What can go wrong will.
Well, my first early migratory season is over. Today was my last chance to hunt. What I am about to relate to you I would normally never admit. But seeing that it was such a complete and total, catastrophic failure, I will swallow my pride and hide behind anonymity to give you veterans a good hoot.
3:00 AM – Rise
3:30 AM – Packed and on the road
5:00 AM – Arrive on site
5:05 AM – Stare into the darkness in absolute awe to the sound of what appears to be no less than the honks of 1000 geese. No joke.
5:30 AM – Canoe packed with gear and disembarking
5:45 AM – Paddle ¼ mile through thick marsh to destination in total darkness. Scare no less than 100 geese off the water and who knows how many ducks.
5:46 AM – Come to the realization that I left the decoys in the car
5:47 AM – Start ¼ mile journey back through marsh. Scatter a modest 25 more geese and ducks from area.
6:00 AM – Arrive at car only to realize that I never packed the decoys.
6:05 AM – Attempt to board boat and remain calm.
6:06 AM – Lose footing and fall into water. Jump up and tighten up wade belt. Remove wader straps to lose excess water that is leaking below wader belt.
6:07 AM – Come to the realization that the unknown splash I heard in the mayhem was my iPhone hitting the water and now sitting on the bottom of the marsh.
The iPhone is 1 day old.
6:08 AM – Collect my senses and convince myself to push on, no iPhone, no decoys
6:09 AM – Make the ¼ mile journey back to the spot.
6:30 AM – Setup in the dense vegetation with modest light coming on. Realize there are 4 teal within 20 feet. Go into cat-mode for silence.
6:31 AM – Scare 4 teal off while loading shotgun. Realize that without decoys the chance of bagging more teal has plummeted to near zero.
6:35 – 7:00 AM – Sit quietly and try to enjoy the scenery and forget the complete debacle that has just occurred. Still in complete amazement over what still sounds like 1000 geese honking nearby. Getting extremely excited hearing the scratchy sounds of the nearby Teal mixing in with the honkers.
7:05 AM – The first flock of 15 or so geese fly right overhead. Resist all temptation to shoot before shoot-time.
7:10 AM – The second flock of 15 or so geese fly right overhead. Resist all temptation to shoot before shoot-time.
7:15 AM – Shooting time - Constantly scanning skyline and marsh with binoculars for any movement. Not a bird in sight.
7:25 AM – First set of honkers start coming my way.
7:26 AM – Realize shotgun is loaded with 6 Shot for teal. Scramble like hell to load BB (Anti-Aircraft Rounds) for oncoming geese. Manage to drop at least one shell into the Marsh.
7:27 AM – Gun is loaded Geese are directly overhead. Peal off 3 rounds. Miss everything. Scare the ever loving hell out of any duck within a ¼ mile. Watch them all bugger off into the morning light.
7:28 AM – Realize my middle finger is killing me on my trigger hand because I hastily mounted the shotgun for the geese and the BB round kicked and cracked my finger. Take glove off, stare at swelling and bruise. Drop glove in water. Pick glove up.
7:45 AM – See ducks coming in the distance. Quickly load 6 shot steel shells. Wait silently; realize through binocs, they are Woodies. No desire to repeat previous mistake.
8:00 AM – Watch at least 10,000 (no joke) small black marsh birds kick up out of the marsh and start buggering off. They fly right over my head. The exodus must have lasted 10 minutes. It was right out of Alfred Hitchcock.
8:15 AM – Hear honkers coming in the distance, from behind the tree line to my back.
8:16 AM – Realize I have 6 shot loaded. Scramble to load anti-aircraft rounds.
8:17 AM – Finalize load. Geese overhead, rip off 3 rounds and miss every shot.
8:20 AM – Realize it’s a good time to change position to get closer to where most of the ducks have been flying since I've scared every bird away within 1/2 mile.
9:00 AM – At new position. See a couple teal come screaming in flying 3-5 ft over the marsh. I actually have the correct rounds loaded. Take 3 shots. Miss all of them.
9:15 AM – Miss 2 more geese.
9:30 AM – Come to the realization the day has been a catastrophic failure; start the journey back across the marsh to the car.
10:00 AM – Packing up the car, watch as 3 of the largest flocks of geese I have ever seen, some in a double V formation, numbering easily over 100 geese each fly high over head.
10:01 AM – Remember that my iPhone is at the bottom of the marsh and completely freak out.