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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Diver bomber wood ducks 10/30/10

Weather conditions: The morning started off with a heavy frost (would've been great to bowhunt!) and temperatures right at 33 degrees. Into the afternoon, the temperature rose to a high of 61 degrees, assisted by a steady wind out of the South - Southwest around 5 - 10 mph,carrying gusts up to 29 mph at times. Barometric pressure was around 30.01 and rising when we left the house at 4:00pm. According to the ODNR, the guns would have to be unloaded in conjunction with sunset at 6:36pm. Hunted the D1 field pond.

Game saw: 50 - 60+ Wood Ducks; 20+ Geese

With the weather warming up in the afternoon, winds blowing good and steady from the south, along with the first split of the duck season coming to a close in Ohio's south zone, the decision was fairly straight forward on what to do. It's a perfect afternoon to get my son, and my dog outdoors to try our luck on some ducks & geese. I placed a call to another buddy and extended the invitation to join us. A short time later Mike, Troy, and I were meeting up and heading on to the afternoon's spot.

The action was starting before we could unload the gear from our trucks, as about 6 wood ducks flushed off of the pond and went skyward. We scurried to offload a few bags of decoys, 3 shotguns, blindbags, waders, and all the other essential snacks and goodies that go hand in hand with duck hunting. The trucks were moved off to a parking spot in the distance, decoys were deployed on the water, shells loaded in the waiting shotguns, and my dog, Timber, was already wet from a short swim to test the waters while watching the sky for more signs of birds.

The next 30 minutes or so were without much action, except for Caleb asking what time the ducks would be coming back? Then out of the blue, a few woodies dropped in and landed to our right. Timber was a ball of whining tension, sitting still with the anticipation of a shot. Then just as quickly as the first birds splashed down, more woodies dropped in, then more, then more, then more, and followed again by still more.

Timber had to be questioning our sanity. Why the hell wasn't a shot being called yet! Would somebody shoot already! There's at least 50 birds right there! Then, in an instant the opportunity came, with some birds peeling off and landing on the left giving both Mike & Troy safe shot opportunities at their first ducks. I blasted out the call, "Shoot 'em!" and as the birds flushed off of the water's surface, the gun rang out, putting birds back down on the water, and sending the flock back into the sky.

It's an amazing sight when it all happens like you hope you've planned it. You hunt the right spot, at the right time, in the right conditions, with the right people. I suppose that's why it's called being on the X. The way those ducks just dropped out of the sky on us was simply too fun to watch to jump the gun and shoot at the first opportunity. Seeing them cup their wings and acrobatically swoop in like fighter jets, hearing them literally cut though the air and call out to each other was enough to call it a successful hunt. Being able to take a few birds home for the grill to savor makes it all that much better.

We ended the night with 4 wood ducks. Timber had 4 good retrieves. Caleb ate well and entertained the group. I didn't even pull the trigger, but still had a hunt that I won't soon forget. That's what it's all about.

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