A solid chunk of the time I would rather be dirty then clean. I would rather talk to my dog, then another human being and I would rather paddle a canoe, then travel by a gasoline powered engine.
The following adventure took place while I camped on an island on the Mississippi River near Ferryville (paradise) with my golden retriever Fire.
Friday, October 12th – High 63, low 40
No matter how old my truck is and how worn out every piece of gear that I own is, I have even less time then money. Today would be a classic example. Here is the plan, I was going to canoe three-miles to a maze of islands that I had only seen one time in my life, and that was when I came in from Iowa.
If I found the island I was looking for, I was going to build a quick camp that would be totally waterproofed (three inches of rain would fall over the 48 hours that I was living there). After building camp, I was going to build a quick duck blind for the following mornings, second opener of duck season.
First form of reality, my canoe is overloaded bulk and weight wise. Second form of reality, after building camp it was dark out (remember, less time then money). I built my duck blind in the dark with lodes of geese and ducks buzzing overhead.
Saturday, October 13th – High 54, low 39
The rain started at midnight and I had no concerns, my tent was tarped and I would be wearing chest waders and a rain jacket when outside of the tent.
Here is probably the biggest story of my 2012 fall, for myself. Back in August of 2011 my dog “Ice” died. Ice was Fire’s best friend and hopefully, future mate. When Ice died, Fire had an immediate reaction of vomiting and diarrhea that was followed by a three-month depression. In short, Fire who was 9-months old at the time, did not hunt last fall.
This trip was designated as my what can I do with this dog hunt! This morning, right after painting my face with mud, I paddled to my blind with Fire and at first light a barrage would begin with many ducks falling out of the sky on this part of the river.
I did not shoot a one and chose to head back to camp for lunch. I was eating spaghetti and sitting in the mud on the shoreline (I made and canned 56 quarts) when a flock of teal buzzed me and I said what the heck and dropped one. The green wing teal dropped on the other side of the island, across a channel and could not be seen as it was in some weeds. I told Fire to fetch and it took her 15 minutes to find it, but she did and brought it back to me and I was now a very happy camper!
I have pigeons at home that I use for training but this experience turned on the lights.
Later, I canoed to a new and improved spot with a freshly mudded over face, shot ducks, and Fire retrieved every one of them.
Tonight, it rained but I did not care, I read American Hunter and my Ducks Unlimited magazines under the light of a propane lantern, I even let Fire sleep on my cot with me.
Sunday, October 14th – High 51, low 41
I was painting mud on my face in the rain, long before first light. Oh yeah, I forgot any type of cup, so I am improvised and used a mandarin orange can as my coffee cup.
I hid next to my canoe and kept sinking in the mud and unfortunately very few ducks flew overhead. One unlucky teal did, I shot it and Fire fetched it.
I ended my hunt by jump shooting, which in this case was two-miles of floating/dragging my canoe. I harvested a beautiful drake woodduck and two other ducks that flew overhead.
While on what turned out to be an incredible workout for my 51-year-old body. I sailed a teal at least ¾’s of a mile and it landed in some duckweed next to an island. After I finished jump shooting I decided give a look for the teal and paddled over to where it fell. I had Fire swim and walk the heavy vegetation of the island while I dragged/floated the canoe.
Fire is my 6th golden retriever and I knew that she was on to something when her tail started wagging and she became very excited. I let her brain and nose do the work and just like that she found my duck. I will have pups with this the most, well behaved (for her age) just about two-year-old that I have ever owned.
When I got back to camp, my energy was in trouble, I ate spaghetti out of the same cast iron pan for the third time, broke camp in a solid rain and paddled back to Ferryvile wishing that I could stay a week.
Looking for a 65-pound plus male, that comes from hunting stock, is well mannered and has a brain! Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Ormson’s SuperValu