Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tis the Season

The Gutrunner hooked up to the duck truck,ready to go

I have had some of the best times I can remember over the last few weeks.I'm almost scared to tell the world about it because my luck is sure to change.I was granted all of two weeks home,I got the boat transfer I asked for and the hunting has been some of the best I think I have ever seen.I'm sure I just jinxed myself but that's alright,I have the memories of the last few weeks to carry me through the hard times to follow.I'm going to jump right into the hunting adventures and leave the thought of work alone for a few more days until i have to return to the boat.

Blacwater River,December 2010

It started with me finding my way onto the Blackwater river on the last day of the second split.I went duck hunting by myself and bagged exactly zero birds.The great thing was I really don't care because I saw birds they just wanted nothing to do with me.The following week with the season closed I finally made it around to getting a new trailer for the duck boat.This has been a long time coming and I feel much better about my investment being towed behind me.For one the lights work on this trailer.The next day I had an all day hunt planned with my brother,Nutty Professor in the morning,and my friend and his son in the afternoon.

Nutty Professor with a few mallards

The morning went like no other hunt I have ever had in my boat.My brother and I were literally covered in mallards on the minute of legal shooting time.We shot poorly but still managed to scratch out a few birds throughout the morning.The birds were still flying when we left however we had birds to clean and I needed a break before I spent the afternoon back in the marsh.That afternoon the local meteorologists had the weather wrong to say the least.The rain started ten hours early and the predicted wind was non existent.My friends son was out on his first boat hunt and he was miserable just like us.The rain didn't let up and we saw one bird all afternoon that was making his way to Florida.Great memories but I feel that my friends son may now be against anything that has to do with a boat.After a day off,we can't hunt on Sunday in Virginia,My friend and I decided to give it another go.

My buddy,drenched and not happy

Same buddy,different attitude.Our two drake black ducks

We had to deal with traffic issues trying to get to the boat ramp and almost missed first light.With only minutes to spare the boat blind was erected and the birds came in to the feeding hole.We scratched out a few mallards and decided to make a run for our original spot we didn't have time to make it to that morning.The meteorologists again got the weather wrong.The day before this epic hunt we had torrential rain and temperatures around sixty.The forecast for the next day was 38 with a stiff north wind.The actual temps were 30-32 with snow and zero wind.The snow had the local birds confused and hungry.They flew all morning and put on quite a show.Even though after we moved to the new spot we had very few birds give us a look,it was the most birds I have ever seen flying continually in all directions.A great show by mother nature,this was the best hunt I have ever put on.Not because we took a few birds but because I was in a boat with awesome ducky weather with a good friend and his duck dog,Benny.The following day my friend gave me a ring and let me know he had a half day at work the next day.It was time to hook the boat up one more time.

Upon returning to the same boat dock we quickly found out the ramp was closed for repairs.Thanks again to my friends GPS we made our way to a new area only recently scouted .We found ourselves in a river that was frozen over from shore to shore from the minus 15 degree temperature of the past few nights.Let it be known,I have never driven a boat through ice and I would rather not do it again.It took forever and thankfully I have an aluminum boat.Although not indestructible,it definitely broke the ice.When we showed up in the creek we found the only area with open water and threw out some decoys and the mighty mojo.Getting ready we heard geese in the area,which are out of season,and crossed our finger that some birds would come check us out.We got lucky,two drake black ducks came to check out our decoys a few minutes after first light and they were subsequently bagged by one shot from me and one from my friend.We got buzzed by a Bufflehead and a drake Mallard and around 830 decided we were frozen enough and picked up to head back to the dock.The tide now being low it was an experience trying to get the boat back on the trailer at the ramp.We used oars to bust the ice and wheel chocks to keep my truck from sliding into the river.As of now it's snowing again outside and although my urge to go back out and hunt again is relentless,I know it's a better idea to take a day off and enjoy nature from the couch in my heated house.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Back in the Big Apple for the third Winter in a row and excited about it,what's wrong with me.This is the third Winter in a row I have been "stationed" in and around the New York Harbor.Many other Seamen hate the Winters up here,I happen to love them.The strong North winds,the ice,the snow and the work is never ending.Unfortunately we will be going back South in a few days for a short lived job on the Potomac River in Maryland.I guess they need some coal,something about it's getting cold,i didn't notice.So as we headed through Hells Gate the other day and I grabbed my camera I thought for the millionth time what it was like way back when.I can only wonder and read sea journals because I will never know.There are some huge changes that will be taking place in my career over the next few months.Step one transfer boat,step two finish out sea time for merchant mariner document upgrade,step three go back to school,step four and most importantly we will discuss at a later date after it happens.Everyone have a great Thanksgiving and if you have a chance to get outside then do it.There is nothing stopping you from enjoying a day in the woods or on the water.Yes it's cold but you can always put more clothes on!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's Over

