Ever since I took Ryan, my 10 year old, on his first goose hunt back in October he's been asking me to take him duck hunting. So Saturday the conditions seemed right to take him along, it was sunny, not to cold and no real wind to speak of. We loaded up the boat with decoys, dog and Ryan and we were off for an afternoon hunt.

We get to the shore and I put the young fella to work taking the blind bags /seats into the bushes as I I rush to get the decoys set up as we had pushed some ducks up heading to our location and wanted to take advantage of them in the air before they decided to settle down somewhere else.

Things started off slow, probably a half hour before the first bird entered the spread. I got fumbled up in the grass when I shouldered the gun and couldn't see my bead so I didn't pull the trigger. A few minutes later a widgeon entered the spread and one shot later Skadi was out retrieving her first bird. Ryan wasn't far behind the dog waiting for her to hit the shore with the bird. We got settled back in and not to long afterward we had another widgeon come into the spread and did a reenactment of the first one.

Things were pretty quiet as we lounged in the sunshine and I heard something landing in the water. I could see one bird through the grass so I slowly got into shooting position and shot the first bird as it was leaving the water and a quick follow up on a second I didn't know was there. The bird kept flying so I followed with a third shot and the bird sputtered as it was flying away, I knew it was hit but thought I was going to have to chase it down with the boat when it fell stone dead about 75 yards out from the blind and about 25 yards high at this point. Dog didn't see it at first so I ended up wading out with her until we were about half way to the bird and I saw she was locked on. I went back to retrieve the one that was closer to our hiding position. Waiting on the dog to come back from her retrieve, and had both birds in hand, I was nicely surprised to have two nice fully plumed Drake green wing Teal!

We settled back in until we heard some shots in the distance from our right and when I looked over there was a flock of Mallards heading in our direction. A Drake and a hen peeled off from the flock and came into the decoy spread. I cut the drake and could have easily taken the hen as well but I let the hen go. I have nothing against shooting hen's but with Mallards I try and resist if at all possible. I'd like to see the mallard population in my area keep growing.

As we collected the drake mallard the dog had just brought back to shore, I noticed another Drake mallard coming off the water and circling on my left heading behind me. I had the 12 gauge with me today and the drake was in the 25-30 yard range so I gave it a poke. I saw a puff of feathers and knew I hit him. He was still mobile and looked like he had a lot of life still in him, I was dreading the search once if finally hit the ground as by this time he was behind us and no longer over water. What happened next I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't of see it with my two eyes. The drake decided to make a bigger circle and flew from left to right out past the decoys and coming back in to wards land and crashing in the water at the shoreline about 40 yards to my right. I couldn't see him as he landed right against the jaged shore line. I reloaded the shotgun, making sure the safety was on, and headed off with the gun at the ready as I walk the shore line where I has last seen the bird. When we get to where he was he was stone dead on the water. He was a dead duck and didn't realize it. This seems to be a common occurrence with steel shot I've found and why a good dog is worth its weight in gold.

By the time we make it back to blind and settled in again Ryan's phone had died. He asked me "what time did you say we were going home?" I replied when I have a limit of ducks or 1/2 hour after sunset what ever comes first lol. I knew his attention span was getting short so I wasn't holding back from here on in and shooting what ever came in first. Maybe 20 minutes later a pair of widgeon made it into the spread and two shots later another double for the day. I said there we go, time to start packing things. you collect everything from our hide and take it near the shore and I'll go collect the decoys up.

It was only a 3 hour hunt but to him it was an all day excursion. I'm glad it played out like it did and it wasn't slow and he enjoyed his time in the blind with me. I think he wanted to spend some one on one time with me and less focused on the ducks but that's fine with me as well. He said he's interested in doing to core course in the spring so we shall see how that all plays out.