Today's hunt was a great one: not for the amount of birds killed, but for what I saw and learned. Didn't get drawn for anything (probably because I didn't put in for anything) so I tried a spot on the river where I've seen birds in the past. Figured, what the heck...why not? Got there about 45 minutes before shoot time and decided where I wanted to make the blind and set the decoys. Grabbed a bunch of branches, stuck them together and put rocks around the bases to hold them in place. Draped an old, torn up piece of fast grass over that and set up the chair. Then I had to set up the massive spread: 2 Bigfoot honkers and 2 pairs of mallards. Stashed the extra gear in the trees, sat down and poured a cup of coffee. All the while I was doing that, wood ducks kept taking off out of the trees, one at a time. Must have been 6 or 8 of them roosted there right behind where I was set up.
About 20 minutes after shoot time a lone honker came across the field on the other side of the river and locked up. He sat down too far out and right in the middle of the river. He would call, and I would answer. He would call, and I would answer. He swam over, but hung up about 40 yards out. Too far, in my opinion, so I just sat and waited. That went on for about 15 minutes. Then, I heard some more honks coming from down-river. The honker in front of me stretched his neck up and started calling to his buddies. Way cool: I've now got my own personal caller! It was great because I got to see everything he did and got to listen to everything he said. 5 of his buddies came right in...only 3 of them left, along with my personal assistant. While that was going on I passed on 4 single wood ducks that came in and landed. Yeah, I know, woodies taste better, but I kill a lot of ducks and not a lot of geese, so I waited for what I have less chances at. I did end up whacking a drake woodie later.
I had a big old merganser swimming around me for over an hour. I got to watch him suck up a ton of sculpins. I also got to watch 2 kingfishers do their thing on both sides of the river. Then, to top it all off, a bald eagle flew right over the top of me.
To make it all better I had the whole place all to myself...not another person anywhere to be found. I just sat and watched the stage show and the only thing I heard was the water running through the riffles.
What a great start to the season!