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Thread: Took one for the team

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Took one for the team

    My alarm clock went off at 5 AM and it was blowing and raining like crazy. I figured I'd give it a few hours and concentrate on collecting my gear together. I head out the back door towards my garage in sweat pants, fleece jacket, and a pair of crocks missing the straps in the back. I fumble my way with the light from my phone down the path that the dog has warn out on the back lawn down a little hill to the garage.

    Then all hell breaks lose, I lose my footing and my feet are now higher then my head, my left croc goes flying in the air and I come down flat on my back into a pile of blackberry thorns. while my back end is now laying into the trail soaked in mud. Luckily I still had my phone and was able to relocate my missing croc.

    I go back into the house and change out of my wet clothes and decide to wait until daylight before I go back out as the wind was way to strong for any attempt in the momarsh.

    Around 9 AM the rain has stopped so has the wind. I collect all my stuff and Skadi and I head out for an afternoon hunt.

    I'm glassing the shoreline as I make my way in to make sure I wasn't going to interrupt any other hunters who were already set up. I was surprised at the lack of birds on the way in as a few weeks earlier there was a fair raft of widgeon that had migrated in. As we get closer to shore where I was thinking to set up I noticed something white along the shore. I thought it was a dead duck at first but then I noticed it's head was still up. We pulled the boat a shore, I loaded my gun, and I sent the dog in for an intercept course as she hadn't noticed it at this point.

    She walked right up to it, picked it up and walked it back to me without as much as a flail. The poor thing was on it's last leg I believe. It was a beautiful drake widgeon, It had a busted wing close to the breast and the opposite foot was almost shot off. I dispatched the bird, placed it in the boat and counted it against my limit for the day. At least it was found and dispatched so it wasn't suffering anymore.

    We placed the decoys out, I had a mixture of mallards, widgeon, pintails in the spread. Separating the groups just incase it made any difference to the birds with some strategic landing holes within the spread. The dog and I hunkered down but things were pretty slow starting out. Then out of nowhere a drake widgeon cups its wings and fully commits to the spread. I don't know if the birds are coloring up or if there was new birds migrating through but the widgeons have a lot more white on the wings now as well as the top of the heads.

    Over the next 3 1/2 hours we picked through the birds one by one targeting the drakes as they came into the spread and letting the hens go free. I had to remind myself a couple of times "don't shoot more then 7 today, you already have the cripple in the boat you picked up". We had hen mallards and teal land within the spread but I tied my best not sway away from shooting only drakes today. I was taking my chances of not finishing my limit for holding out for mallard and widgeon drakes and I was fine with that. It's not all about how many birds you shoot, but also about the experience and time away from it all. I used to feel lonely hunting by myself, but I have to admit when life gets busy and you get a chance to get away from it all for an afternoon it's actually quite peaceful and refreshing just to be out there with your dog.

    Bird number six sailed straight out from the decoy spread and fell stone dead a good 100 yards or more from the shore. The dog unfortunately didn't see it fall. I tried to line her up on it but because I've been dropping the birds 99% of the time into the decoy spread I couldn't get her to take a mark on where the bird went down and she was focusing on the decoy spread instead.

    Instead of getting frustrated with her and trying to get her to do something I hadn't trained her to do at this point. I gave up on trying to line her up and started prepping the boat to make the retrieve. I just took the netting off the motor and started pulling in the anchor when I noticed the dog wasn't exploring the shore line like she usually does when we aren't hunkered down. I figured she had gone into the bushes to do her thing.

