Sunday, October 11, 2015

No Place like the Wood Duck Swamp

It's a crisp 50 degrees, there isn't much cloud cover, and the breeze is practically nonexistent. Certainly not prime conditions, but we'll take it.  We get Skynryd's "Swamp Music" on the stereo in the truck on the way out there, out to the public flooded timber.  It's a nice easy drive, the cool pre-sunrise dawn whipping through the cab.

It's a weekday, opening day of the "wood duck season," October 7 through 10, and there's already two trucks pulled up when Edwin and I get to where we're going, even though we're more than plenty early.  We throw on our waders, grab the guns and a few decoys and walk down the dike.  Those guys are where we wanted to go.  So we walk back to our plan C spot, through the muddy water, through duck weed,  over one log then another then another.  We set up - throwing out the wood duck decoys, setting up the MOJO duck -  and we post up against some brush, tucked back.  We hope the ducks won't see us until it's too late.

We sit and we wait.  We wait and we wait for what feels like forever and then the season opens with volley of shotgun blasts right at 6:45, legal shooting time.  Sounds like the guys down the way got a few.  We hear the wheeeeeeek wheeeeek of the wood ducks hurtling through the trees, flying down the creeks, and sure enough two beating specks appear in the distance, and we watch them, but they circle and drop down deep in the trees before they get to where we are.  No shots.  They're safe, for now, in their morning search for food.  But as soon as that pair drops, a single weaves in, closer and closer and closer.  And then it's shotgun to shoulder, cheek flush with the stock, bead on the muzzle leading the bird, and both of us shoot.  The drake woodrow falls, landing with a splash.  That's beauty right there.

We weren't where most of the birds were flying, the shots we got weren't the easiest, and we might've had a few whiffs,  but it sure was good clean fun.  The smell of burnt power in the morning air, and the swamp slowly waking up from its nightly slumber.  What a great way to start the day, out in the swamp before class.

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