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Friday, October 19, 2012

NoDak 10/04/12 Afternoon Jump Shoot

After drying out and warming up a bit, we headed out to explore some more territory in order to add some more ducks to the bag by jump shooting the ponds and potholes that dotted the landscape. It's a fun and exciting way to kill some time, and some birds. Plus, if you're not on the spot & stalk mission at the time you get to sit back in the distance, eat Cheetos, Doritos, cookies and watch the spectacle unfold. It's usually good for a some entertainment.

The first attempt didn't turn up anything other than a few laughs, but the second go at it turned out better with Rob and Kent creeping up on some unsuspecting birds. Soon they were waving Mike and I over to bring the dogs and fetch up some birds.

One of the birds was belly up and drifting toward the reeds along the opposite shoreline. The other was crippled and required another slow approach to try and throw some more steel it's way. When it popped up after a brief dive under the surface the final shot was fired, or at least that's what we thought. The steel shot's pattern covered up the area, causing the water around the bird to look like it was briefly boiling. With the duck surely about flip it's belly skyward, I sent Timber out for the retrieve. As the dog was taking the line towards the bird, somehow it's head once again went upright, and just as quickly the bird again dove beneath the surface confusing Timber as to it's whereabouts. Seconds later the duck resurfaced right in front of Timber. "Gotcha" is what I'm guessing Timber thought as he lunged again towards the diving duck. Empty mouthed, my dog was looking around, wondering "what the heck is going on here." Then just as before, the duck came up for air only inches in front of Timber.

The duck tried to make yet another plunge disappearing with a small splash, that was followed by a bigger splash with Timber now diving down after the duck! They both broke back up through the choppy waters, only this time the crippled bird was grasped securely in Timber's mouth as he paddled proudly  back towards shore.

Next up was Storm. He'd hunted hard all week, and the young pup was finally going to get in on some of the action. With another dead duck that had drifted somewhere into the reeds we searched the shoreline looking for that white belly against the dark blue water. A few moments later, Storm was on the bird, bringing it back in. His first water retrieve...

Another first was had later that afternoon on one of the most legendary spot and stalk displays ever witnessed, at least that's what we were told. It was an exhibit in stealthfulness (if that's even a word). If there was a textbook written on subjects like this, it would've been the center piece of that text book. Mike and I were able to use our ninja like stalking skills to slip within yards of the unsuspecting ducks with very minimal, and certainly marginal cover between us and the bobbing birds. With a pair of Teal spotted, a last minute call was made to switch positions, allowing Mike to be able to take the shot and adding Teal to his hit list of ducks taken. Like well trained Navy Seals, we maneuvered into position, made the call, and let the steel fly. And wouldn't you know it, Mike ends up shooting a banded Teal. You're welcome buddy!

That was about it for the hunting. I think we may have hit a few more water holes up along our way back to town, but we decided to call it a week. Electing to go have a nice dinner and sleep in the next morning, rather than grind ourselves to repeating the evening scouting / early morning wake up routine we had been following. Everybody was able to head back to Ohio satisfied and fulfilled with the time we had, and yet at the same time looking forward to the next time out. I know I'll be counting the days...

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