That's right the dredge job of doom is over.Not knowing if the dredge site would be shut down the next day or would be active for another five years was getting really depressing.However upon my return to the boat from my off time I learned we would soon be leaving the Gulf Coast region and was ecstatic.More on where we are going next in a later post because at the moment I have only an idea.Ideas in this business are worth about as much as a weak cup of coffee.So let's talk about what I did in my time off besides catch an awesome cold that lasted entirely to long.I slept entirely to much end of story.

That is quite the opposite actually.After catching up on bills,a month worth of landscaping and other assorted home owner things I found some time to hang out with my brother swamp thing.Had a great time inflicting pain on my shoulder by shooting a cheap shotgun at clays for a few hours.The silly things I call fun right.I really did have a nice relaxing time hanging with swampy,his wife and the little kid.Upon returning home the cold of death took over my life for a few days.Now please understand I am a huge baby when it comes to pain but this cold was horrible.I'm an idiot so no I did not go to the doctor.i just toughed it out and ate entirely to many products with vitamin c.My last few days home found me drained of all energy so I did what every man would do when the fish are biting.I went fishing!

The blackwater River is a different kind of river.I could and probably will do an entire write up on the small stretch of river that I had a chance to see over the two days of boating.Coughing up a lung,stuffed up nose,chills,strong north winds,yes go fishing.What an awesome time I had and only a few minutes down the road from my new house.I located a few ducks and geese,plenty of deer,beyond beautiful scenery and some fish.So back at work now and exhausted.Hopefully heading back north and I hope to find some time to do some in depth write ups.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The End in Sight?

That seems to be the big question.In a maritime world that is ever changing,along with an economy that continues to flounder have we reached the bottom yet?If I was a betting man I would say, well that depends .It depends much on how harsh of a winter we have coupled with how interested America stays in the clean up of the Gulf Oil spill.Follow me for a second and maybe I can get through to you.Everyone knows about the gulf oil spill,everyone knows it has put many fisherman,shrimpers,beach resorts financially in a bad way.Everyone also knows that it has employed many merchant marines,created government jobs,etc.Unfortunately whatever "good" has come from it will soon turn out horribly wrong.See all those jobs are temporary and unfortunately America has forgotten that millions of barrels of oil are still floating around in limbo in the Gulf Of Mexico,thanks chemical dispersant.Out of sight out of mind,right?Wrong,damn it it will eventually get caught in the currents and make it's way to a beach near you.It may take years but you will see it and it will have some effect on your personal life,mark my words.

So the Gulf is "clean" again,see above,and the permits to clean it up are all running out.Problem numero uno as I see it.Why the hell do we need permits to clean up spilled oil?So the permits run out and all the temporary jobs come to an end.Fortunately for merchant seaman involved Winter is right around the corner and I'm serious this will make or break us part one.If we have a harsh Winter you cold Americans in your warm houses need heating oil and lots of it!We the nice people of the inland and coastal waterways are proud to give it to you at an exorbitant price mind you,but you understand it's just business.Bottom line,if you get cold we stay employed so crank the heat up would you.That brings us to Spring time.

