Sometimes you “hit it” … sometimes you don’t. That’s just the name of the game when it comes to hunting, whether it be birds or bucks. This weekend I didn’t quite hit it in the waterfowl world.
With record duck numbers, I expected to have a banner opening weekend on one of my favorite north-central Minnesota duck sloughs. That wasn’t the case. In fact, I saw less ducks Saturday and Sunday than I have in the past 5 years of opening-morning hunts.
The culprit? I have no idea. My only hunch is that the water quality of the slough has degraded too much from all the “waste” that the resident beef cattle continue to deposit. Thoughts? Ideas? Insight? Leave your comments in the box below. It’s also possible that our good-luck streak for that opening-morning gem has simply faded.
Reports filtered in throughout the weekend from friends hunting 45 minutes north of me, and they were hittin’ it. Text messages flew my way with stories of limits upon limits—the banner opener I’d hoped for. I only shot a half-dozen ducks all weekend.
The first morning, three blue-winged teal dive-bombed my decoys and landed before I could even grip my gun. I stood up. Nothing. I waved my arms. Nothing. I yelled at them. Nothing. I finally shot one on the water (say what you will)—but only one of the remaining two got up, which I then dropped from the air. The third bird stayed put. I shook my head, then decided to let the foolish bird add life to my decoys for the next hour. Eventually, it got up for no apparent reason and flew away. I was daydreaming about granola bars, but was able to get two shots off as his wings beat the air in the opposite direction. I missed.
It may have been one of the slowest opening weekends in my record book, but it only takes one. I’ve got a “thing” for drake wood ducks. Check out the beautiful boy in the photo below. He was kind enough to land just outside my decoys on Sunday. I jumped him and delivered a finishing payload of Winchester Blind Side No. 2s as he tried to escape. Birds like him are one the reasons I duck hunt. It only takes one.