I am still glowing from a final duck hunting weekend of pure unparalleled satisfaction...
I have no idea how or why it happened, but in all honesty, I thought it never would...
Last season (Nov '10), I discovered a white widgeon using a familiar coastal bay in Oregon. I know the bay well, how to hunt it, and the patterns of the birds in almost every possible condition. This particular bird spent most of it's time on tidal flats (in very large groups of it's kind)...always remaining out of the range of even the best of skybusters. Although I located it three different times that year in the spotting scope, and managed to snap a picture or two of the "ghost widgeon", I truly believed that harvesting it would be nearly impossible.
The last time I saw this bird was in November of 2010, and I was glad to have taken these pictures of it as a great memory, even if they were grainy and blurry, and taken from too far away.
Fast forward to this year...Sat. to be specific. Dad and I were in layout blinds, with a field spread of fullbodies, hunting a puddle of receding water (a day later than we should have been). The widgeon wanted in (big flocks of them in fact), but I could tell that with the water dropping as quickly as it was, we had better make our shots count. It wouldn't last long, and they would be headed back to the bay as quickly as they came.
After the opening morning flurry, and a few nice drakes already on the ground, a group of one hundred plus widgeon circled a few times before banking in on the dekes. One in particular stuck out. As I raised my gun for a right to left 35 yard shot at a very large group of fast moving birds, the excitement inside of me paralleled any that I have ever experienced in my almost 20 year waterfowling career.
Now I have have had some great shoots in my life, scouted for and successfully killed some very neat birds; both geese and ducks, but this moment was once in a lifetime. I knew it as it was happening, and can still play back the moment in slow motion of my mind.
The trusty 870 barked once and I saw my prize heading for the flooded field at my feet. Could it really be true?
It was so...
At my feet lay countless hours of scouting. At my feet lay a prize. At my feet lay a dream bird.
At my feet lay.... the "ghost widgeon".
What a fantastic ending to a memorable year in the marsh!!!