Thursday, October 29, 2009
My deer camera is about the only thing having some success...
Being limited to my hunting possibilities by choice is tough enough, but not being able to participate on the days you intend makes for one frustrated Downeast Duck Hunter...
I did manage to get out on October 2nd and 3rd with the Maine Outdoorsman for some freshwater action, but I'm not a freshwater duck hunter. The only chance I've had was Columbus Day weekend, Monday October 12th to be precise. And that day happened because a break in the weather opened up a mid-day opportunity (which usually doesn't result in many ducks)...
So here I sit stewing about the weather again as the National Weather Service has provided me with again such great news:
COASTAL WATERS FORECAST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CARIBOU ME
1002 AM EDT THU OCT 29 2009
SYNOPSIS FOR EASTPORT ME TO STONINGTON ME OUT 25 NM
HIGH PRES WILL CROSS THE WATERS THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT. THE
HIGH WILL MOVE SE OF THE WATERS ON FRI. A STRONG COLD FRONT WILL
APPROACH FRI NIGHT AND SAT AND MOVE ACROSS THE WATERS SAT NIGHT.
HIGH PRES WILL RETURN EARLY NEXT WEEK.
SW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT...INCREASING TO 20 TO 25 KT
AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 2 TO 3 FT...BUILDING TO 3 TO 5 FT AFTER
SW WINDS 20 TO 25 KT...INCREASING TO 25 TO 30 KT IN THE
AFTERNOON. SEAS 4 TO 7 FT...BUILDING TO 6 TO 9 FT IN THE
Translation, this stinks...
It has seemed that every potential Saturday has had either a serious small craft advisory or gale warning affixed to it. So for the man who loves his sea ducking, I've got three eiders to my season total (2 drakes and one hen). The split for all other ducks started on Saturday and won't open back up until November 9th so I'm out of luck. It's been a bad October for sea duck hunting, I hope November and a few vacation days makes up for the withdrawals turning me inside out.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Upon the rouse to vigilance and action by the Duck Hammer, I felt horrible. The kind of awful when you wish your least favorite person in the world shared your symptoms. There would be no whining in front of the DuckPower Jester, nor would I even let out an inkling of my pain and suffering. But it's true, I had come down with a cold attacking my throat and sinuses. Fortunately, I had a few extra Zyrtec and some Afrin to hide my anguish. For somebody who doesn't get sick often, a few days sooner or later would have been a more pleasant demise. My day, however, would not be compromised on the account of illness.
The water level compared to last year was down quite a bit and I was able to shimmy across to the marsh point where the blind “Quack Head” hid in masterfully concealed coverture. Steve manned the boat and brought it around to give MoJo, the flying decoy, life before our witching hour could begin. Upon his return, we sorted out the little stuff and hunkered down for the first flight.
It didn't take long for us to unleash the cannons of dismay, but our first ordnance failed with great surprise. The small flock of teal continued on their way as if not one shot had been fired, however I did manage to snipe a low flyer moving right to left just after our trigger happy blunder. Steve was quite impressed with that shot, but it honestly was no different than the bulk of the sea ducks I take. Low flying without lift is immensely different than the actions of these inland birds. I still thanked Steve and eagerly watched as Onyx began the retrieve of my first ever teal.
As any duck hunter knows, much action took place between the timing of Onyx's retrieve. As an expert in arithmetic, I figure approximately 187 ducks must have flown directly over the decoys. That might have been a mild exaggeration, but it did seem a little “duck” wild. Quickly thereafter, Steve and I each scored a scaup duck, ring necks to be more precise. So for my earliest trigger pulls, I had two types of waterfowl that were brand new to my taking.
