Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The worst duck hunt ever *

Over waterfowl season Ben and I had a very good spot we had been scouting for a couple of weeks, and it looked very promising for a good shoot. One friday night Ben and I decided it was time to hunt this spot. We knew a cold front storm was heading up north, and the birds would be heading south for the migration. The weather for Saturday was what every waterfowl hunter dreams of, and that was rainy and windy. We knew the wind would be coming in through the west, so we had a good mindset on our decoy spread for that next morning. Since the hunting conditions were perfect for that morning, Ben and I decided we would launch our boat friday night and hold down our spot for the following morning. Around 8pm friday night we hooked the boat up, packed our gear, and loaded my dog Brant who would be retrieving our birds. The next step was heading for the boat ramp. When we arrived at the boat ramp we realized we both forgot to grab a flashlight. There was only one option at that point, and that option was to use our flashlights off of our phones. Running the channels in nasty weather, with only a couple phone lights was quite the adventure.

After spending an hour on google maps trying to find our spot, we finally arrived when the tide was going out. The boat was stuck on top of the mud, leaving it dry until the tide came back up in the morning. With the winds blowing 30 mph, with 50mph gusts, it was very brutal weather to settle down in and get some sleep. Throughout the night you could hear the geese and mallards getting up and flying to a different spot to get comfortable in the bad weather conditions. After being awake most of the night I finally got some sleep, only leading to me waking up with my waders half under water due to the tide coming up. When the light finally shined through the dark clouds, Ben and I were ready to put a week of scouting into a good solid day of hunting. The geese and sprig were coming in flocks of 20 straight cupped up into the decoys. We knocked down about 5 or 6 birds in the decoys giving my dog some real life training. The next flock of aleutians were about 20 yards high due to tough wind conditions, and they were heading straight for us. The flock of birds got about 30 yards out and Ben and I let loose on them leading too birds falling everywhere. With the very rough wind conditions it was a little risky for my dog to attempt to retrieve. Brant and I ran over to the boat that was anchored in the mud and headed out towards the dead birds.

After picking up the birds we headed back towards the bank to anchor the boat and keep hunting. Only not knowing that my day was going to turn into an awful experience. After anchoring the boat, I started making my way back to the decoys until I heard Ben yell “HP grab the boat”. Within 1 minute the hunt went from a thrilling time to a awful experience. I looked back into a patch of fog to see my boat out in the middle of Humboldt Bay. Ben and I both looked at each other with a sudden death looked. We both knew that there was only one option and that was to swim.  So we both stripped down to our underwear and took on the nasty Humboldt bay waves. Finally after swimming fifty yards Ben finally hopped into the boat while I slowly pulled us back to shore. When we reached shore we both looked at each other and said “ let's get out of here”. We picked up the decoys in our underwear and headed back to the boat ramp. This hunt was definitely a learning experience, and a hunt that I will never forget.        

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