For starters I would like to throw a big thank you out to suicidal_scaup, doubletheshovel, and firefighter4231 for sharing their blinds with me on the first weekend. It was my first hunt with suicidal_scaup and doubletheshovel, and both were very generous hosts. Day 1
Alright, so after some anticipation I received Ginger on the the Thursday prior to the hunt. So to ease her into the new surroundings we started off with a nice local brew, and ironed out details with doubletheshovel and suicidal_scaup for the Saturday AM hunt.
Come friday we were on the road to doubletheshovel's place in central MN.
We met at doubletheshovel's place and got things settle for the morning hunt. Scaup's wife was pleased to find out that this "random" guy her husband was going hunting with wasn't "a crazy murderer". In the AM we got an early jump on things to hit up a local public lake. Scaup took us accross the lake to end a breezy night. Our destination was wide on a cattail covered point. Doubletheshovel had been seeing a few birds in the area, but things are always little sketchy this time of year in MN. The early morning started partly clear but quickly gave way to some clouds as we tossed the dekes out. After getting the spread out we pushed Scaup's rig into the cattails and brushed it up for the day. They quickly learned my meticulous nature when it comes to getting things covered up.
Once the blind was greened up a bit we settled in for breakfast. Scaup spared no expense and pulled out his wife's prized griddle to make breakfast. I'll trust she's no DHC fan and that I haven't let the cat out of the bag. Here's the last bite of a solid egg/sausage sammich. It beat the hell out of the cheap cereal bars I usually take with me.
It wasn't long after the smell of sausage hit my nose that we started hearing the beautiful sound of wings whistling over our heads, just a couple yards above the tips of the cattails. The birds kept flying fairly regularly from about an hour before shooting and the anticipation grew as we listened to them between cracking jokes and sharing memories of past hunts. As LST hit the frequency of birds diminished somewhat but there was still a number of teal and wood ducks working our side of the lake. It only took a few minutes for a group of birds to dropped in over the dekes. After a quick round of shots 3 woodies hit the water. It was a good start.
With the clouds came rain and limited some of the photo opportunities, but here's a quick blurry shot of the spread. Ol' Ginger was on the outside of the spread drawing them in.
The rain continued and wind kept up throughout the AM. We scratched out a couple more wood ducks, and then had some teal skirted the decoys. A couple of shots and one green-wing fell. Scaup hopped out after the teal and brought it back to the boat. In one of those can't forget moments, Scaup tossed he teal to the boat, but as the bird reached the edge of the blind its wings spread and it took off as though it had never been hit. I was a bit slow on the uptake but doubletheshovel drew a bead on the bird and dropped it. It wasn't the first itme I have seen a bird "come to", but nevertheless it added a great memory to the trip. Plus, it was confirmation that doubletheshovel could actualluy hit what he was shooting at.
We wrapped up the hunt with a straggler woodie and hen mallard. At least that was just before doubletheshovel's buddy hopped out to walk through some potholes behind us. We heard a quick round of shots, and he returned with a prized and often discounted wily american coot. We said we wanted to put some numbers in the boat and he didn't disappoint.
At the end of the day we had a great safe hunt, and I made some good friends that share our same passion for the sport of waterfowling. Here are the day's results with, from left to right, Scaup, myself, and doubletheshovel.
We didn't take the waterfowling world by storm but we have a solid hunt, shared some good stories, and established some new friendships. I'd hunt with those guys again any day.