Yes I know it is months away but I'm a professional worrier and I worry about the future.Odd that just a few years ago I didn't care if the sun came up the next day.So it's Spring time,the Gulf is clean,the oil didn't make it to the East Coast,you got cold and kept me employed,thanks world for cooperating.Now all the Gulf coast fisherman can get back to work and catch all those shrimp and blue crabs so the state of Maryland can fee the tourists.This leads them to get off the tugboats they came to this Summer and frees up positions for me to move on with my career.It all sounds so simple,so what could go wrong.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


No I have not found the cure for all communicable diseases or anything even close,I had a deep thought.Understandably this gave me the worlds biggest headache since my operating system,brain,is sometimes referred to as "puny".Never fear I wrote down my deep thought and because I'm a true American it had to do with money,my future and how I ended up here.So let's play a quick game of catch up if you will so everyone is up to speed.The Gulf Oil Disaster,or whatever name you wish to give it,has been keeping the majority of American Merchant Marines busy for the last few months,me included.We have been working with dredge companies,hauling sand and mud offshore to then be pumped inland to create barrier islands to keep the oil off of and away from extremely fragile marshes.I hope you followed that because there will not be a review.Seriously when time permits I will spend time posting pictures and articles detailing the craziness we have endured the last few months in the bayou.I would like to take the time after the job is completed,3 months to five years from now,to remind everyone of exactly what happened down here.A few weeks ago before returning to work I finally moved out of the city and into my firat house.The first few days in that house were the most relaxing days I have literally had in years.I will detail this at some point as well.I did get the opportunity to go out for a September goose hunt with my brother,the nutty professor and a friend of mine.We shot poorly and ended up with one goose,which is better than none.I really don't care much for hunting with shorts on and sweating but it is good to have a drill in case anything goes wrong.The water is still warm in case the boat sinks,haha.Well now everyone is caught up and this brings me to the topic at hand,my deep thought.

Let's leave that long winded paragraph behind and wrap our heads around this.Written on the bottom of a bunk on the tug I am on there are quite a few sayings.Really every tug has one bunk or galley table where everyone signs or writes something on.This particular bunk has been on the boat for quite a few years.To sum up the majority of the sayings it consists of an question that one person was an open ended question-Why are you here?over the course of 20-25 years people have answered this question.Easy,obvious answers-money,running away from my wife,wife got pregnant,it was this or jail.Some people took the time to write detailed events of how they ended up on that particular tug.the bunk has run out of room to write on many years ago but it really got me thinking,why am I here.was it for the money,it certainly isn't because I'm running from jail I assure you.I couldn't answer that question in a sentence so I thought it over and never found a single concrete reason.The best I could come up with,the Navy wanted a contract?Seriously I still haven't found the answer but every night I lay in that bed and find a new response to the question,I continue to think about my own situation.So ask yourself,don't tell me it's your business,why are you where you are right now?What brought you there?

Friday, September 3, 2010

real quick

I'm aware I have been away from the computer literally all Summer and it doesn't thrill me either.What does thrill me is that it means I have been busy.Let's clear this up first.I have not abandoned this blog.I will write when I have the chance but think forced writing is worst writing.Where am I?Currently in the extreme lower Mississippi River working.What are you doing?Working one of the biggest dredge jobs ever in the United States.We are taking sand and mud from the lower Mississippi River out to see via dredge scow and dumping it near an off shore dredge.why?So the lovely people of this state can have there wildlife preserves,marshes and barrier islands protected by sand berms.Is this a coincidence or in direct relation to the bp/deep water horizon spill?Up for debate and I will not throw my answer in the ring until well after this job is done or we are allowed to speak freely about the subject matter.what else have you done all Summer?I bought a house and will be moving into it in the next few weeks when I get a break from work.This excites and scares me for the fact that I owe a bank a ton of don't fret everyone.I have great pictures of the new house,the interesting life on a boat in the bayou and the few outdoor activities I have done this Summer.Don't forget duck and goose season is here!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Southwest Virginia Trout Trip

