I got home from work around 12:30 last night, and by the time I got loaded (the truck, that is) and took care of a few other things, I figured it wasn't worth trying to sleep for an hour and a half. Headed out and was at the spot I drop in a little before 5. Talked with another guy who has hunted the area for years for a while waiting on his buddy, and we were both a little surprised that we were the only two there. The last couple years on the opener there've been seven or eight groups of guys, one on top of the other in this spot. The guy who commandeered my spot all last year wasn't in it, so I was able to canoe to it and set up, and was standing on shore at 5:30 all set up and waiting for shooting time. I drank some coffee, and listened to the spooky noises that were behind me.
Shooting time came, and nothing. The first shots I heard were actually ten minutes or so after legal shooting time which I've never experienced before on any opener. I didn't see a single duck until right around sun-up. About fifteen minutes later a Drake Woodie came in and I took my only shot of the day.
I let the downed bird sit out there while I waited for the birds to come out of an adjoining swamp like they always do, but, no birds. A little over an hour later I decide that I should probably go get that woodie. I set my gun in the canoe and start to get in. Those of you that have met, or have hunted with me know, or probably have assumed that I am not exactly a nimble, light-on-my-feet kind of guy. Someone has leaked this to the Western Zone ducks apparently. While I am attempting to get into the canoe, with one foot on shore, and the other in the canoe, after I had already set my gun in the canoe, the birds get the all clear from some Recon Duck scouting my position, and make a break for it. I stand there helpless and gunless as ducks fly twenty yards away from me.
After they move by I grab my gun quickly while making my best effort not to go ass-over-teakettle into the drink (the water is still way to warm for my yearly bath). I stand there at the ready, and nothing flies by. Twenty minutes or so later I decide that there are no more birds in that swamp, and ease my fat butt into the canoe. I paddle out and pick up my duck. As I'm paddling back through the decoys I hear a motor moving very quickly in my direction. A bass boat is coming my way at about forty miles an hour and pushing a bunch of ducks in front of him. I am sitting in the middle of my spread, and the ducks come at me, split into two perfect groups, and fly 60 yds on either side.
I get back to shore, stash the canoe, and take up one of my new hobbies, "water-watching". I quit around 9:30. The other guys I know managed a woodie and a mallard. I did pass on one hen Mallard that was well within range.
Not much shooting for the opener at all by anyone, but at the same time, alot less morons out there.
I haven't gotten that wet in a long, long time. I had pockets that were zipped up on my parka that were full of water.
Now for the good news. I just saved a bunch of money on my...........seriously though, I've been having trouble with my dog picking up the frozen birds I had left from last year. I let her out and after she took a big steamy crap right in the middle of the driveway (at least it wasn't the truck or the boat) I tossed the Woodie a couple feet away from me. She picked it right up and walked over to me. I threw it a buch more times and she retrieved it like she had been doing it for years. I have been really frustrated about her not picking up frozen ducks and fresh geese, but that was a huge weight off my shoulders, and makes up for the not-so-great hunting today. Hopefully she'll make her first real retrieve this saturday.