Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hard to walk in the same river twice

Well, the weather this morning was supposed to get down into the low teens, but Booker and I decided to see if we could find a few ducks anyway. I drove by one thermometer that said seventeen degrees Farenheit, which is pretty chilly. I ended up overdressed and sweating, though. It really didn't feel like the teens down on the river, my facemask wasn't freezing up too badly and the reeds on my calls weren't freezing in place. Those are usually pretty good signs of colder weather.

We got down to the river in good time and walked through the trees to the bank to find it up considerably, no doubt due to recent rain and melt from snow the last few days. More than that, the course of the river has shifted, putting me belt-deep in some decent current where a couple of weeks ago the water came to mid-thigh. Step in the wrong spot and the decoy bag would start to lift up on its shoulder straps, giving that walking-on-the-moon feeling.

Back in the beginning of November the blind looked like this:

Lots of bank between blind and river.

Now it looks like this:

The channel running in front of the little flat that blind is on has filled in from waist to knee deep and the river has spread out, all in the course of two weeks between my last hunt and this. We couldn't really use the blind, as I wouldn't want Booker to be sitting in a foot of cold water and most of the brush on the sides and front has washed away.

Accordingly, we shifted around to sit on the bank in some willows just a bit upriver where I could put out a decoy spread that looked good to me. Booker did well at sitting with me and holding still, but he did have a couple of issues with the brush, especially as not many birds were flying:

We got buzzed by a nice bunch of wigeon right at shooting light, but I wasn't ready and they didn't tarry. Surprisingly, the first hour of light, usually one of the busiest times, was very quiet. We persisted and managed to pick up a couple of birds.

Despite the lack of action, we hung on hoping for a bunch or two of birds looking for a late-morning loafing spot, but not even the hawks and cranes that usually provide distraction were much in evidence. Eventually we picked up the decoys and headed back in.


Matt Mullenix said...

Loved the dog video!

Our hunting was slow, too, but better than a day at the desk. We got 6 birds in 2 morning hunts (the dog caught one on her own).

mdmnm said...

Thanks, Matt!

You all found more game than we did- it was literally two ducks that came in to the spread. Rina must be pretty quick! As you say, much better to get out than not.

Matt Mullenix said...

Rina is half hawk. :-) She catches her own bird in about 1 of every 3 hunts. Nearly caught one on the wing tonight. Makes me want to train a caracal someday!