The one that didn't get away
My Dad and brother with a nice rainbow trout

As many of you know I have been running myself ragged over the last few months,however I can now see the light.I'm in the process of buying a house and even though I went into it knowing some of the complications I would encounter,it's starting to wear on me.I did manage to find a few days to escape the phone calls,inspections and packing to head to the mountains of Southwest Virginia.I made this trip a few times last year to a small town my parents have decided to retire to.Last year I spent quite a bit of time fishing one stretch of the creek that runs through the property with decent success.The way I looked at it was if you are catching fish why try something new.This year I headed up on a Thursday to give myself a little extra time to explore the creek and the surrounding hillsides.I found a few holes that held some fish and I managed to catch and land a few smallmouth bass.The trout were very interested in my yellow rooster tail spinner but proved to be a bit tricky to land.I lost three within a matter of hours.I was lucky enough to land the biggest rainbow trout I have ever caught on the last day of fishing with my brother and father.I won't get into any details but the entire trip was awesome.Everything from spending time with my Mom to wading this creek my father has worked his entire life to make his home on.The best was the initial bet,it went a little something like this.

Fisherman and hunters are always trying to one up the competition,whether it's friends,family or actual competition.I usually go with the biggest fish caught wins five bucks from everyone involved in the trip.This year I went with first one to fall down in the creek loses five bucks to the other two dry individuals.Unexpectedly my father and brother agreed and within five minutes my brother was drenched and ten dollars poorer.My father took a small dip later in the morning and I had quite a few close calls but managed to stay dry until late Saturday evening.My brother was in the process of landing a nice trout and let's just say the line snapped at the last minute for "unknown reasons".I'm not sure why but I jumped on the fish like it was an alligator and tried to wrestle the slimy fish the remaining few feet to shore.I lost the match lets say and gained a few gallons of water in my waders.I'm going to try my hardest to get back in September.I just hope this house buying experience is over by then.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Can't Stop Now

Never in my thirty one years on Earth did I think I would make it to well,thirty one.I hit this not so important milestone a few months ago and I'm just now going to take a minute and look around.I didn't think even ten years ago I would be where I am.It may have been part stubbornness,part ignorance.I always thought whatever live today like there is absolutely no tomorrow and some days really wished there wasn't a tomorrow.Obviously I'm here and I just want to try and figure out what's next.In the last seven or so years I have slowly come around from hoping there wasn't going to be a tomorrow to looking forward to it.I still embrace the live every day like there isn't going to be another one,just a little more cautious.I'm more cautious now because I have more to lose.Most importantly,to me job.I know a person who lives his life for his job is just a person who doesn't know how to live.I think that just depends on what your job is.

If you work in an office all day with your head in a computer,you haven't seen a sunrise in over a year,you wake up and everyday is absolutely the same as the day before,well you get the picture.I can't stress enough how working so many different jobs in my teens and twenties,I have no idea how I ended up where I am today.I was literally a signature away from joining the Navy,which isn't a bad idea for some.I won't get into the details but I have done some jobs that were,well,just that,jobs.So what's the difference between a job and a career?Does it have to do with chance for advancement,a pay rate scale,a certain amount of respect earned in the field you work?I honestly don't know,I'm sure wikipedia does though!In my mind the difference between a job and a career is the level of happiness one can gain by showing up every day.The pay rate scale definitely helps but I know a few people who make way more than the Dude and are quite a bit less happy.In all seriousness though I feel I'm lucky and every time I get angry or up in arms at work,I tend to look back later in the day and tell myself,hey it could be worse.It has been worse and it may be a bumpy ride again at some point in my life.Right now I'm enjoying the opportunity I've been given and I'm taking what spare time I can find away from work to do some things I have always wanted to do.I may not have the chance in the future,because after all most people typically don't choose whether there will be a tomorrow or not.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Warm Weather Adventures

The guys from Man Camp 2010

With the temperatures finally turning the corner toward the warm side I knew it was that time of year again,MAN CAMP 2010!As a reminder Man Camp is quite self explanatory but I will explain it again for the less fortunate that were not reading this blog last year.Man Camp is the time of year when a bunch of guys go to the woods and try not to get arrested.No that isn't exactly it,Man Camp is a group of men go to the woods and waters of Virginia and do whatever they want.That's right no plan to have to go fishing or hiking,no set meals.If you want to go fishing go ahead,want to take a walk in the woods and sleep under an oak tree be my guest.There is one catch though,no bitching!Whether it's about your wife,your friends or the lack of fish if you bitch you suffer the consequences.Luckily in the last 8 or so years we have done Man Camp nobody has bitched so I don't know what the consequences are exactly.

