Unfortunately, during today’s 5 hour downtime, we were not able to finish all planned data center maintenance procedures, and we plan to finish them on March 5th between the hours of 2:00 AM and 7:00 EST, so, there might be additional downtime. Again, sorry for any inconvenience.
This hunt was actually posted on the internet by my friend Chris and then I added to it. Rather than rewriting the report, I thought this would work and give the perspective of others on the hunt. I got a call from Sean (SCTC) earlier in the week for an invite on a duck hunt with a friend of ours Eric (honk hunter) and another friend, Ben, who I haven't seen in years. We did some scouting the evening before and saw what looked to be a good numbers of ducks, so we decided to give it a go. The ducks were considerably more spooky than the week before. We had countless singles, pairs, and small groups cup up and drop straight down, only to swing just wide and sit down out of range. It was frustrating to say the least. However, we were persistent and managed to get our fair share of birds into decoyable range. We finished with 27 mallards and one BEAUTIFUL bull can. All in all, it was an incredibly fun hunt and memorable in a variety of ways. My pup Abby made some nice retrieves and showed marked improvement from the beginning of the year. She is really starting to get things figured out. It is fun just to watch her progress and learn. Ben's dog Macy made one of the most amazing retrieves I've witnessed on a crippled greenhead. And Sean is one of the best shots I've ever hunted with. The dude can flat out shoot, plus he bagged a banded greenhead. Best of all was the BSing and having a few laughs. What I didn't know was the Sean has been waiting patiently for years to get a crack at a drake can to put on the wall. Needless to say, the can in the middle of our picture didn't fall to Sean's gun...I'll let Sean fill in the rest. One of the funniest moments I've ever had duck hunting. What a great group of guys to share a hunt - I don't know why they agreed to hang out with me all day but I would guess it had something to do with the prospects of lots of ducks. I was a little leery after my scouting efforts but Chris and Eric felt pretty confident when they checked the spot out later in the day. Chris, Eric and Ben are all truly dedicated waterfowlers. Chris has become an outstanding duck caller, one of the best I've heard and it no doubt contributed to our success. Getting the ducks attention was key with all the competition from other groups on this typical public hunt. I was glad he and Eric, who is quite good on the call as well, were able to cover up my pathetic attempts at mallard hen duplication. A huge bonus to the hunt was having Chris and Ben's dogs along. I'm a dog man and it was a pleasure to watch the results of the training Chris and Ben have done with their dogs. Both dogs sat on their stands and never said a peep or moved a muscle while ducks were working but once released they dove into action and worked hard to recover ducks for us. I have to agree with Chris on the awesome retrieve Macy (Ben's dog) made on a crippled mallard drake. It was one of those typical where the duck looks like it's down for good but comes alive as the dog approaches. Well, this duck motored across the pond about 250 - 300 yards with Macy in hot pursuit, then proceeded to dive 4 times and she hung with it and actually put her head under the water to grab the mallard drake on its 5th dive attempt and brought it all the way back. Truly amazing effort - you can train a dog to do a lot of things but you can't put that kind of desire in them. So how about some shots of these fine dogs? Here is Ben's dog, Macy, who weighs in at a svelt 91 pounds and is in her 2nd season at 16 months of age: (Pic’s attached) Here is Chris's dog, Abby, who is about half the size of Macy but is a rocket in the water. She is in her 1st season at about 8 mo's of age (if my memory is correct) and is well on her way to becoming a seasoned pro with the amount of time Chris spends with her: (Pic’s attached) Now about the drake Can, I can just now write about the tramatic experience. Earlier in the hunt a pair of divers flew by the outside of the decoys out of range and we all agreed it was a drake and hen canvasback. I made the statement after seeing them that if a mature drake can came by close enough that they would have to be pretty fast on the draw to beat me to shooting that duck as I've always wanted one for a mount. I could have never envisioned eating those words they way I had to later on. Ben has an older gun for waterfowling and it only shoots 2 3/4" so he is considering getting a different gun and I'm willing to sell my Beretta Xtrema so for some dumb reason late in the hunt, I handed my gun over to him to let him check it out. Well, I reached down behind me to get something out of my gear bag and I heard somebody say "duck", then "diver", then "drake can" and I turned around to look and saw the duck of my dreams take a direct turn outside the decoys and come directly towards us. With tears in my eyes and no gun in my hand, I said "shoot that duck" and Chris and Eric obliged with a nice overhead combo that dropped the king of divers within a foot of Eric's location in the standing water. I couldn't believe my eyes when Eric held the duck up - it was prime. Talk about mixed emotions - we had just taken a prime drake can on this hunt in the most unlikely place and I didn't shoot it. Now I know that sounds selfish but I had already called that duck out - it was mine, right? I had my gun within reach at all times throughout the day and the one minute....Well, the guys sure had a good laugh at my expense on that one. It will be a story we will tell for years to come - one of those memory makers. Here's some poor attempts to show off the duck (I just couldn't get the lighting right to truly show off its beauty): (Pic attached) The banded mallard drake was interesting. I think all of us had a crack at him and missed and I was just lucky enough to get him before he got out of range with my 2nd shot. He could have easily got away and we would have never known the difference. In some fairness, I was due for one considering the average number of mallards taken per band had been surpassed quite some time ago. At the end of the day, it's just a band and I enjoy seeing others collect them just as much as myself but it was my lucky day. Thanks Chris and Abby for making sure he didn't get away. The preliminary info on the mallard drake is he was banded in Alberta on 8/22/08. I was pretty sure he wasn't a baby as you can see from the picture: (Pic attached) 1797 Series is a first for me. This made duck band #17 over about 20 years of waterfowling in WA state so close to one a year. (Pic attached) It's been one of, if not the best waterfowl season I've experienced so far and this hunt added to the memories of a great 2010 season.