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.
Waders (yes, believe it or not I have forgotten my waders before.)
Hunting bag containing:
choke tube wrench,
Key for the boat motor
Toilet paper (you NEVER know…)
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!