Justin with the mandatory kiss of the first fish

Now that everyone has an understanding on what it's all about let me say a few words about this years Man Camp.We were lucky enough to have one of the original members join us at camp this year after a year off for "personal" reasons,whatever the hell that means.My friends of almost ten years Justin took the Friday off so we rode up to the Chickahominy River together with the boat in tow.Everything was normal as we launched the boat,I drove it around the creek and tied it to a tree.We set up camp and met his younger brother Ryan,who commenced to settling in.Later that evening after a nice boat ride and a few cold beers we were joined by the 9-5 crew.A fire was started and we all behaved ourselves like grown men,right.The next morning Justin,Ryan and I took the boat up river to do some bass fishing.My excuse for not catching any fish is I was trolling around cypress trees getting them into position.They each caught a few bass,one perch and a large catfish.We headed back to camp to awaken everyone else and we were greeted by Justin and Ryans father who made the trip down from Vermont.The afternoon went swiftly and towards evening I decided I needed to take a walk and clear my head.

Hopefully my new duck hunting spot

Ryan tagged along and we took a short drive up the WMA property to where I thought I might finally be able to find a flooded swamp area to duck hunt in.That's a lie,Ryan used his gps to help me find this damn swamp I haven't been able to find.It was a longer than expected walk but the area was excellent and I will be returning with waders to see how soft the bottom is.The night closed out with no incidents or injuries and Sunday morning we packed up and headed home.It was unfortunate that my two brothers were unable to make it but understandable.One has a new baby and the other had a work obligation.They were missed however there is and will be a next year.I'm already looking forward to Man Camp 2011.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm Not Done Yet

For anyone who periodically checks this blog,I haven't quit it yet.I know it's been almost two months since I have written or posted anything but I haven't forgotten.I'm in the process of buying or trying to buy a house.It has literally consumed all of my free time on and off the boat.I do have an offer in on a house and I hope it goes through so I can close before the end of the Summer.I have been able to do a little fishing this Spring with little success.The tugboating has slowly picked up and we are currently towing a barge up and down the East Coast.Look forward in the next few days to a catch up article and then I hope I can get back to posting around once a week.Thanks for sticking with me.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Risk Taker?

Who?This Guy?Not hardly!I have got to be one of the safest all around people in the world.Some might call it spineless,some might call it responsible,I call it safe.A few weeks ago after years of saving and months of planning I through my hat in the ring of home ownership.I learned more in the last two weeks than I learned in two years of asking everybody from Realtors to books.It's gone quite easy so far and I had the opportunity to put an offer on a house last minute but I didn't take the chance.The chance being that I would find a better,cheaper,newer,more to my liking house.I have only been looking at house for a few weeks,in person,and I find it hard to believe the one house I liked is the only one in my price range.So back to work I went hoping that over the next month the house wouldn't be sold,better yet maybe they will lower the price,that would be nice.

Upon arriving at work I noticed everyone seemed a little down,more than usual.This struck me as odd because the weather has finally broken on The East Coast and it truly was a glorious day.I was soon filled in that the Captain has made some outrageous claims involving everyone in the deck crew on this boat.So me being the not so level headed one,apparently chosen to lead this withered deck crew I went and had a "chat".This "chat",although less than pleasant,hammered out some problems that weren't really problems just bickers.One of the problems involved taking a slight risk by hanging over the side of the boat to reattach a tire chain that had broken off.Due to the size of the tire and it's location I quickly found out why it had yet to be repaired.It involved some trust,some strength and a whole lot of risk.Long story short the tire got fixed properly and I don't ever want to do it again.As far back as I can remember I have just never been a risk taker.I have no reason as to why I don't go travel the world or live in North Dakota or Canada with the North Americas best Waterfowl hunting.No reason why I don't leave the company I'm with besides I still feel like I owe them for giving me a chance a few years ago.I'm not sure if it was in the way I was raised or in my genes.I like excitement and I have definitely done some sketchy things in my life but I guess now that my life is good I can't afford injury or financial risk.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Let the Hunt Begin

