Sunday, January 4, 2009

Make Mine a Double... A Scotch Double


I was a little apprehensive heading into last Saturday’s waterfowl hunt. After all, I was coming off of a terrible day of gunning Friday in which myself and my two blind mates eventually ended up pulling limits of birds on stormy morning hunt. But just suffice it to say that it was not my most stellar shooting days. I believe at one point there was some smart-ass comment from the other end of the blind referring to my shooting, a barn, and its broad side.

Anyway, Saturday began as usual. Up at 2:30 am, pick up The Hunting Partner, at the boat dock at 4:00 am, and then motor out to the hunting site and set up decoys by 5:45. Satisfied that our honey hole was secured, we sat back and toasted the clear, cloudless black sky by tracking satellites and counting falling stars with a cup of java.

As dawn broke and shooting time approached, we noted that the breeze had picked up to a steady north wind of 10-15 mph. A perfect setup for our blind on the north end of the pond. With the wind to our backs, we knew the ducks should work nicely up from the south and into the lure of our open section of the decoys directly in front of the boat.

Shortly after shoot time we were rewarded with the first group of mallards that wanted to join their plastic brethren. A group of five worked around the pond a couple of times and, on the last pass over us, one of the drakes broke loose and made a B-line for our position. At 20 yards The Hunting Partner and I stood simultaneously and he fired, striking the duck. A quick follow up from my Benelli assured that this fine specimen would end up in the freezer.

A few other groups of ducks would arrive on scene and worked our spread with similar results. But it was the last group of the morning that would prove to be extra special.

A mixed flock of six birds – 4 wigeon and 2 mallards – began working our decoys as The Hunting Partner and I tag teamed our calling to bring them ever closer. The Hunting Partner and I have very complimentary calling styles, and often, he will switch over to a drake mallard call while I stay on the hen mallard in order to create a convincingly real scenario in which to bring in the birds.

As the flock circled, from out of my peripheral vision I noticed two new mallards arrived on the scene and decided to join the party. Only they were not messing around and wanted into our spread without hesitation. I whispered to The Hunting Partner that we had new birds working and he acknowledged with a nod of his cap.

The new arrivals came around one time and immediately cupped their wings and lowered their landing gear making a direct descent into the decoys. With the strong north wind the time seemed to stand still while they rocked and rolled their little feathered bodies in our direction.

Finally, at about 15 yards, the hunting partner called the shot and we both stood in unison. I clicked off my safety and executed a textbook gun mount with the hen mallard covered up in my sites. Having finished off the greenhead in the earlier group, I was perfectly happy to let The Hunting Partner take the drake while I focused on the hen.

I was tracking seconds ahead of The Hunting Partner when I pulled the trigger.

BANG! Plop……… Plop.

Amazingly, both birds hit the water with a splash and floated lifeless in the rippled pond. I looked over at the hunting partner, who still had his gun at the ready. We both paused before he shouted, “That was awesome!”

The elusive scotch double - one shot, two birds. And mallards to boot.

My immediate reaction as to apologize to The Hunting Partner for hitting both birds. I felt bad that he didn’t even have the opportunity to shoot. I felt greedy, yet there was obviously nothing I could do to prevent what had occurred. Still, I felt bad. The Hunting Partner is my best friend and one of the most enjoyable experiences is when he and I both drop ducks out of a flock and celebrate our mutual success with laughter and a high-five. This time it was all about me, which was awkward and, as I said, felt a bit greedy.

Max lurched into the water and immediately made his way toward the birds which had already begun to float away in the wind-blown pond. He executed a fine double retrieve, with the second bird being a hefty swim since it had floated quite a distance since he retrieved the first duck and then needed to swim out for the second. His performance added icing to the cake.

The scotch double would be the last group of birds to come our way, so we picked up the decoys and motored back to the marina. A wonderful morning with a very special ending. I just wish everyday could be that great. This is why I hunt, eat, and live!

8 comments:

oldfatslow said...

Good story and a good
hunt. Congratulations.

Here in Florida the only
true mallards we get are
feral. We have mottled
ducks - a smaller non-
migratory cousin of the
mallard.

ofs

SimplyOutdoors said...

That is pretty cool; two birds with one shot.

I'm going to have to take up this duck hunting stuff pretty soon. It sounds like a blast.

oldfatslow said...

SO,

As a buddy of mine
once said, "You've got
to really hate ducks to
do this." The best duck
hunting is in the crappiest
weather and in inaccessible
places. You'll love it.

ofs

NorCal Cazadora said...

Awesome shot! Glad they weren't two hens... :-)

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

Aside of eiders, I took 3 mergansers in one shot back in December of 2003. They all were lined up perfectly and the shot did it's job. Last week I got one drake and one hen old squaw (long tailed duck) with one shot. However, I would have traded the mergansers any day for a twofer in the mallard department. Congrats and great story, a good hunting partner will be happy for you but be ready for when he or she gets the last laugh!!! Have a great day...

DEDH

cypresscreek said...

Now that sounds like a great duck hunt... I don't know what the problem is, but it always seems like I get the wrong end of the impoundments when I go :)

Swamp Thing said...

Sounds like a good hunt to me! Plenty of birds, and weather that's somewhere between "frozen solid pond" and "bluebird day."

mdmnm said...

Very nice! Every once in a while something unusual happens to brighten up even a good day. I'm sure your partner didn't begrudge that shot, I know I sure wouldn't!