As the orange sun began to set on the blue and gray North Dakota sky, I was truly amazed at what I was experiencing. Standing next to our truck, I watched in utter disbelief as hundreds upon hundreds of ducks, (pintails, mallards, wigeon) and other species starting descending into the surrounding potholes. A few hours earlier, I had been dropped off by a fellow hunter to hunt at a pothole about 1000 yards away.
As we drove up, the sound of the ATV sent mallards flying, more than I had ever seen in one spot with my own eyes in my 27 years on this earth. The sound of that many sets of wings bursting into flight is one that I will never forget. I was so excited! I had finally arrived and was in waterfowl heaven.
It didn’t take long, maybe 15 minutes or so and the ducks started coming back in, small groups of 4 or so. I had put out a few decoys and with a little, very little persuasion on the call, the ducks would circle and begin their descent to the water in front of me. At first, some landed out of range, but it wasn’t long when a fat ol’ greenhead locked up and came right down in front of me. The retort of the shotgun sent the duck falling to the water with a splash. This is when things got interesting. So the issue had been settled.
As the hours past, ample shooting opportunities presented themselves and I was able to pick out greenhead after greenhead. What a tremendous opportunity! Being reared in Alabama, sights such as this are rarely, if ever, seen. Yes, we may have wood ducks and a mallard or two grace our hunts, but I had never experienced anything of this magnitude in my waterfowl hunting pursuits. As so often happens, time was not our friend and the daylight started to wane.
As shooting light began to fade we gathered our decoys and began to make our way out. A limit of mallards on one shoulder, a shotgun on the other, and a bag of decoys on my back, I strode up to the ATV with a big smile on my face. (I have a big smile now, as I replay this in my mind.) We reached the truck, loaded up our gear, and turned to watch the festival of parading flocks as they made their way to their resting places. I was a spectator of nature, raw and undisturbed as the sun sank low. I was blessed to be able to hunt for a few more days in this lush waterfowl environment. However, I will never forget that first afternoon hunt and the desire to pursue for our feathered friends still flows vigorously through my veins……….I wish I was there right now!