I have come to a point in my life where I guess I need to grow up,on paper at least.I have worked myself to the bone over the last few years and saved my pennies in the hopes of buying a house.A few years ago I thought I would buy a ranch and a few hundred acres and be a cowboy.So I was a little off on that one,you can't blame me for dreaming.It comes down to the fact that,houses,maintenance,land,insurance isn't cheap and I'm not rich or anywhere near it.I have brought myself back to reality and improved my credit enough to get a decent home loan and trying to stay within a budget I should be able to get a nice little house with some peace and quiet.Even if I don't get a huge yard just knowing that I don't run the risk of someone stealing my house off it's foundation will be nice.Ten years in the ghetto and I think that's enough to last a lifetime.I don't intend on moving to far away from my stomping grounds.I honestly don't intend on moving out of southern Virginia just to the outskirts.The area is all I know and there are still a few places I think I may be able to settle down for a few years,until I hit the lottery and live out my drifting the West on horseback dream out.I know this house buying thing will get to me,I know I will get angry at myself for making stupid decisions at some point but only one way to learn is to do it.I don't have anyone to show me the way,just a few close relatives and friends with very helpful advice and a few priceless contacts.I go home tomorrow and next Monday it's on,let's do this,sorry just trying to sike myself up.

Monday, February 15, 2010

This Little Thing

It was a long time coming and maybe I lost my head a little along the way.My Merchant Mariner Credential upgrade finally went through and I'm none the worse over it.Seems that the wind was taken out of my sails along the way and looking back I should never have let that happen.Never accept what things are,anything can be changed.A simple to the point quote a captain told me the other day.I find myself playing musical boats over the last few weeks and I'm not complaining.The new MMD came in the mail in late December after I fulfilled the National Maritime recommendations.I didn't,pat myself on the back or anything along those lines.I told myself,this is just another rung on the ladder,keep climbing.So here I sit on the tug that turned my life around.After a few strange days dredging on a tug in the NYC harbor I was shifted to the tug that I went to Panama on.Funny thing is the crew on board was exactly the same guys I went to Panama with.I had never had a word with any of them in the last two years.Coming on board it was like I never left.The nicknames we had all given to each other and all the old jokes and pranks came back up.The camaraderie of this boat is how I imagined it would be five years ago when I decided to make a career in this line of work.I know there is a good chance this isn't a permanent boat change but it's nice to be back amongst some of the best American Merchant Seaman I have had a chance to work with.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Finishing off the Season the Right Way

Me and the brothers at Pinatail Point
A memorable hunt at the end of the season

The hometown road with a good coating of ice
This may be a bit difficult but I'll try.As many of you know I had my time off the boat and it was the last few weeks of waterfowl season.I tried to make the best of it.I missed the big push of migratory birds through my area in southern Virginia while I was on the boat.I honestly believe the birds were there when I got home a few weeks ago but they are relaxing on all the protected impoundments in the area.So as planned I headed up to Maryland to check out my brothers property on the Eastern Shore of Maryland he has hooked up for hunting.I couldn't possibly but together in words or pictures what we went through that 48 hours.No there was minimal alcohol intake and no one got hurt and broke anything.Just the experience of two waterfowlers who happen to be brothers and happen to have been given an opportunity to hunt some amazing property.The landowner and the few other hunt club members we met were a good bunch of guys and treated us as welcome.Everything from trying to get a 1/2 mile down the beach in a six wheeler with 4 inch ice rafts washed up on the beach to eating a damn good grilled steak when the "lodge" was temperature was still in the thirties.Ever try washing your hands with frozen dawn?Anyway as I said I can't explain what went down in words just that I really look forward to doing it again.I know next year will be different but if it's anywhere near this experience I won't miss it for the world.As my brother wrote on his blog we went to Pintail Point to complete the weekend and had a great time.His story will be better written then mine so read his blog for the details.I take the pictures he writes the stories it just works better that way.So leaving Pintail Point that Sunday my truck decided to throw a fit.

