Do we get on the road and try to sleep in the truck with temperatures in the teens or do we leave at 1AM to make it to our hunting destination on time? We’ve all had to make similar decisions and that’s exactly how our weekend hunt started out. With such cold weather we figured we wouldn’t get any sleep in the truck, so we might as well hit the road when the clock struck one.
We were breaking ice as we packed our gear into our destination, but when we got to our blind it was nothing but open water. Sitting in the dark fog, it was silent. No familiar mallard chatter or goose clucks. Our hopes were low, but we waited shin deep in water and cattails for the first flash of wings to streak across the sky. Digga digga…we heard them but we couldn’t see them. Kyle responded with a subtle “come join us” response with our eyes to the sky. “In the decoys!” They had snuck in the spread without us even seeing their approach. The pair of mallards quickly changed directions at the sight of us appearing out of the reeds, but they didn’t make it far before falling back to the water.
The hunt continued this way for most of the day. From pairs to flocks, the mallards were finishing right in our spread. Besides a few wood ducks we passed on and a rogue canvasback that found one of our shot patterns, it was the new mallards from the north that wanted to play and we were just fine with that as we took our last two greenheads to finish out our limit around 10:30am.”
With so much time left, we decided we could squeeze in a scouting trip for a quick Sunday hunt before grabbing dinner. We found a nice little pond that was completely frozen over, but in the 20 minutes we were watching there were 3-4 flocks of mallards that landed right on the ice.
The morning came quick, but man did that heated hotel room feel great. The game plan was to keep it simple and realistic. After we combined our weight, we finally started breaking through the ice in a few spots. We cleared it out as best we could and grabbed a few dozen floaters, full bodies, goose decoys and Kick Splash.
While setting up the goose decoys on the ice, I almost stepped on a stick that was coming out of the ice. “Wait…that’s not a stick.” With plenty of time until shooting time, it was time to grab the hammer and get a little bonus on the trip.
“Wait there’s another one.” 10 yards away from the first one was another sticking out of the ice almost identically.
We couldn’t of asked for a more beautiful scene as the sun rose over the horizon. It was about half an hour after sun rise when we saw the first wave of birds come dropping down from the east. They circled and circled, between the soft quacks Kyle was making and the ripples from the Kick Splash on the water, they couldn’t resist the thought of resting their wings.
“Ok guys, get ready.” The birds locked up and swung right in front of our hide at 25 yards. “Dang, we probably should of shot.” The birds turned and were flying away, but as they swung out of the lake one last time they quickly hooked back at us and were gliding all the way until the first bird touched his foot into the ice cold water. “Take ‘em!”
After the main group a couple more greenheads fell for our small but realistic spread and we finished the day early to hit the road back home.
Another successful trip, not because of the heavy straps, but because of the memories made.