have wrung it's neck.

I hunt this area a couple of times a year and I usually see these. Must be plenty.

7:56 PM  
Blogger scottbob said...

The only reason I'm familiar with this bird is because my brother & I & some other family/friends were on a hunt at Granger Lake WMA in the '80's. We were after pheasant, but Woodcock were on the info sign at entry station. I commented "I wouldn't know a Woodcock if it flew up my ass"! As it turned out I nearly stepped on one before it cork-screwed up into some pines. I dropped it with an instinct shot with my first shotgun, a 20 gauge Remington model 870. They sit real tight, thus your picture. I believe a pointing/flushing dog in the spaniel group would be an asset if someone was intent on hunting these. On the other hand you could try to wring their neck or let them be. We didn't see any pheasant.

9:08 PM  

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