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First couple of weeks of hunting

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First couple of weeks of hunting
A couple of weeks of hunting have come and gone. Not too much memorable report to be honest.

MN opener came and it was warm. Had to be in the upper 60 or lower 70's which is hot up here. We went up early to do some scouting and found the water to be VERY high. Places where we sere standing last year were 6' deep this year. You couldn't get to the edge of the cattails without a boat. And naturally, this was the first year in many that I did not bring along the kayaks. Haven't used them the past 10 years, why bring them this year. Just my luck.

We decided to hunt our favorite producing slough but would hunt the land/cattail edge and hope ducks flew over and we could do some pass shooting. We each took a spot along the shoreline and I didn't really have the best location. Got there a few hours before opener and got situated. Luckily I had a chair to sit on. Got unloaded and sat down and the swarm, and I mean SWARM of mosquitos started their bombing runs. They were so thick I couldn't see in front of me at times. I thought I was lucky in that I had along my mosquito jacket and veil and while it helped, it still sucked. There was a point where I thought the perfect torture to get prisoner information would be to put him in a room with 1,000,000 plus hungry females in the same 5'X5' box. Oh, and tie his hands behind him and strip him of all clothes. It got so bad with the bugs I was praying for 5 seconds of silence.

Just as the bugs were driving me, well, buggy, the flooding rains came, in waves, thunderous waves. I once again outsmarted mother nature and had along an umbrella. I proudly flipped open the umbrella to keep the rain away and it worked great. Worked great until every mosquito in the country decided that they didn't want to get wet either and took refuge under my umbrella. While I wasn't wet, the thundering noise was making me crazy. Once again, I was prepared. I had purchased a pair of noise cancelling shooting muffs for this year. I put them on so I could no longer hear that incessant mosquito buzzing. While I didn't hear the buzzing, I also didn't know when they were sucking all the blood out of my body until it was too late. No problem I thought, I would just turn on/up the microphones so I could hear those little bastards before they got to my skin. Great idea if you like the shrill mosquito buzz being amplified to the level of an Aerosmith concert - 1 inch from your ears. Took those suckers off.

Shooting time came and there was nothing in the air. During our scouting of this area the day before, there were ducks everywhere. The damn mosquitos must have sent them away. Took three shots the whole morning at ducks that were close the the limit of what the shotgun could bring down. I left the day with nothing but "memories"

For some who may not know, a long time member of this site passed away earlier this year. At his memorial, one of his gun club members had loaded many shells with some of Tom's ashes. Those shells were handed out with instructions given to shoot them over our favorite marsh come hunting season. It just so happened that the place we hunt on opener in western Mn is a hop skip and jump away from were Tom was born and raised. After the hunt I stood with some of my college buds who have come to know Tom over the years he has hunted with us. Words and memories were shared and the shell loaded and shot over the swamp Tom probably hunted as a younger kid. A very somber moment.

None of the hunting party hunted that Sunday due to the water levels and the blood sucking mosquitos.

Next weekend saw the Wisconsin opener. Since we have owned our cabin, a new tradition has begun where a close friend comes up and we hunt WI opener. I had done s summer of scouting and had the place all picked out to hunt come Saturday morning. I was pretty certain it would be a spot favored by others so we got up early and headed out. It ws so nice to only have to get up and walk down to the lake and hop in the duck boat verses driving somewhere and launching the boat and so on. I am definitely spoiled. As we were motoring over to the intended hunting spot (mosquito free I must add), I saw the dreaded lights in the distance. Sure enough, someone had gotten there before us. WE turned around and headed to a little island maybe 300 yards from our cabin. Got set up and waited for the day to begin. Shooting was great and we came back with a good number of ducks.

We got up Sunday earlier than Saturday determined to get the previously scouted location. Sure enough, it was raining - HARD. Since I'm now retired, I don't hunt rain so we went back to bed thinking we would get up and just hunt the island nearby. Got up, still paining - HARD. Went back to bed. It rained the whole day. It rained Monday, and it rained Tuesday and Wednesday for good measure. I went home only having hunted 2 days out of the 7 I had set aside to do so.

Next weekend came and I was back at the cabin alone. I din't feel much like a long boat ride to the previously scouted spot so thought I would try a location just across one of the lakes from our place. Got there and was the only one anywhere around. Since it was the first time hunting this spot, I didn't know much about the location. I got set up where I thought would be good and the wind switched around on me. No biggie, i was mostly there to observe. Turned out to be a great location and ducks were everywhere. To add to the fun, I had a pair of river otters swimming in and around my decoys. Sorry for the bad pic but hopefully you can see them. Anyway, this is the place I hunted. Very beautiful location. During the hunt, I noticed many ducks flying behind me somewhere. I motored over a ways and found a very narrow, not very deep water way that was leading back into the woods. I push poled a little ways and was rewarded with a spot that is wood duck heaven. I must have chased out 25 of them just lazily swimming around. Next time I think I'll set up here.

Thanks for reading. Tomorrow morning it is supposed to snow up here. I love love love hunting in front of a snowstorm but my new truck is in the shop for some warranty work. Maybe Saturday. Hope everyone who has been out hunting has had a great time.

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Re: First couple of weeks of hunting In reply to
Awesome read and what a great honor to Tom! Looking forward to updates on your duck hunts!
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Re: First couple of weeks of hunting In reply to
Great read and what an awesome way to honor an old friend!!
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Re: First couple of weeks of hunting In reply to
Really enjoyed reading what you had to say about your hunts so far this year. Those photos were like a fine dessert after a great meal. Thanks

I, too, thought that was a wonderful tribute for Tom.
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Re: First couple of weeks of hunting In reply to you have a GREAT idea of how it is to hunt in FL with all the mosquitoes :)

Nice to see some fall colors and the little duck hole you found is a pretty pretty place.

I like the shotshell for Tom. I have considered having that done with my ashes when I head off to the big black belly blind in the sky. Are there more shells left?
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Re: First couple of weeks of hunting In reply to

Great tale! Sorry it was not Mallards that were darkening your early season skies....

All the best,


Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY