this isn't gonna sound like much of a duck hunt to most of you guys but for me it was incredible.
i was hunting on wilson lake in kansas last year and the temps were in the low single digits. they had been in a drought for a good while out that way and the shoreline was bare of vegetation where the water had receeded. in other words nowhere to hide. i found a large rock pile near the waters edge and piled brush on top of it to make a blind. the wind was howling about 30 miles an hour and had kept the water open in a part of the lake known as hell creek.
i began to place my decoys when i noticed my dog gracie lou was nowhere to be found (she normally stays right by my side). in the twilight something caught my eye about 40 yards off shore. gracie lou had decieded to take a swim out to a sand bar. burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. i called her back in and just as we got in place a couple of red heds buzzed the decoys just as i poured a cup of coffee.
as the sun came up one lone hen mallard landed right in the deeks and swam around right in front of me. i watched her for a while and had to stand up to stretch my legs she rose and flew away.
the wind began to die and ice began to form and spread from the back of the cove toward my deeks. about 15 mallards came in behind me and i hit the call a lick a got them to circle twice before they landed in some coots on the other side of the cove. i picked up the whistle and made a widgeon call and one lone mallard came off the water and flew right at me. about 15 yards out i hit him with some number 4 heavy shot and stoped him dead nearly taking his head clean off. gracie lou my 3 year old chocolate lab hit the water with a fast retrieve.
i sat there for about 2 hours and the ice had progessed all around me except fpr the hole right around the decoys that i had tried to keep busted.
i was about to pack it in when one lone red head passed right by me. i stood up and killed him dead. (that heavy shot is some good stuff). he hit the ice and began to slide until he hit open water and he tumbled a few times and came to rest.
now for the incredible part of the hunt......when i sent gracie lou she bolted from the rock pile and started across the ice, slipped and fell, got back up and continued until falling through the ice. she would try to pull herself back onto the ice and it would collapse and she would do it over and over again breaking ice all the way to open water and the a short swim to the bird. coming back to me she took a diffent route and had to repeat the ice breaking process untill the ice was sturdy enough to support her weight..
upon recieving that bird i packed up my stuff headed back in and gracie lou lay in my front seat exausted. the next day gracie lou had two cuts on her feet and was kinda stove up and i decieded i would come home.(things were freeezing up tight) it wasn't until about mid ways of that drive that i realized that i had witnessed the greatest retrieve that i would ever see and for the rest of my life it will be my most memorable hunt.