Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cut 'em Boys; Cut 'em

My five favorite words. Well, I think its five words. The way those southern duck hunters talk it very well could be three. In any respect, next weekend marks the beginning of my favorite season of the year. Not Fall, Winter, or the Holiday Season, but duck season!

Mid-October is the opener for much of the Pacific Flyway on the west coast, including parts of far Northern California and Oregon. Myself, along with The Hunting Partner, his uncle, and his brother-in-law are all bugging out of work early to get on the road for a long six hour drive to Southern Oregon for next weekend's opening day.

This trip will be the maiden voyage of The Hunting Partner’s new mud boat, an incredible 17 foot flat bottom with a 36 HP air-cooled motor, all made by Pro Drive. We worked over the summer researching, designing, and building a blind and taking the boat out on a few fishing trips to get the feel of a shallow drive motor.

This rig is going to be a nice improvement over our previous two boats; my 14 foot jon boat and his 15 foot v-hull. We hunt in some very back wood areas – the Brother-in-Law calls them scenes out of Deliverance - that are subject to water fluctuations from 6 feet to just inches based on the tides. A mud boat gives us much more flexibility for getting way back into those wonderful little mallard holes.

The area we are hunting in Oregon is a high desert marsh that contains some of the most amazing waterfowling you could ever experience. The Uncle has been there several times, but for the other three of us this will be our first time going across the border to hunt. I feel like a kid on Christmas eve, I don’t think I will be able to sleep with visions of the upcoming trip dancing in my mind.

I think we have everything ready to go. Several years ago I created a check list that I keep in my gun safe that reminds me of things that I used to occasionally forget when opening day rolled around. I modified it last year in consideration of hunting from the boat. I thought it may serve some purpose to share it here. Part of the exercise that I put myself through is to stack the items in the garage and literally check off the list as I go so as not to miss anything.

Hunting Jacket
Waders (yes, believe it or not I have forgotten my waders before.)

Hunting bag containing:
duck calls,
choke tube wrench,
gun oil,
camo hat,
neoprene gloves,
regular gloves

Life Vest/PFD
Key for the boat motor
Toilet paper (you NEVER know…)
Cell phone
First Aid kit
A small package of zip-ties (stays in the boat)
A couple bungee cords

That’s about it. Once the season begins I don’t worry too much about forgetting anything because as soon as I come home from one trip, it all goes back in a pile ready for the following weekend. But I will look over my list quickly before every venture out just to make sure.

I’d be interested if you routinely take any else that I haven’t listed. Leave me a comment and add to my list.

I’ll be back with stories and pictures at the end of the weekend, much to the dismay of my hunting mates. But hopefully you will enjoy them. Until then, hunt, eat, and live!


NorCal Cazadora said...

Well, I'm a girl, so toilet paper isn't a "you never know" for me - it's a must-have. And some other things too.

But other stuff? I always bring the waterfowl regs book and two duck ID books. Olive drab eye shadow that serves as hypoallergenic face camo on bluebird days, and makeup remover to get rid of it at the end of the day. A small video camera (Flip video) that I'm always too distracted to use, but it's cheap enough that if I dropped it in the water, I wouldn't freak. Wet wipes - guys never bring them, but they're always grateful I have them at the end of the day.

Other differences on my list are associated with the style of hunting I do - hoofing it out to a blind on a refuge, not taking a boat.

And once the season gets going, I have my after-hunt ritual: Come home, hang the waders by the fireplace, pluck and dress the ducks, clean my gun and repack everything on the list that can be packed ahead of time. When I do it that way, I can be out the door in literally 15 minutes if I decide to go hunting spur of the moment (which I have done).

Ohhhhhhhhhh, I can't wait. Boyfriend found himself near Delevan yesterday and came home with pictures of hordes of specks...

Anonymous said...

Good luck on the hunt. Looking forward to pictures and stories next week.

Stay safe out there.

Blessed said...

I hope you have a good hunt!

I always bring Advil in addition to my first aid kit - (I have a bad habit of developing migraine headaches as a result of boat motor fumes), wet wipes, an old coat for the dog, hand warmers, and a change of clothes (they stay in the truck)

In the boat we have a drybag that always has a sleeping bag, duck tape, extra batteries and super glue in it. We've had people fall in at the blind and get soaked to the skin when it was below freezing out before. The sleeping bag isn't one I'd let you use in my living room floor but it's great to have in the blind.

When we get home we put the waders on wader dryers, hang all the wet stuff by the fire place and repack our gear bags then dump them in a plastic tote until next time - keeps everything together and organized!

sportingdays said...

Nice post. Sounds like it will be a fantastic trip .... You must not be a dog man, however, because your list doesn't include a Labrador and associated gear, perhaps a whistle, blind stake, camo dog jacket, food bowl, etc. I hunt as much for my dogs as I do for myself so they are an integral part of any hunting trip.

Last night after work in downtown Sacramento, I got the OK from my wife to check out the Yolo Wildlife Area. The rice harvest is in full swing but they've started flooding up the ponds.

The ponds are full of ducks and plenty of mallards. The skies were full of specs. Then, as I was leaving and just about to drive off the refuge, a big beautiful cock pheasant ran right across the road in front of my truck.

All within sight of the downtown Sacramento skyline. Pretty cool. Happy fall to everybody.

Terry Scoville said...

I also take dog treats in the form of high carb food for Jet(my black lab)and a dog first aid kit. Sometimes when the hunting is slow it's nice to have a deck of cards on hand. Otherwise the folks commenting before me got it covered.
I saw lots and lots of ducks and geese when I was in the Klamath basin last weekend on my deer hunt. It ought to be a better than usual opening for you! Have fun and be safe.

SimplyOutdoors said...

Good luck when you head out. There is nothing like the anticipation of opening day.

I don't duck hunt, so I'm not sure I have anything I could add to the list. I do think that lists are a good thing though. That is for sure.

Live to Hunt.... said...

Great additions everyone, thank you! NorCal - touche'. How absolutley bullard of me for failing to consider the huntress when writing about bringing TP as optional.

Sporting - great point. Got to have the dog and all the dog supplies. Max (the Golden Retreiver) did fantastic in Oregon - I'll be writing about him and the trip in the next few days.

Swamp Thing said...

Best of luck, we open on saturday.
We grew up in North Carolina and Virginia, and to my father's dismay, the "call" was too often not "cut em" but "kill those motherf(*&@#(*#!!!!!"

Be safe, and hot barrels to ya.