The Last Day
The last day began at 05:00 December 13th 2008, there was overcast and it was 21 degrees.
I woke my grandsonís Legend and Kyle, made my coffee and sang the song my mother sang to me a many mornings trying to get me out of bed and ready for school.
After I reminded them we were off to hunt today, they jumped to their feet grabbed what they could find to eat, and started chattering for me to hurry. Kyle headed for his house next door to get his gunís and tell their dad they was headed duck hunting with their gramps, after a half hour Kyle returned saying he didnít feel good and told me he was going to stay, well me and Legend loaded the dogs and were headed for the secret duck hunting spot by 06:00.
After two and a half hours of bumpy back roads, gates, and washes, and a hundred question from grandpa about school, girlfriends, trucks, horses, guns, and anything else a grandpa could ask his 10 year old grandson, (almost 11) (Legend reminds me, a dozen times) we arrived at the first secret duck hunting pond. The pond is wrapped with short deciduas trees and the leaves were lost for the winter, the banks are twenty feet high and there is a canyon cut ten feet deep around the West side made from the winter snow melts in the region. The wind is blowing a steady twenty miles an hour so we walk into the pond down wind. Hearing the Mallard drakes just quacking to beat all, we crouch as low as we can get, its hard on this old mans legs, back and knees, but we get into a good position and discover the ducks are all on the opposite side of the pond, and there is five hundred to five hundred and fifty ducks right in front of us, and just out of range. This is not a big pond maybe twenty acres around. So knowing we would have better luck by back tracking and trying to get a little closer, we did just that. Have you ever tried to get a two year old Labrador to back out when he has both heard and seen five hundred ducks, it wasnít easy but luckily I had my three year old lab named (Leroy Brown) with me. Giving the cue for Leroy worked and we backed out to a spot where we could finally get to our feet and move up the west wash. Entering the wash we were able to move around the pond coming up right on top of a whole mess of ducks. I sent Legend ahead of me so he could get first shot, Legend peaked over the bank and froze, he turned and gave me the look of, where did they go? About that time my two year old named Red, decided Legend was blind and headed up to see where the ducks had gone. Well!!!! If you have ever seen five hundred ducks that have just seen a lab exploding over a bank, you know what happened next. Yep!!! They exploded out of the water, heading North, South, East, and West. Legend shoots two big green heads fall from the sky, by then I am up on top and shooting, I get a green head and hear Legend shoot again, two more green heads fall and he is just standing there stunned, I shoot and get a green head and a hen. I yell at Legend to shoot and I in turn get off another shot, down goes my forth and fifth ducks, both of which were green head mallards. Legend missed his third shot but was reloading when this drake spun around and headed right at him, Legend shot and the banded drake fell just a few feet in front of him. Now I am not a jealous man by nature, but I have been
hunting for over forty years and I have yet to shoot a duck that has been banded. After I explained to my ten year old grandson what a banded duck was and how long I have been trying to get one, my grandson in his youth, decided to let me wholler in his happiness by pointing at the band saying donít you wish you had one of these grandpa, I just smiled and said, we got ten ducks with seven shots boy!!! Thatís what I call good shooting. The dogs were busy finding and fetching ducks for the next half hour.
Well we left that pond and headed for secret pond number two, which is nothing like pond number one, itís a lot longer and only has trees on the west side, and the banks are almost straight up, so getting to the top with out slipping, sliding and making enough noise to wake the dead will almost be impossible and we know it. In addition to all the obstacles the wind is blowing straight at the area where we believe the ducks are located, because when we arrived we again heard the mallard drakes quacking away and enticing us to hurry, letting us know we was about to have a better day. Again we were sneaking up on a pond. This pond is a little bit smaller in width though and we knew it as well, like where the ducks might be and which way they would fly, once they came off the water, so we started up the bank and this time Red the two year old Lab didnít jump the bank. When we were in position, Legend took the first shot, at over two hundred ducks, missing all three times. Being the master hunter that I am, I also missed twice, hitting a drake on the third shot. I watched the drake waiver and keep going though. This wasnít going to be as good a day as I thought.
After walking around the pond three times trying to find a duck and not wanting to believe we didnít actually get a duck, we loaded up and headed back to secret pond number one, seeing a flock of a hundred ducks heading back in that direction helped in persuading us, that and we was luckier there.
Getting back to secret pond number one, we walked up over the bank and started shooting at ducks scattering every where. Sorry to say Legend didnít get any ducks and I only got two more mallard drakes. So we decided to set up camp, start a fire, get warm, eat some beef jerky, snickers, apples, oranges, paydays, some more beef jerky and anything else I had in a pack or in the suburban, and wait on the ducks to come to us, its now 13:30 and the wind has not let up all day.
Well we waited and waited and waited some more. We got board and decided to shoot legends new twenty two caliber pistol he got for Christmas. Wow!!! Legend was awesome shooting that pistol, hitting some shot gun shells at thirty paces nine times out of ten. We went through a hundred rounds and just had some good old fashioned grandpa and grandson alone time. After we shot up all those twenty two shells there was still No ducks, go figure. Well it was fun any way.
We went back to watching for ducks and eating (more beef jerky) trying to stay warm and trying to cool off when Legend found a bush that really burnt well or decided the five foot of flames wasnít high enough or the fire just might burn out by midnight. We just hung out and talked about school, hunting, trucks, girls, and what ever a grand pa could get out of his ten year old grandson (I mean almost 11 year old grandson) on The Last Day of a duck season.
Oh yea, then we went to Mc Donaldís for dinner. (Go figure)