As the 2013/14 Waterfowl season ended, it allowed our "crew" a few days to scout and get ready for the Youth Waterfowl Day here in SC. We scouted public water, and some of our private land, and found birds in both locations, but felt like we had a better chance of getting our buddy Ben his first duck on our private land.
Since Blake had just recently sold 'Ol Red, we loaded up his new ride "Madonna"… and don't ask me why he names all of his vehicles. We attached the hitch and strapped our Drake Waterfowl stand-up decoy bag filled with Drake Waterfowl duck decoys and some GHG Goose Decoys. Due to the freezing temperatures we kept all of our Drake Waterfowl waders in the back of the Tahoe (Madonna) to keep them toasty!
A pic of Madonna
Once we got to our location, we started our journey in through the darkness. We had to break ice going in which just added to Ben's hunt. After setting up our decoy spread it was time to get "locked & loaded".
At first light, we heard the beautiful sound of woodies, squealing through the timber. Right at legal shooting time we had two woodies come in and I told Ben to wreck 'em, and three fast shots rang out with no feathers falling. Just a few minutes later we had a single woodie come by and the three shots followed. Again, with no feathers fell. You could start to see the disappointment in his body language and the "crew" kept talking with him to keep his spirits up.
We saw a lot more wood ducks but they were either too high or too fast but we held our ground. All of a sudden Blake asked, boys do you hear that? Yes, indeed we do. A mallard hen was quacking off at a distance. Not only Ben, but the whole crew shifted into another gear. Blake and I both picked up our RNT duck calls which were hand-tuned by Butch Richenback (founder of RNT) and we started a duet of hen calls. Once we spotted her she had company, a nice big greenhead. As they started working our spread, I stopped calling and coached Ben, and Blake continued to work his RNT Daisy Cutter.
The pair circled for three times before committing and then it was wings cupped & orange feet down. I told Ben to wreck him and wreck him he did. A fat 'ol greenhead in the decoys splashing was a beautiful sight for not only Ben but to the crew as well. We all high fived, and looked at each other hollering, “Who's your Drake???”
As we drove back to Ben’s house we talked more about the hunt and you still couldn't wipe the smile off his face. We are pretty sure this one's going to the taxidermist.
We've been blessed through the years to help many hunters young & old, to harvest their first duck or goose and we were fortunate enough to be able to continue that tradition this year. These moments in the outdoors are who we are and what we live for.
Good Hunting ~ Daryl