Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wood Duck Take 2

Hard to beat a morning like this

There is something to be said about showing up for a waterfowl hunt with just my gun,blind bag and waders.It RULES!It isn't very often that I get a quality invite so I have to go when I get the chance.If for nothing else at least for the knowledge of how other waterfowlers "run" the show.We all do things a little different and we all hope for the same outcome,birds in the boat.So the second day of the four day split took me to the upper blackwater river.As I like to call it where the river meets the swamp.After a quick meeting at the local store,doughnuts and coffee are necessary,my new hunting partner and I were on our way.With his local knowledge we ended up at a "ramp" that I would never put my boat in.Like a pro he had the boat in the water before I had my waders on,I needed to step up my game.I jumped in the boat and the sea smoke was immediately a problem.I'm not sure when the last time you went on a 5 am boat ride in the marsh but it's dark.Add some sea smoke and you get a black wall,no matter what kind of 70 dollar spot light you have,go me.It was an interesting ride to say the least but we made it to the spot and hunkered down for first light.

As we sat next t our chosen cypress trees sipping coffee we talked,chuckled and listened to the swamp.This my friends is my favorite time of day.Not just to be hunting but to be on the water,any water before most critters wake up.You almost always hear them before you see them and the wood ducks were no exception.It sounded like a group of puppies.The whining,chuckling mixed in with other swampy sounds I will admit was a bit spooky.A few minutes before first light my partner decided he didn't want to ruin this spot shooting at one or two birds.We were going to let first light ride out and try to get a shot at a group of four or more woodies.Then it happens in a flash.Remember we have snuck into the swamp,a part I had never visited,way before first light.So I really had no idea what ,my surroundings looked like.The light starts showing you plants,trees,vines,flowers you had no idea you were sitting nest to.The birds start flying and the shriek of the wood duck grew loud,quick.We were quickly buzzed by several singles but held our shots as we had discussed.Every waterfowler knows the first 15 minutes of shooting light are always your best chance to get a shot.This is even more so with wood ducks,they simply do not fly unless pressured to do so after the first hour of daylight.So we had our chances and we let them go,this is what I call pay it forward.After the morning flight we discussed our options.Bottom line was,enjoy the scenery and hope.

Seven years and this is what it's all about to me

Wood ducks fly fast,like jet fighter fast.That is if a jet fighter could weave through the trees less than a foot of the ground.So my buddy decided he would take a ride up into the swamp and check it out for future reference.Left alone on my ten foot island of mush I poured my last cup of coffee.I put my gun down and I laughed.Thinking the crap i have put myself to trying to down a single drake wood years on and off,missed shots,opportunities etc.On the verge of giving up a few years ago all the way to not having time off to even try.I stood up,looked down stream and then I saw it.Coming around the corner,side to me,white belly showing.So I did what any good duck hunter would do,I downed that bird.A few minutes later when the boat returned to Cypress Island we went over and grabbed the downed woodie.Now it's been no secret how mush the drake wood duck has eluded me.It's also no secret I have been planning to get my first drake woodie stuffed.Unfortunately when I dispatched the bird with one shot of my mossberg 935 it fell stone dead,in a mud puddle.Then it sat there until the boat returned so I could go get it.So getting a mud and blood stained bird stuffed wasn't the best option.The bird has been cleaned and is in the freezer for later eating.So that was it,one silly little bird.Seven years of trying and hoping and I had a smile on my face all day.I had accomplished more than one goal early in the season.I have met what will hopefully become some great local hunting partners and I downed a drake wood duck.This season may be short for me with my work schedule but it's looking better all the time.Bring on the cold weather!


The Reverend Fowl ™ said...

Great job bagging the Wood Duck. People in other countries admire the American Wood Duck as one of the most beautiful birds in the world. I am hoping to put together a small bag of only Wood Duck decoys for the early season. P.S.-Are you going to write about the Jerk Rig?

tugboatdude said...

yup I have a jerk rig review in the making.I have only had one opportunity to use it.I'm hoping within the next month to get a good write up and hopefully some positive results from it.Our season is closed until November 19th but I assure you it's coming.

tugboatdude said...

thanks for reading AND paying attention REV!

DirteJp said...

Hey Tug. Awesome wood duck hunt story man! You've gotta love those quiet mornings on the water. This past Saturday morning I was squirrel hunting in Chesapeake out near the swamp and got to watch 3 woodies on a near by pond. They only hung out for 30 minutes or so. I just hope they are still around come Nov. 19th.