Cold Ducks

Trout Whisperer

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  • Prostaff Member Trout Whisperer

My throat is layered up with a turtle neck and fleece camo muffler. Atop my noggin is a gray wool knitted cap. This configuration is scrunched into the collar of a very fine water proof hunting coat. The wind is cutting through all of it.

November winds are slashing at all angles causing my eyes to water and my gloved backhand is smearing the tear drops across my face as I try to keep my vision from being blurred. Lake surface and sky are melded out in front of me by a silver gray rolling wind whipped putty.. You’re just not to sure if clouds are being blown over you or just now forming and being swept off the boiling lake surface out front.

My peripheral vision is being ticked by an incoming black spec from Canada. My boat is so close to the Canadian- Minnesota border it gives me goose bumps, maybe the cold as well. I'm going to make sure a few of these birds will be consumed in Minnesota. There roaring south from Canada and one is on course for my spread out front.

I can't get the wind to my back, so a long line of decoys angles towards shore like a funnel. What I call the “baby duck” is flying somewhere around mock two coming into line and dropping. The number four previously installed in the upper tube woompfs and I have a catapulting buffle head, then its wave washed up along my cattail wall.

Im hidden in a six foot tall vegetative mesh of cattails flailing and tossed by buffeting winds. Green fronds all summer are now Brown tan and tattered. My ears are covered and the swishing sound can still be heard with the brushing and grating of mile after mile of frost bitten vegetation.

Channels open up through this vast maze of interconnected ponds. You thankfully can have any one you want. In a weeks time my party of duck hunter's has heard only two other groups in the distance firing and I’ve seen one other boat. Two guys camo’d and divided by a brown chessie. We exchanged salutes and out to the west bay they went..

When the birds break the sound barrier and become visible within feet of my boat I have no chance for a shot. Where these birds are coming from is anybody's guess. Feet above the vegetation and flying or just staying with the wind, you have to wonder how they can fly at all. Some ducks go past like thrown steel knives. Shells wasted and cussed breath follows these birds.

One mile east of where I hide and cower from the wind is a waterfowl resting sanctuary. No hunting. Great swarms of birds rise and pulse into the sky then are slowly consumed by the distance. Breaking off from flocks are singles and doubles and occasionally a little flock of a dozen or so. In the past few days I hoped into the sky and prayed into the ducks and begged to the god that created them all for a flock to decoy to me.

Its happening now, sort of, and molasses fast. My arms become somewhere close to a hundred pounds each and feel like perma frost. The once feather light, over under 12 gauge is like lifting solid train rail. A squadron of ducks is in perfect formation and coming fast. They will be well within lethal range but it is only going to be a fly over. They are not decoying or putting the flaps down. There azimuth just happens to be above me..

In a semi conscious state I lift, aim and fire at everything and miss. With the second barrel I take the wingman on the far right and he goes down. So do I. I sit in the boat because my knees are shaking. Yeah it's the cold, and days of rising early. It's also a rush of excitement I never want to stop being part of.

Watching the sky, trying to reload, I drop one new shell into the slurry of bilge water and spent shell casings floating in the bottom of my boat. Water logged feathers, chunks of cattails and decoy's that lost there anchors make up the rest of the boat floor. Two cold trophies are nested by me. I straightened all there feathers and set them on the boat seat like you’d put your pipe on the fireplace mantle. Easy to see and easy to find.

I’m fishing the good shell out of the boat bottom. Really need to settle down.

A deep breath gets the job done. I have both barrels loaded. I close the breech and scan the sky

Posted by Trout Whisperer under Hunting Stories on January 22, 09 08:00 AM | Permalink

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