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- Category Hunting Stories
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- Prostaff Member Trout Whisperer
I drop the truck into four wheel drive and start to tip toe off the county road and follow an ancient logging trail. Last fall, when I was here, I don't recall the logging trail so rough. I meander about and come to the sharp corner and here is a brand new county forest gate with a lock that's locked tight. Oh for the love of progress. Man whose going to steal trees back here. Stupid gate.
Now I can't carry my kayak and decoys and shotguns for two miles in and then back out. I grab my scattergun, duck call, and optimistically fill my pockets with heavy steel and four goose loads. I start marching. Just about every football field in length, I think whod put a gate here and I get mad all over.
Once lakeside the old abandoned metal rowboat is semi covered with fallen leaves and I know if I need it Im gonna have to pine pitch the holes just to retrieve any ducks. And you should see the ducks. This fires me up in two ways. Yupper, I got ducks on a lake and no one else ever comes to it, but my decoys and stealth boat are a long way from here..
I sneak half way along the south shoreline find some denuded shrubs and hunker down. Just before I get to an inside bay, I make my self comfortable with some brush clipping for shooting lanes and load the tubes. I start to quack and get an immediate response from very close by. I quack, the duck quack quacks back. We banter and I quit. Curiosity supposedly killed the cat; for sure it got this duck. I couldn't see the duck but heard its searching quacks as it swam out of the bay into the main lake.
Then I hear it quack in rapid succession and its flying toward me now in slow, head swinging moves. From a casual hand hold I go to a solid grip and find the trigger. The gun comes up and the duck hits the burners. My first barrel misses and the mallard flares white under wing, second trigger pull, I connect! Like it hit an invisible wall and slid to the lake surface it crashed. My duck calling is getting good, man Im good with this new duck tooter and my second shot was perfect.
My shooting launched the mass of rafted ducks.
The east end of the lake is ducks in any number combination some high and some screaming low across the water. I fumble for shells as two sweep by well within range twenty feet off the water. I close the breech on fresh firepower as maybe fifteen ducks from directly across the lake are coming in fast.
Just inside the lethal range, I raise and fire on the closest bird as the tight flock sweeps back towards the open water. Nose down I follow it to the lake and I could have had a double but I mark the down bird first. A flock of over forty ring neck ducks way out of range splits the lake north to south, clears the trees in a wing rush and is gone.
Six come by tempting but just too far. Then a single banks at my calling and coming hard, dropping to the lure of the two floaters, he commits. I touch it off softly and end its inbound flight path. Ducks swarm in the sky but theyve had enough. They float and gather high departing way over my head.
I go dig the boat out. And seat the oars. It's seeping water but I chance it as I shove off. From tight against the shore I get buzzed by two ducks I could not identify. I finish my retrieves and head back to shore. I put the boat back where I got it.
Gate, what gate? Decoys? Who needs them and I borrowed the leaky loaner boat, it all worked out fine. What a nice drop in duck hunt.
As I turn to leave I reach down to get the ducks and get slapped in the face with a branch. My left eye is stinging. Flooded with tears I try to focus. My cheek is wet and I know its blood. I set my gun down and reach with my hand. It's crimson with blood. I wade into the lake for a mirror to see what damage I have done. I keep rinsing my eye as my vision stabilizes.
This morning, in church, absolutely everyone notices my shiner. Oh, what did you doâ is the common question from all I greet or greet me. I explain, in true virtuous church like fashion, Well, I went duck hunting behind a locked county forest gate I was mad at. Then I took my duck call out and verbally lied to a mallard who thought I was sending a polite invite, after that I shot some of his cousins. To get the ducks I used some abandoned boat that was not mine, and the cake topper was how smug I was feeling with my success. As I slowly walked back to the gate my near sightedness from earlier in the day was completely gone. All it took was fate to punch me in the eye to put things back in focus. You see what Im talking about?