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Discussion in 'The Duck Hunters Forum' started by dwr353, Aug 8, 2021.
You better keep her!
My father started my brothers and myself before we were big enough to carry a real gun. He made us carry BB guns, so he could train us on muzzle and safety control. We most likely still have a few lumps on our heads from dads bamboo wading staff. He called it his wading staff but, looking back at it, it was so he could give all three of us a little crack on the rump or head regardless of where he was sitting in the blind.
At the age of 6 years old, my older brother got his hunting license and was able to shoot ducks on the water, mainly dad's crips. Then at the age of 7 years old I got my hunting license, I was really small for my age, so my dad had to take a buck saw to the stock of the old Sears and Roebuck single shot 20 ga in order for me to shoulder and shoot it with dads super light reloads.
Then came my little brother "Mallard", yup Mallard was a name given too him from my uncles who teased my dad about his timing on when to have a kid, my little brother Mallard was born a week before our opening day. Mallard didn't really care for hunting and later in life ended up being a vegetarian and full blow tree humper. (we still love him even though.)
I grew up mainly hunting State and Federal wildlife refuges "duck parks" and a few rice clubs that either dad or his buddies joined for the year. Fast forward too today, and I will hunt anywhere there are ducks or geese but my heart and home field is public land hunting the hundreds if not thousands of miles of the CA Delta.
I'm a mallard hunter at heart and found a place in the river bottoms that shoot 97% mallards, and it's 15 minutes to the boat launch and a 15 minute ride in the duck boat.
My days of chasing ducks and geese up and down the State are long gone due to health problems. So these days I mainly just hunt our river spot "the Mallard hole", with a few invites to private land clubs for a mix of ducks and geese.
I don't kill nearly as many as we did in the past, but I still hunt as much as my body can handle and often more than it can take, which makes me appreciate each bird even more. I'll hunt until the day I die, even if I have to be carted out to my blind by great friends and my brother inlaw who is my best friend and hunting partner of over 30 years.
I still get a few hunts a year with my dad and his three hunting partners of 65 years, but I'm starting to see the signs of his body failing him. I hope to get in a few more hunts with the old man this year.
Get out there and have some laughs with great friends and family, that is what it's all about, it's not about kill numbers or anything else.
I know where that's at.
Seriously though. SC has the prettiest winter marshes I've ever seen... It's a shame we dont get to witness the Winter migrations that Archibald Rutledge got to.
Archibald, to heck. I'm old enough to remember skiens of wildfowl moving down the coast.
BTW - my maternal granddad was a forester for Archibald Rutledge for a while. My family have kept some of the letters he wrote to my granddad.
My goose hunting has diminished. I hunt on a piece of corporate property. The property is open to the public. I put in a small 40" x 96" pit in a fallow part if the field each year.
Most hunts, I hunt alone, with my daughter and last year only with one friend ( covid).
Depending on my ambition what the birds have been doing and other hunters, I hunt with 3-36 full bodies and occasionally up to 3 dozen GHG life-size shells.
At one time my dog Holly, last year my daughters dog and my new pup. Most hunts I run my ATV and pull the small trailer. The field is A mile straight north of my house.
Last year I had some long hunts, few or no birds, years ago many hunts were short and limits came easily.
I enjoy watching the dogs work. Sorry guys my pit, my dog, my rules.
And Im suppose to call the shot Some guys dont get it,
Early seasom maybe depending on field cover Ill hook up with others on the field , generally where Ive prepared a location for the blinds
I prefer to hunt alone or with my daughter ( and grand daughter) this year I hope to take an elderly (79) retired widower
Youngest daughter, and trailre,, and old ATV
Holly Hunter Hauser, The greatest partner ever
New pup Daisy, main partner this year
Young guys, close up, 2 groups of birds 16 shots 12 geese,, yeah I shot the 5
As I get older I adapt. I hunt with large numbers of guys because I need their help to do anything anymore, so I provide most of the hunting locations, the blinds, a fair amount of decoys, and they all take care of 90%+ of the set-up.
I found my knees were just not getting me up out of the chairs I had for the blind in a timely manner, so I found chairs that are tall enough to keep my legs from a deep bend when sitting and all I need do is simply step forward with ease out of my chairs. Most guys I hunt with are in, or looking to be in that situation soon as well, so I bought four of those extended height chairs for them. Guys have used them, and then bought their own as well...They 'are' the answer to old legs!
I have a number of large mobile blinds I built myself, and each butts up tight to any other. When all are together, I seat up to eight guns, each blind holding two, each with 3 feet of elbow room. And in a pinch, up to three dogs.
They are tall enough to be standing with gun at ready as the birds work you, or remain sitting 'til final swing.
I have one exclusive water hunt. Two good fields. All are private.
Only the water hunt is an 'Edge' hunt, being at the edge of the water on a bank. I set the big mobiles right in the center of stubble fields. They astonish hunters seeing them there for first time, but they remain quite effective for geese or ducks.
I have been duck hunting for a little over 50 years now. I started out hunting the Grizzly Island refuge when I was old enough to drive myself there. About 35 years ago a friend invited me to his club. I ended up being a member there the following year. It had 11 two man cement pit blinds on about 360 acres with a big pond covering most of it. We set the decoys out at the beginning of the season and brought them in at the end. We hunted the club for both pheasants and ducks...and occasionally a goose or two. What I liked about it was the ability to spend the night in the club house, have dinner, have breakfast, play dominoes, and the general comradery. The duck hunting was not the greatest, but the club was 15 minutes from home.
A little over 20 years ago, the entire membership left that club and leased property at another club near Willows, CA. It was a 190 mile round trip drive to the old farm house and property we leased to hunt. But, the hunting was and has been fantastic during most of the seasons. We started out hunting two 4 man duck blinds, then added a 4 man goose pit. The membership has declined over the years and now we have just me and my buddy that got me into the club, and two sons of one of the deceased members. The hunting is still good, and the two boys (in their 20's) and my grandsons do most of the work at the club now. This year may be a little different as we will have 2 four man pit blinds in dry fields, and a 2 man above ground in natural water blind setting. We hunt a lot more geese now than when we first started hunting there, so the dry blinds won't be too much of a problem.
As has already been mentioned, it's getting a little tougher to get to and from the blind....but you adapt. I built a blind buggy a couple years ago that helps. I have a quad, if all else fails.
I have had Labs for 34 years. I lost my last one in the spring of 2020. Supposedly, I am on the list for a new put this Fall. Looking forward to another good year.
I was born in 1990... I missed the puddle ducks of the 80s and most of the divers of the 90s. I caught the tail end of the last of the "good ole days" here.
As for your granddad, that's awesome. I am fascinated by and have a deep love for our history. Those letters are priceless.
I killed my first duck at Grizzly Island, many decades ago...many!