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"It" has finally arrived!

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"It" has finally arrived!
It seems like I have been waiting for this day for all of my life. Our duck season opened this morning at 6:52AM under severe clear skies with no wind. Down here, folks, that is called a perfect day to hunt ducks.

After Chip and I had gone to set out decoys and by the way, the magic number was 9, I checked out my blind one last time. Satisfied with what I saw, I celebrated being there by pouring a hot cup of decaf. Ever since A Fib, I'm now thankful that I can still drink coffee even if it is decaf.

While sitting there on my stool facing directly east, I started seeing ducks coming in. Chip was now on high alert and I kept on waiting for the shooting time. Already there was a drake pintail swimming around just to the south of my decoys. Finally that time in which it was now legal to shoot came. I was not disappointed at all. In came a small flock of mallards and I picked out the largest one, hoping it was a drake. I missed the first shot but nailed him on the second shell.

This season makes it 61 years ago that I was the wide eyed kid wearing a Jones duck cap and in jeans much too short but I was growing a lot. Every duck hunter back then wore the same color camo---Tan! It worked just fine.

In came another small flock of mallards and this time I shot a hen mallard. I didn't have but a minute to wait after Chip had retrieved this bird, when a flock of 20 pintails came in. This time I got lucky and dumped a good looking brown duck which quickly reminded me of what it was like shooting ducks in Alaska back in the 60s. This was one of those drakes that we see a lot of down here. They sometimes beat the bluewings down here. I am referring to the eclipse plumage drakes.

I sat there looking at my three ducks knowing how darn lucky I was just to be here for another year. Well it was that time to start frustrating Chip. I missed and missed again. It seems as if I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn on a golf course. Even Chip gave a yelp, showing his displeasure.


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The sun was getting much higher in the sky and boy was it hard to see looking into it. I had the best spot in the area but needed to put up with it. Glancing over at Chip I noticed him looking behind the blind and slowly I turned my head to catch an incoming flock of mallards. Two hens landed in the decoys and I pulled on an incoming drake. This made the fourth bird to bite the dust.

Not too much longer a pair of mallards came by looking the spread over. They made a wide circle then began to lose altitude. I noticed that the were back pedaling into the spread and took the largest duck again. Down it crashed into the millet. Chip was on it in a flash. As he came back I began saying, "Oh, no, another hen!" He came into the blind and then I began to smile when I saw its beak. This was a dandy looking drake Mexican duck.

My blind partner and I sat there maybe another 20 minutes before a half dozen big ducks came winging by. This group seemed like they had just arrived at home. There was no hesitation whatsoever. I picked out a nice drake since he was mostly due south of me. That was a fun one for me to shoot just because I could easily tell what it was. Upon getting back to the blind, I gave Chip a big hug and then checked my birds over.

It was a great way to begin this 2015/16 season. When I had tiptoed out of the bedroom, it was Bev who said, "Now don't forget to bring home some meat for the table." I am one lucky man to have her as my bride!
Al


Bev took this shot of us when we got home. That will teach me to forget my camera in the Mule. I'll blame that on first day jitters!


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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Congrats on a great opening day!
Chip is one fine looking pup.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Congrats Al!!! Sounds like a fine morning. Send me some pics if you would...Im unable to view them here for some reason, thanks buddy, Jake
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Way to Go Al!!!
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Way to go, Al!.......and Chip ;-)


MLBob

"Art is like an ill-trained Labrador retriever that drags you out into traffic." (Annie Dillard)

....Here's to Joe Wooster, who made me realize that the useful could and should be beautiful; and who firmly believed that decoy carvers were the last free men in America.

https://www.facebook.com/KOOIdecoy?ref=hl

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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Let the fun begin !
______________________________________________
It's all about the doin'


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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
What a fine strapping young man...Chip that is. Great Hunt Al, thanks for taking us along. Quite a variety of ducks too, not too shabby.


Steve
ADK 46R #9464
7/46W
NE 115 55/115
Mt. Rainier - 14,410'
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Great start to the season Al
what knee were you kneeling on:-)
wis boz
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Great job, Great story ! I'm also thankful for another year afield after my terrible car crash back in July. While standing there in the dark on opening morning, waiting to launch our boat into the pond, I sent up a prayer thanking the man upstairs for my blessings, and for his grace and mercy. I wouldn't be here otherwise.....

Fred McIntire

Indiana Waterfowler
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Congrats Al!


Great start for you.
_____________________________________________ You get out of a dog, what you put into a dog !
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Good job Al. I guess one of these days I might just need to come see the Rio and visit.
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Good morning, Al~

Congratulations on a fine hunt! If you are like me, you will forget all about those few misses soon enough and only those sweet stooling birds will linger vividly in The Storehouse.

I am wondering if a certain New Mexican Duck decoy joined in the fun.....

All the best,

SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Al,
Looks like a fine job of "tag, your it". Glad "it" arrived for you.

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA. ,,,,,, "As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats." Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
You're a good writer Al. Nice story and congrats on another successful opening day. So that's what a Mexican mallard looks like. I grew up wearing a jones style hunting hat too. Lots of memories for sure.
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Thanks, Carl. Chip is getting there and I am pleased with his progress.
Al

Took this shot of him this morning.

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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
I appreciated that, Jake. I sent you the pictures. Hope you got them.
Al
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Jim, it was good to hear from you. Hope you are having a very good season.
Al
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
That is much appreciated, Bob.
Al
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Hi John. Good to hear from you also. Well, having fun happened once again this morning. This time it was widgeons, mallard, woody, and a pintail.
Al


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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Boy oh boy, Steve. I passed on the compliments to the young yellow who shares the blind with me. He had a great morning today starting with picking up a Scotch double. Chip didn't miss a beat.
Al
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Hey Jim, it has been a very good start for me. I'm happy that Chip is getting some work. By the way, I am kneeling on the knee I was born with. :-)
Al
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Thanks so much, Fred. After hearing what you went through, I am so happy that you are on the mend and doing better, hopefully. Those prayers were heard and answered. I hope you have had some good hunts this fall.
Al
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Doug, thanks so much. Hope the pups are doing well. Is your weather cooling down some? I know you like hunting ducks on the river when it has been super cold.
Al
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Thanks, Brad. When that time comes let me know. Right now I am hoping that my trail dries out so that I can get to the Rio Grande. I haven't been able to get to my favorite spot yet. Darn it. Just before the season opened I built a couple of blinds but then it rained for 4 days. The Rio jumped up to 3000 cfs from 10 cfs quickly and now I am wondering if the blinds are still there.
Al
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Re: "It" has finally arrived! In reply to
Hey Steve. That beautiful Mexican drake decoy you sent my way was out working hard for me both days now. Took this picture this morning.
Al

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