Saturday, October 22, 2011
Opening Day of Ducks 2011
Given that scouting and field reports indicated low numbers of ducks on Cayuga Lake and higher numbers on small ponds, creeks, etc, I decided for the first time since living in Canoga-land to open the duck season somewhere other than the Double Black blind. I am glad I did (except that Rich was short by half the required team mental power in the "sheer-force-of-will-to-conjure-ducks-from-nowhere" department... but that is his story to tell).
The idea was to conduct a methodical, calm, safe, fun hunt for Danielle's (Eric's daughter) first duck opener as a licensed NYS hunter. No typical opening day "whipped-up-into-a-frenzy" blood-lust, no assault-style Mexican army barrages against hapless Wonder-bread eating young of the year mallards from up the lake, where one not quite green-headed fowl is claimed by 5 shooters who have all emptied their guns. No, we'll have that fun later (and that IS fun sometimes). This hunt was for Danielle.
We (Eric and I) debated about whether we should try the ponds at Kuneytown, at Log City, the new ones in my back fields, or at the Morehouse Bait Ponds (see Jim's map here (cat icon)). We decided, once again, for the "sensible route"... go to the place most likely to produce. Pre-hunt scouting confirmed the choice.
In the end, Danielle shot three ducks on her own, and "participated" in others. I was hoping to be a videographer, but lighting and vegetation made it difficult. So, I called ducks, encouraged, and took shots that Danielle and Dad (Eric) passed on (or rarely, missed). It was novel, challenging, and fun. I ended up with some memorable solo successes on multiple species, nice and unexpected rewards for patience and deference. We ended the day day with 11 birds-- 1 gadwall, 1 green wing teal, 1 black duck, and 8 mallards. Danielle's smile at the end of the hunt was priceless.