Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Most Memorable Hunt

My daughter Charlotte had a tooth extracted today, which caused her great discomfort. So much so that the wife asked that I "occupy" my eldest daughter whilst mommy-care was dispensed to the infirm. This meant that I couldn't attend the local Ducks Unlimited chapter meeting, but, if I was clever, could baby-sit Victoria on a low-expectation duck hunt. Proposing the idea to 6 year old daughter Victoria was a snap. She was eagerly in, especially since I offered the Canoga Creek beaver dam hunt. She loves beavers.

We trudged through overgrown multiflora and checked all of the usual bends and meanders. No ducks. We jumped a few heron. All the hot spots were barren of ducks, though we got a beaver tail slap, which is always cool. We got to the point in the creek where the trees give way to the cattail marsh and I thought sure we'd sneak up on a black duck. Nothing. Victoria was a trooper dealing with the prickers though. And geriatric Fiona would have given our stalk away anyway with all of her heavy breathing. But it was a beautiful evening, reddening maples, yellowing cattails, and all that.

We sat down at the 90 degree bend in the creek where it turns sharply and heads to the mighty Cayuga, often a good pass shoot spot. I lit a cigar, Victoria cracked a juice box and we chatted. It was great. I learned much about her 1st grade social interactions. We spotted a small flock of swans, lots of geese and gulls, and a birding highlight, three Bald eagles. Victoria spied these first, which she was very proud of. But no ducks.

The 6:00 Canoga Fire Dept whistle sang out and we listened to the coyote response. "Fifteen minutes left" I said. "It's ok daddy," she said. A flock of high flying mallards teased us. I let Victoria call at them. She bleated beautifully. I threw my cigar butt into the creek and a lively pollution and physics of ripples conversation ensued. She wore me down and I apologized for littering, checked my watch. Five minutes to go. I scanned the skies, Victoria fidgeted, Fiona groaned. Then, over the creek screaming towards us like a bat outta hell, a single duck, flying low, winging right up the creek.

The beauty of sitting in this spot is that the ducks naturally follow the path of the creek, so they give you a brief belly shot when they make their passing turn. Left to right swing, my shot. LC Smith (real) 12 gauge barked once, and a green wing teal lay in Canoga Creek feet up. Victoria was squealing with delight. Fiona was matter-of-factly retrieving the beautiful little duck, the bosky light of the marsh embraced us in pinks and lavenders, and all was well with the world.


Jim Tantillo said...

this one's almost too good for this blog . . . nice one all around.

Anonymous said...

Great Hunt one you will remember forever.Danielle and I bagged our first turkey together this spring and I will never forget it hopefully they will remember it as fondly as we do.Oh by the way it was a Tom no jakes allowed.


KGT said...

Thanks for the nice words.

Hey Jim,

Send Eric a new invite to the blog...he has a few good ones to share, but isn't able to post officially.

Anonymous said...


You are such a good daddy!

The syrup thief

Ernie said...

Boy, did you ever spoil a good bust for me! I went by the house and the creek Wednesday, after we talked about you not being at the meeting cause you had to watch Victoria and saw your truck parked there. I was ready to blog this morning and bust you but now instead I wish I was that beaver in the creek watching and listening to the goings on. Listen to the voices of the little ones, they get so smart so fast.

Saltzy said...

Excellent. Maybe best ever.