A few later mallards fell prey, and we quickly watched the morning dissipate. The lake would render no more birds and we opted to better amend base camp. Plus the Duck Hammer was suggesting he would head back home to get a few more amenities. It would seem that mid-day on the island would be only mine to share.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The Rabid Outdoorsman Leads the Way
It didn't take long for my esteemed and pathological prankster friend to add insult to injury. The truck came to a screeching halt and a jubilant individual remembered the other part of his targeted plan. Since today was opening day and a Thursday, I had forgone this sacred opener to attend the weekend Duckpower conference in Central Maine. However, my buddy had in fact already hunted out of the same blind we would be attending for the next two days. He had to show me his quarry which consisted of two wood ducks (a duck that I have always wanted to take). As hurt as one may think I was, I just shook my head as the proud hunter put the mature drake into the freezer for taxidermy purposes while we were to enjoy the other as part of our fare that evening.
We reached the landing in no time and quickly put the foldable boat into the water. It was here that I got my first step in the super magnum ultra camo super cool waders (too cool for commas). To be brutally honest, it was a great feeling to go crotch deep and not get wet. Oh my god, that just sounded like a condom advertisement. I can see it now...
The Downeast Duck Hunter, “For full protection, I recommend the super magnum ultra camo super cool waders... Keeps the cold out and the heat in...”
Anyways, back to the story...
The sail out brought back so many memories of just one year ago, the foliage seemed identical in it's wondrous oranges, yellows, and reds. An absent wind left the still reflection of all colors in a kaleidoscope of intrigue. This was where I needed to be, for a moment in time I had forgotten the anxiousness that everyday life brings. As we motored towards our destination, several groups of our kind were hidden in the brush, grass, and trees along the shores of this paradise each in high hopes of harnessing one final shot before dusk beat the daylight.
Our race against light meant distributing the decoys in the proper avenue dictated by our most recent weather forecast, setting up the basic amenities of camp, and Steve making another trip back to the landing to acquire his four legged allergy machine. Stuffiness had already taken it's toll and even though I love water dogs, my body seems to tell me that one isn't in my future.
Once all was best prepared, the evening festivities begun. The meal would consist of a chili concoction of sharp cheddar cheese, added tabasco sauce, and other spices I would rather leave at the supermarket. But it did smell so good and the stomach was not happy that I had just invested in a three hour trip with no stops. The chili was devoured without hesitation and the wood duck was roasted over the open fire. Over the years, I have found that there exists no better substitute for cooking wild game than the efforts served by a generous flame. One difference between Steve and I is that he prefers his take a tad more raw while I enjoy a more medium prize with a charred exterior. But let me tell you this, I would have taken that duck over any top restaurant steak. Plus I had hoped the duck would have been a good buffering agent to the atomic agent Steve called chili. Actually, I would be more inclined to name it Chili Con Carnage...
As the clouds proceeded overhead and the darkness beat the light, we rested around the campfire chatting about anything and everything. This time spent with a great friend makes a good hunt great. We hammered out a few of the world's problems, reflected upon a few of our own, and provoked some potential aspirations out of each other as we continue our trek as experienced outdoorsman...
Even though my dear friend has and will constantly look for an avenue to shatter my personal well being through harassment and sinister actions, Steve and I share a friendship based on honesty, respect, and support. Our words on these hunts look for improvement, positive angles, and dreams. Although reality often acts as our ground, we never let the negativity of life dictate or negate the experience.
After some Youtube entertainment and browsing Facebook on the traditionalist's Blackberry, we elected to call it a night. Opening light would be five hours in time...
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
First ever female blue winged teal...
The 2nd annual season opener in central Maine proved to be quite the trip, as it exceeded the success of year one and proved to be one great time. For a salty sea ducker like myself, I have found one great appreciation in the pursuit of different waterfowl.
Once again, my great friend Steve effectively illustrated his continued development of duck calling, mastery of training a house dog into a gem of a water dog, and his never ending pursuit of material that could be potentially damaging to my reputation as a beacon of greatness in the duck hunting world. With that said, let me begin the tale of how two men of different and similar directions maximum the opportunities while attempting to minimize the damage.
Part One: You are a DUCK WAD!!!