    I look back to the water to get my bearings on where the duck had fallen so I wouldn't lose track of where it was. I see a seal where the bird was and thought great all that effort and an "F"ing seal took my bird. I took a second look and couldn't believe my eyes, that's not a seal, it's Skadi with the duck in her mouth on her way back !!! I was floored to say the least. I was soooo proud of her, my heart was busting with joy and pride. It was the last thing I would have expected from the lack of training she has received, all my fault as well. I didn't give her enough credit and I didn't believe she had enough drive to keep looking for the bird. I was so impressed with her for not giving up on the retrieve even though she hadn't seen it fall. Usually when a young dog doesn't see the bird hit the water they have a hard time believing something is out there. I do make it a habit of saying "dead bird" before I give her the command to "fetch" so it must be sinking in there. She's received a tone of experience in the past 5 weeks or so as we get out there and spend the time in the field without the pressure of worrying about messing someone else's hunt. She's not perfect by any means but she's managed to retrieve 100% of the birds I've sent her on so far this fall.

    OK so we now have 7 drakes in the boat, 4 widgeon and 3 mallards so far. The sun is getting low and I'm getting fidgety. I have two hen mallards land in the decoys and I'm thinking "If I pop one of these two we can pick up and head home" then 3 teal land in the decoys. 'Maybe I should just take one of these and call it a day" but they are all hens. I decide to wait it out and not 20 minutes later there are 3 mallards flying right to left on the outskirt of the spread 25 yards out. The drake is in the lead and below the two hens. I stretch the lead out as far as I can to get a head shot with a load of #3's and fold the drake over the decoys as the hens keeps going untouched. What a way to end the afternoon hunt.

    I now have 30 minutes before sunset so I lay the ducks out of the boat for a pic. I set the dog behind the boat and her facing the decoys. As I was taking the picture I had a pair of widgeon landing in the spread and why her eyes look so intense lol.

    Another great afternoon spent on the marsh with the dog and another good feed of ducks with good friends!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2022
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    1,076

    Re: Took one for the team

    Beaut!!
    Very interesting journey!
    Those dam crocs and any form of wetness do not make good friends, lol.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2022
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    1,157

    Re: Took one for the team

    great report tfs
    Glad to say I have hunted Northern BC

    Simon Fraser had pretty good judgement on what he found in BC

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    1,003

    Re: Took one for the team

    What a wonderful day you had! Love the story and good for Skadi

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    45

    Re: Took one for the team

    Great post, thanks for sharing.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    BC
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    Re: Took one for the team

    That is pretty sweet!! That's a good haul
    My Video Camera = Panasonic HDC-SD90

    My youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/markt308

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    North Island
    Posts
    120

    Re: Took one for the team

    Thanks for the write up. Bloody crocs on any wet incline are dangerous.

  9. #8
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    Oct 2003
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    Re: Took one for the team

    Quote Originally Posted by markt308 View Post
    That is pretty sweet!! That's a good haul
    Thanks Mark! It’s turning into an awesome season for the dog and I doing it solo together!
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  10. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Re: Took one for the team

    Quote Originally Posted by BowsUp View Post
    Thanks for the write up. Bloody crocs on any wet incline are dangerous.
    I was telling my partner I need to get rid of the crocs before I really hurt myself. The funny thing is after the hunt and I took my waders off and peeled my socks off, my middle toe on the opposite foot was purple. Some how in the drop spin and roll I managed to torque my toes inside the crocs. Two days later I could barely walk on that same foot.
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  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Re: Took one for the team

    Quote Originally Posted by silveragent View Post
    What a wonderful day you had! Love the story and good for Skadi
    We’ve been having some amazing hunts this fall. I had forgotten how deadly the Momarsh can be for getting you where the birds want to be and well hidden.

    I had forgotten to mention I switched up from using the 20 gage to the 12 gauge for the past two hunts. I still have some old shells that I bought in bulk that were manufactured 17 years ago. There was a store getting out of hunting stuff and they were offloading 3 1/2 inch shells for $7 a box I believe they were. The same box is over $50 today. I picked them up around 2014 I believe. The past two hunts I’ve been mainly using 1 3/8 oz #3’s lol. My pellet count almost doubled from what was coming out of the 20 gauge. The twenty gauge helped me hone my lead as I was surprised the ducks I shot the past two times out weren’t all shot up so I’m still targeting the head area.
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