Boy the year slips by as today time to put the rod away and head to the field for some goose and duck hunting.
Selling corn this year gave me the opportunity to hunt in the last field we were getting the corn from. The past week a good number of geese were feeding in the field so before first light I made the 10 minute walk to the field, laden down with 13 goose decoys, shells and camera.
I positioned the decoys in a V formation about 35 yards from my natural blind of corn stalks.
I watched the first glimpse of a new day as the sky brightened over Mt Cheam, Lady Peak, Mt Slesse and the surrounding hills. I snap some pictures including with the first rays of sunlight hitting the decoys.
The sky is void of birds and no sound of geese signaling their arrival. I snap a few more pictures and as feeling hungry as the early double double and bagel were not enough to keep the hunger pains away.
I grab a cob of corn from a stalk and chew on it. I have never done that before and it was not too bad, especially when hungry.
The first birds that take a look at the V formation is a flock of mallards, one tumbles out of 3 shots, I was using BB in the gun for geese so that may have been the problem.
I retrieve the drake mallard and settle into the blind, a few geese start to show but are heading to other fields.
Finally I hear more cackling, louder too, my pulse quickens as I see two formations coming from the west, there wings are cupping into the wind now coming from the east. I ready the gun. The first flock is a little too far out as they settle 20 yards or so from the decoys. The next flock is closer, but if only I was down the corn row a few yards more I would have had a great chance. I wait hoping they will swing into the decoys but I see they are going towards the first flock.
I jump up and run towards the birds as their feet have kicked out, they are a little far but in range, the gun barks three time but no geese fall ground ward. I am a bit disappointed but I hope for another chance.
My next chance however is a flock of ducks again. I am talking on the cell phone and tell Gary will be right back, the birds are right in the sun but one shot yields one hen. Nothing happens for a while except a few geese heading elsewhere.
Then a flock of 3 mallards come for a boo but appear to leave, I lose sight in the mountains green backdrop. I had pumped out the BB load and slipped in some #2. All of a sudden the birds appear to my right, in range, shot one drops a bird, I swing to the next duck a fast climbing drake , he too tumbles, one bird remaining. That drake is still in range, I give him the lead don't ask me how much as 55 years of experience kicks in and I complete the hat trick.
I find two birds easily but can not locate the third, I think it is in the corn rows, I search for 15 minutes, back and forth, back and forth. One should have a dog I know as I think back to the only hunting dog I had in my youth, my faithful dog Queenie who was a great grouse and duck dog. She was small in stature but had a nose and heart that was hard to beat.
I then think maybe the first bird to fall was on the edge of the corn, that I had retrieved. I then look in the ploughed part of the field and sure enough there was the bird, I can now call it a hat trick. Just now the Leaf's Phil Kessell just got the hat trick too, go Leafs go.
The next birds to appear are geese that pass over in range but their silence is their savior as I see them too late, they donot decoy, most likely saw me moving around.
That was the end of the action for opening day for 2011, 5 plump corn fed mallards was most satisfying and easier to pick than geese. I had to make 2 trips to the Leaf Mobile as 15 more pounds than coming in was just too much for this old time duck hunter.