Friday, November 28, 2008

Still on a roll...


My eyes rolled open about 45 minutes before the alarm was to go off, and I wasn't about to try to sleep anymore. So I snuck out of the bedroom and fired up the coffee pot as I checked the laptop for the weather. It didn't take long to discover that the wind forecasted for today was virtually nonexistent and I started to kick myself for not having my sea ducking gear ready. Slightly perturbed, I gulped down the brewed coffee and called my partner for the day. Before I continue with the sequence of today, let me introduce the "Mouse"...


Mouse

Mouse is a former student of mine and an ever aspiring hunter in the works. You see his father spent an abundance of time with him as a youngster hunting and fishing but when Mouse was in junior high, cancer robbed him of his dad. So over the past several years, Mouse has continually searched for anybody who would take him hunting or at least show him how to hunt successfully. I won't say I've taken him under my wing, but maintain a steady relationship that relies on training, discussion, and practice. He's a good kid and believe that he truly appreciates every second out in the field with people who care about showing him the ins and outs of hunting....

We met at 5:30 a.m. and quickly moved our gear down onto the flats. For today, we would be gunning a spot called the yellow rocks and since the tide has just started to flood it would be an excellent opportunity to get a daylight black duck or mallard coming into the freshwater drain where we hid silently. When you are hunting coastal areas in Maine with two high and two low tides a day, you realize that timing becomes everything as you pursue certain types of waterfowl. Our concealment would be in satisfactory unison with the flood tides edge and legal shooting time. In the midst of everything so perfect, it would still be a one shot deal and I told Mouse that he better be ready for the ducks would not return after we offered a volley on the mud flats of the bay...



As legal shooting came closer and closer, I dabbled with the call and received an abundance of replies. Then we could hear the wind behind some desperate waterfowl as they were trying to locate our position in the dark. I told Mouse it wouldn't be long and right at legal shooting, two mallards hit the drain just to our right. Mouse was handcuffed by the rock we hid behind, but I was in perfect condition. I nudged him and got the go ahead from him which led to a quick shot from my Remington 870. One lifted into the sky as the other remained in the drain, I got up immediately to retrieve the duck but realized that once I started into the drain, the duck took off into the sky. There I stood with no shotgun and a long gone bird, that was discouraging...

But that one shot lifted not just those two ducks into the sky, but apparently every black and mallard in the bay as they were circling our spread and searching for a safe haven. For those that decided our locale was safe didn't choose well, as we watched a number of ducks land in the same location as the previous two. We touched off the 12 gauges and I knew that my shot yielded a duck, but then asked Mouse about his take. His reply was, "I don't think I got any". And sure enough, all we had for our early morning was one beautiful drake black duck. Knowing that this morning was a one shot deal, we packed up, returned to the trucks, and went to his house...

We decided to check another ambush spot called the Iron Mine, but I let him sneak in as I found a rock ledge to hide behind overlooking Eastern Bay. I figured that he deserved another chance, plus if it were a mallard then I could potentially get a chance if he drove out any birds. As I looked out across the bay, the amount of buffleheads, mergansers, old squaws, and surf scoters surprised me. If the weather holds true to the forecast, I just may find myself gunning in this area tomorrow...



Once Mouse returned, we took a couple of pictures and returned to my house. Although discouraged by not taking a duck, he seemed quite elated that I offered the black duck to him in appreciation of he taking the time to help me set up. He'll call me several times today about how we dressed the bird, how to bake it, and how great it tasted. I've already planned for us to go sea ducking in a couple of weeks as my boat seems scheduled until Christmas, but when I do call him be rest assured that he'll drop everything and anything to be hunting with me...


I hadn't used my 870 for quite some time, my father gave it to me for my 12th birthday and I've added the synthetic black stock and forend two years ago...

So for sharing my day with the Mouse, I'll chalk it up as a great success and my Thanksgiving break continues to bring about much enjoyment and opportunity...

3 comments:

Roger said...

Great blog, I host a trip to Argentina a few times a year in the best season get some friends and come with me. You can check out my rates (which are 1/3 lower than the other guys)

www.ArgentinaBirdMan.com

tugboatdude said...

DEDH that's awesome that you are helping to get someone into hunting.I know you are a teacher and I would think that on your vacation the last thing you would want to do is hang out with young adults.You are a dedicated man.

The Rabid Outdoorsman said...

Lovin that Black Duck picture.

TBD, Don't let Tony fool you, he isn't interested in hanging out with young adult. His only interest is enlisting more soldiers in his personal war (vendetta) against all things duck.

Kidding of course DM . . . nice job on introducing youngins to the sport.