My First Duck Hunt

Even though I’m in grad school for wildlife management, before this year I’d never been hunting.  During 2010 I got to go pheasant hunting, deer hunting and duck hunting.  I plan to make a separate post for each so I’ll start with the most recent: duck hunting.

Over Christmas break, as my fiance and I toured the south for family parties, we made some time to stop at his uncle’s rice farm here in Arkansas to do some duck hunting.  My fiance is an avid duck hunter and was excited to introduce me to the tradition.  Unfortunately it has been very dry and there weren’t many ducks at the farm.  But it was our only chance this season to go so we did!

Mallards hanging out in a puddle at the farm.

After some scouting we realized there was a slim chance of us getting some ducks to come in because the water on the field we were going to was very shallow.  But we still got up and out to our spot before sunrise.  Drew set up the decoys while I adjusted to moving around in my new waders.

Me helping pick up decoys.

We ended up sitting waist-deep in a ditch next to the field and used some vegetation to hide our silhouettes.

I was a little cold!

I was completely bundled up but that cold water still sucked the heat out of me.  We stayed for about 3 hours calling ducks and watching geese.  Early in the morning we had some shovelers fly in and I had my sights set on one but when I pulled the trigger, nothing happened.  My gun misfired.  The shotgun I was using was my grandfathers 12 gauge and has only been shot a few times in the last 40 years.

The next hunt I borrowed one of Drew’s uncle’s shotguns: a Benelli 20 gauge that I LOVED.  Much lighter and easier for me to handle.

4 whitetails running through a field

We didn’t end up taking any ducks but I really enjoyed the experience.  Sitting in the mud listening to thousands of geese honking above us…  Feeling my heart race when a group of mallards flew around us…  Seeing Drew in his element where he’s happiest…  It was wonderful.

The dogs having a blast!

Not only did I have a good time, so did the dogs!!  We would drive the ATV up and down an air strip between fields and they would run with us until they were exhausted!  They were head-to-toe covered in mud and couldn’t have been happier.  Spartacus chased barn cats and Bogie chased killdeer.  I’ve never seen Bogie sleep so hard.  Makes me excited for the future when it will be our children worn out after playing hard at the farm.

Speckle Belly Geese taking flight

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