Long story short the truck broke down about sixty miles from home in the middle of the salt marsh.Thankfully my other brother was following me back down Virginia's Eastern Shore and helped me out with everything from getting a new battery to a ride home.Thanks again Nutty,I know that really sucked and I owe you one dude.Let's just say the next 24 hours were all bad.The truck got fixed five hundred dollars later,it was a forty dollar alternator fuse if you're wondering.Don't worry I have a brand new alternator,battery and serpentine belt now though!That entire situation now diffused I focused on the last few days of the Virginia waterfowl season.The weather was continually getting colder with a big storm forecast for the weekend.I finally hooked up with a fella that I know through another duck hunter,who is in Iraq, and our schedules finally came together for what will be a memorable hunt.I only ask for one good hunt a year and I got one this year.Going to one of "his" spots I found myself in the middle of Virginia duck heaven.Tucked into a random salt marsh only someone who drives the roads and waters everyday would know about.This is one of those spots I won't hunt again unless this good ol boy is with me.He found the spot and I respect it,I won't even tell anyone where it is.Setting up decoys with mallards and teal in the direct vicinity is an awesome feeling at 6 in the morning.Waiting for legal shooting time we had mallards literally swimming in the decoys.Some of the healthiest,prettiest birds I have ever seen in my area.A few hours later we were one mallard shy of our limit.A great shot and a great time,thanks Case.

So that storm I mentioned earlier in the write up,yeah it came.I watched the weather 5 days in advance thinking,if the snow will hold up until 8 am then I can go for a few hours.With only a two wheel drive truck and my hunting spots being thirty minutes away I was being a wuss.Sure call me what you want,I did plenty of hardcore idiotic things this waterfowl season that could have gotten me hurt or broken something.The evening before the hunt the weather man,the internet and everyone else in Southeast Virginia knew the snow would start around 3am.With around four inches on the ground by 8am.I didn't like those odds and even with the perfect "ducky" weather I called off the hunt.I just read what I wrote and I had to look at the ceiling,it hurts me to know that I missed one of the best hunting days in over five years.On the other hand my truck isn't at the bottom of the creek and I enjoyed the areas first major snowfall in over five years with some good people and a few to many beers.Hey I had to take my mind off of missing the hunt somehow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Slow Rode

Once again I have found my way to dry land.Once again I'm glad to be home and better yet it's still duck season.I had entirely to much to get done over the last few days so I have yet to put the boat in the water.I guess it's all part of being grown up,which I'm not a big fan of.So coupled with running around town for the last few days I have been preparing for this weekends get together with both of my brothers.The plan, which I have yet to completely figure out,is out of my hands.I have simply been told what to bring and where to be at what time.So as much as I wanted to get out this afternoon and try my new sea duck decoys I didn't make the time because it simply wasn't there.I decided to take the slow rode because next week the duck season comes to a close and I don't want to burn myself out.This all goes back to figuring out the reason I want to go hunting.Is it just to say I went hunting,if so then that's the wrong reason and I need to reevaluate how I spend my free time.This weekend should be fun even if the birds don't cooperate.The camera is packed amongst the 500 pounds of other gear so I hope I get some good shots and maybe a video or two.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Guess What it's Cold!

Sitting on the boat in NYC this time of year is a blessing and a curse.On one hand the scenery of the frozen boats is awesome and the work is generally easy,knock on wood.On the other hand I wish I was home duck hunting.Seriously any other time of year I don't mind being on the boat but this time of year kills me.I missed the bird migration last year and it seems I may miss it again this year.As I'm sure everyone on the East Coast has realized it's freaking cold out.I mean ridiculously cold for this time of year.During a recent conversation with my brother,Swamp Thing,I noticed that at this time last year we were hunting in zero degree temperatures in Maryland.Although the goose hunting was decent the ducks had all but bypassed the area and ended up in North Carolina and parts South.The same seems to be happening this year and it's frustrating to say the least.The past few weekends have either brought snow,gale force winds or both.With almost all of the mid Atlantic frozen the ducks have held fast but they won't for much longer.Only time will tell I suppose.This shouldn't be taken as complaining but more of an observation.In a few weeks I hope to be chasing waterfowl in Virginia and Maryland so hopefully I can make that happen.