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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As we get older some memories fade quicker than others and I came upon this gem while perusing my old communications with friends. I have one good friend with whom I will often share with who just as often proclaims to me that "everyone has a story" He is right and some are worth sharing....I know this site does not get much traffic anymore but I would like to implore some of you to share a story from the past, dredge up and dust off and relive the defining memories of the past which have taken us from where we once were to where we are today. MY son is now 26 and lives in Utah....I can't express how much it would mean to me to have him come back and spend another day in the field.

With no further a due...here's one of mine......feel free to add one of your own!

The junior hunt we had up at Modoc was great.

It was really cold, frost/fog forming but you could still see the stars directly overhead. The mercury pushed the thermometer to 27 degrees, so Stephens feet got a bit cold, and I spent a lot of time trying to keep him warm. I took off his waders and put his feet in my jacket, I used hand warmers to place on his feet as well but it was too cold and they didn't last. I let him put his feet on my bare back as I crouched down in front of him....what are dads for! LMAO!!!!

Because we were dealing with the feet issue and it was also foggy we were not ready for the majority of birds that came by. They were quick to appear and disappear out of the fog. It would have even been quick shooting for me. Luckily there were 100's of birds so we never had to wait too long. I would say he shot at about 1 out of every 20 or so that came by. Either we were not in a position with the gun loaded, because we were dealing with his feet or they were too quick. I ended up wrapping his feet in two jackets and that also limited his ability to stand up and move around much. The birds pretty much had to come in perfect for him to get a good shot and not have to twist around to follow them. In-spite of all that he TOTALLY crunched his first bird with his first shot, a Gadwall. He also crunched the second bird with his second shot..a GW teal Two shots two birds!!! A chip off the old block! He he he he! Forget that 1 in 20 comment I "chipped" in with earlier!

He ended up shooting two more mallards and also a cinnamon teal 40 shots later LOL.

We had multiple opportunities at Honkers but he only got the one. We had three come right straight over at 25 yds! Another difficulty was that he was shooting my 20 ga over and under. I wanted him to shoot it as it shoots 3" shells. However he had some trouble mounting it as the LOP is a bit long for him as a ten year old needs a short stock. The additional time he needed to mount the gun affected his ability to get on and track birds especially compounded by the fog situation early in the morning. Once he got it up he did real well and he was exercising and practicing safety which we talked about a lot. He missed a few opportunities forgetting to take his safety off..but it was a great opportunity to talk about how safety is more important than the bird that just flew by. Plus there will be more in a few minutes. We also had the dog break a few times and he held off as the dog ran out in front of him between a low landing bird. Which made me more proud and gave us another opportunity to talk about safety.

When he did finally connect with the honker he hit it on his second shot. He wing tipped it busting the outer portion of its right wing. It still could fly, barely, but it couldn't stay in the air. We could see it was going down! I stood up and encouraged the dog to start after it and follow it as it was going down. My son Stephen pumped his little fist and said something that sounded like a war cry from some ancient indian language! How cool is that! Here's where it got fun....

As the dog went up to the honker, the bird started to flap and take off. Between the size of the bird and the fact that my dog hasn't retrieved any geese to my knowledge..he was a bit intimidated and turned around and started coming back to me! The bird got up in the air and made a half circle staying in the pond we were in but landing about 100 yds out in front of us. I tried to send the dog again but it was clear at that point that he needed some moral support to complete the task.

Now I am standing about 10 yds off the island watching the bird at the same time I am watching my dog come back to me. I am also realizing that I have a son standing on the island with bare feet wrapped in two jackets and that he is the only one who can go out with a gun and finish the job if need be! So...I tell him to get his waders on as soon as possible and bring the gun out into the pond and catch up with me. I plan on tracking and/or corralling the bird as best I can maintaining him within sight until my son can get there. As I walk across the pond my dog is now out in front of me doing his best rendition of coursing the area back and forth at 30 yds. Great, he wants to be a pheasant dog when I needed a long range aggressive retriever. I am still not yet sure we are going to be able to get this bird as it flew well enough, if it made its mind up to get away, it could half flying/flopping make better time than we would be able to. Luck was with us as the bird laid its head down flat on the water and tried to do the you can't see me snake swim to get away. After about 100 yds the dog picked up it's scent and started to track it down, we were in a newly flooded pickleweed field that was flooded only about 8" deep so it wasn't going to dive and disappear and it made for easier walking for us than if it had been deeper. The dog ran up on the bird and pinned it down but wouldn't retrieve it. I tried encouraging him then decided to turn around and feign walking away, back to the island. Instead of him waiting with the bird for me to come and get it he finally picked it up and brought it to me. GOOD BOY!

I met my son about 1/2 way back who put on his waders in record time. Before, that morning in the motel room, he couldn't get them on by himself. As he came to meet us I noticed one thing missing, he didn't have his gun! I told him that we may have needed to shoot the bird again and that I had told him to bring the gun with him. Between the excitement and the attention span of a 10 year old, which mirrors that of a ferret, he must have forgotten those instructions? In any event he wanted to carry the bird, practically insisting, which I would have let him do anyway. We high fived and he had a smile as wide as the grand canyon all the rest of that morning. Funny how those cold feet just disappeared and the level of anticipation of getting another crack at a honker just went up about three notches on the scale. We took some pictures, hauled our days harvest back to the truck and talked about the many memories and opportunities that the day afforded. I could tell as he was sleeping peacefully on the front truck seat on the long ride home that all those honkers were dropping with single shot reports in the dreamland of a 10 yr old boy, my son and my new partner for life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Boy you guys sure would be a hoot around a campfire......馃槙馃


"I know this site does not get much traffic anymore, but I would like to implore some of you to share a story from the past, dredge up and dust off and relive the defining memories of the past which have taken us from where we once were to where we are today."
 
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