Duck Wad (n): a fellow duck hunter and friend who relishes the opportunity to mess with other members of his triad...
I should have known better, but I was sort of excited. After constantly checking the U.S. Post Office confirmation number from Cabelas, my voyage to central Maine included a brand new set of super waders with more gadgets than the Batman’s belt. They had been received at my post office at 8:38 and the box rested unopened in the passenger’s seat. They would be opened at Steve’s house, there would be no time to complete the official fitting for this technological weapon of duck warfare. Leak or no leak, I would be putting the test directly in the field, or lake if you will.
After 2:45 minutes of driving, I ripped into Steve’s driveway anticipating some sort of welcoming committee. Last year I was met with excitement from all family members as your truly had made a most impressive visit, however my hopes and dreams of appreciation were incinerated with a silent and lackluster reception. As I neared the basement door of my buddy’s abode completely decked out in some super cool waterfowling apparel, I thought maybe Steve was frantically working to finish some very important details to speed our departure to our campsite.
Having stood by the door for what seemed to be at least fifteen minutes, I finally noticed someone meander down the steps and approach the door in just a set of thermal underwear. It would seem as if someone was running a bit behind. Needless to say, the grandeur of my arrival was lackluster and desolate; there I stood with my package that beneath the plastic shipping wrap was a set of waders that would set me light years ahead of my clan in terms of duck hunting fashion. This moment didn't have the shine and bling of last year.
Steve took the box and invited me in, I told him to get started on opening the package as I had to find the restroom. After doing my business, aggravating his wife & kids, and shuttling down the steps, there stood Steve looking honestly stumped at a pair of waders that were a tad earthern and only 600 grams of insulation. His only comment was, “dude, I think they made a mistake or someone made a rip-off return”. My heart sunk seriously, all the excitement I had since my order on Monday to the official delivery on Thursday had deflated like a balloon pricked by a needle.
Then he smiled and handed me the unwrapped but unopen box of waders. I had been had, fallen prey to the self-righteous comic of pain and suffering. My response was bitter-sweet as I got a tickle out of Steve’s quick thinking but knew this was only the beginning of a camping trip full of predatory follies. The waders got a quick fitting and I walked out the door while the Maine Outdoorsman maintained a grin that reeked of bathroom demise.
We got the remainder of the gear into the back of the truck and rolled down the driveway to the landing just down the road... My good friend is a “duck wad”...
Next entry- Chili Con Carnage...
Saturday, October 3, 2009
If any of you read both the Maine Outdoorsman and my blog, then you may know that these two birds are of the same feather. There are many reasons why we fly in the same flock, and our slight humor cast upon each other only adds to the trouble. Nevertheless, let me plagerize some of Rabid's quotes from one of his most recent posts. This was from his well tuned work, "Mr. President"...
Perhaps even more nerve wracking than my mental fatigue from my fitful evenings is the physical exhaustion I am suffering as I prepare the estate for a visit from the Honorable Potentate and Grand Puba . . . the most admirable and exalted President of Duck Power Incorporated. Yes folks, none other than the DuckMan will be joining me for the 2009/10 waterfowl opener.
Translation: I'm pretty cool...
As I await the arrival of Mr. President, I begin to go over the checklist to insure every detail no matter how small has been rightly accounted.
Reality Check: Rabid's gear was already packed and he shot two wood ducks on opening day out of the very same blind we shared for the last two days...
I drill the children with the proper sounds made by Mallards, Teal and Wood Ducks and insure they are holding their popguns with the “dangerous end” pointing in a safe direction.
Lots of laughs: His littlest one looked at me as if I was a serial killer and his oldest ran out of the room...
Hurriedly, I grab for the camouflage (Max 4 Adv.) carpet and unfurl it to the door of Mr. President’s transport. I take a deep breath and wait for the inspection to begin.
Just an FYI: The only welcome I got was a scruffy old mat and a locked door...
Wish me luck!!
Stay tuned for our two day opener!!!