My very best and finest duck hunt I ever had

Thread starter #1
I had the great opportunity to get in on a lease of flooded hay And corn stubble fields years ago in western Washington State. On good days the pintails covered us up, the widge swept in and teal swarmed us. There were mallards but they just aren’t the fun that widgeon are.

There was a kid, 12 years old, who introduced himself to us one day as we were finishing an excellent early season goose hunt. The kid, his name is Jeff, thought we were guys who put on one of the big name hunting shows. That got us laughing! We chatted with him for awhile and his obsession for duck hunting was obvious. He was freelancing his hunting and only killed two birds so far. We felt his frustrations and passion for ducks and promised him that once the water pooled in the fields and the ducks migrated down, we’d call him in for a hunt.

Well, it was a lousy year for water and ducks, probably the worst we had ever had. I mean, no rain to speak of and fewer birds. Early season geese had been our only success.

Late in the season my cellphone rings at work one afternoon. It was Jeff calling to see if there was any chance we could hunt on the following Monday. The season was ending in ten days, he had MLK Day off as a school holiday and just wanted to hunt jus once. I told him we hadn’t called because the season was go horrible. I then called my hunting partner and we discussed it. The decision was made to take him out on MLK Day but he had to know there was very little likelihood that we would fire a shot.

Jeff’s momma, an Army Lt. Colonel, met us and released him to our care at 5:30 Monday morning. We made our trek across mud flats and matted, brown soggy corn stalks to our blind in the dark. We took along only three dozen dekes knowing there wouldn’t be much if any water to make a spread.

We got to the blind and there was a big puddle maybe 50’x50ft, about 12 inches deep. And that was it on the entire 125 acres.

We threw the dekes out, arranged to the southeast wind So as To bring birds across and in front of us. I settled my Lab, Grits, on the bench next to Jeff And they hit it off immediately. It was still dark and chilly, low 40’s maybe, Cloudy overcast. I fired up my Jetboil and made hot chocolate for us.

Well, it started getting light and we heard that first whispering rustle of wings over our head. Ducks! Widgeon! And they dropped into the dekes. Too early to shoot. A couple of minutes later, they left. I though”Shoot! That’s going to be it for the whole day!”. Well, it wasn’t. It was just the start. The daylight seeped in, things lightened up, and here came the birds.

We had widgeon pintails and teal in the decoys every 20 minutes or so. But the best part wasn’t the birds. No, it was watching this 12 year old kid sitting, watching birds work, listening to our instructions, and shooting birds.

Here’s the really funny part. Our blind was steel framed, wood slate sided and secured with drill in mud anchors. It was SOLID! We’re sitting still, a flock of pintails are wheeling and swooping towards the decoys and I notice the blind is vibrating. I glance to my left and it’s Jeff. He’s so excited he’s shaking that 1,000 lb, anchored blind that’s holding him, two 200lb+ hunters and a 60lb. Lab. I nudged my hunting buddy, tipped my head toward Jeff so he could see what was causing that blind to vibrate. We started laughing, it was the greatest part of the hunt. Another hunter got addicted to duck hunting.

Jeff got to see some great dog work on “marks” and “blinds”, too. Grits did her usual “I love this” thing and I let Jeff “cast” her on some blind retrieves.

Well, Three guys, four hours, 20 ducks. Jeff got first crack at every flock or single that came in. What a day.

When we dropped him off at home after the hunt, we asked how many birds he wanted. He said, “Can I have all of them?”. We laughed, said make sure you clean and eat every one of them AND it’s okay with your mom. She said “yes”, he took the birds and we found out later from Mom that he arranged them, rearranged them, examined, them, laid them out and cleaned them all.

Jeff is still there, is a guide quality water Fowler, is married and has a family. He has a really good yellow Lab Jeff works hard and has leases on several areas around his home. He loves duck hunting as much as that first hunt with us.

I don’t think he realizes how he took us on the finest hunt my buddy and I ever had.
 
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Juan De

Senior Member
It’s stories like this that we all love, and why we go hunt.
 

1eyefishing

...just joking, seriously.
" Good things happen when you take a kid hunting." - re-post (y)
 
Thread starter #11
Thanks to all for your comments and “likes”. I actually left out my favorite part of the day so I added a paragraph. (#10)

Jeff actually was hunting with me and a different buddy on my last bird hunt almost seven years ago. After fifty years of waterfowling I sold or gave Jeff all of my stuff and moved back south. A passing of the torch to very capable hands!
 
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