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- Prostaff Member Trout Whisperer
When I load the over under I think to myself that the shell prices have gone sky high. Every time I pull the trigger today it's gonna be a bill, for a bill. A dollar a duck if I connect. It's still worth it, but shells are almost hunting pockets full of steel currency. If I add in the federal stamp and state license fees I yearn for days of old.
From the eastern lakeshore twelve black specs materialize and grow larger by the milli-second. I don't move my neck or eyes off the incomers. A dozen dark darts in Perfect formation close directly on me.
They will come over at less than thirty yards off the water and flying so fast I don't see wing beats. When my timing and shotgun shoulder English meld I raise and fire to miss the first one cleanly and stonewall one with the second tube. I do that every stinking time I get to much eye on the duck..
The redhead smashes into what was a month ago full heads of wild rice and sends up a water wave that rinses the two dollar duck. I watch as one less in the closed formation rise up and climb out over some yellowed tamarack trees on the west edge of the outlet to the rivers headwaters.
Without taking my eyes off the skies I reload by feel with number two's. It's a day for ducks. They are everywhere. In any flock number combinations just short of two hundred. Low over the water, high flyers, searching singles or screaming squadrons at every altitude my eyes can lock onto without being drawn ever higher to black tight knit pulsing swarms on the northern most shore.
Four Ring necked banking and I snap fire to connect on the trailing bird. It folds, catapults nose down, then lands belly up into the small wavy lake surface. My over under comes back to my shoulder all by itself and I drop a kamikaze set of wings cupping into the closest opening in my spread. These aint local ducks.
From the lakes north shore I hear two echoing booms. If the sky could hold more ducks I don't know how. From mid lake three ducks are coming in fast maybe five feet off the water, I hold high on the center bill and fire. A patterned double. The lead bird goes wing over and cork screws down splashing. Second right smashes in the sedges behind me. The remaining single hits the burners and climbs as my second tube connects, my six dollar day is done.
Double shotgun blasts careen off the north shore. After fifteen minutes the lake goes quiet of gunfire. I eat a peanut butter sandwich and snap mental trigger pulls on ducks and ducks and more ducks. I flip an apple core in the air at two trying to land in my bobbing dekes. They stall; flare and wing over the point disappearing down the river.
From the west shore wind milling kayak strokes propel Mark ever closer. I close my water bottle and stand up. He paddles in and retrieves my two feathered downy decoys. We both sit up on the rocks now in full view of it all. Today is the good old days in our lives. Both of us, for at least one day, can finally imagine what the duck camps of old must have gunned like. Even today has a silver lining; at today's shell prices it's a good thing you can't amass a historic limit of twenty five birds per day.
The trout whisperer