An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 10-2-2013

by Mark Walters

Mississippi Duck Hunt

Hello friends,

On almost a weekly basis I write to you about the go-for-it attitude of many of my friends and family when we get together for our outdoor adventures.

This past week I returned to the Mississippi River, near Ferryville, for the opening weekend of duck season.

There were 15 of us on us this trip, including my 12-year-old daughter Selina, eleven young men between the age of 18-25, my good buddy Jeff Moll, and my brother-in law Dick Schuster.

I started doing this trip with my dad and brothers 42 years ago and will continue doing it until I can no longer physically handle it.

Friday, September 20th
High 72, low 48

One by one the gang arrived at our island, with the first group arriving last night and building camp in the rain.  Today, when Selina, myself, and my stepson Travis Dushek showed up to our homemade landing, it looked like a marina with well over a dozen canoes, kayaks, jon boats and v hulls filling it to the brim.

Our camp was made up of ten tents and everyone was wearing knee boots due to lots of mud.

Travis, Selina, and I cut willow brush and took a long boat ride in our search of duck paradise, where once it was found, we would build temporary blinds for the weekend.

When we made it back to camp, it was dark, and there was powerful energy, as everyone in camp is well aware that this is one of the funnest campfires that they will enjoy in a years time.

Each hunter bought something to contribute and we had a spaghetti dinner and lots of laughs.

Late in the night it was time for some serious mud wrestling and yours truly once again proved that the brain cells must be leaking out when he sleeps.

I wrestled 20-year-old Grant Wandler, in an incredibly physical match and also took on Joey Gillis who is 23.  The next morning and this very moment, I have several nasty injuries.  As much pain as I may be in, the thrill of those fights between friends was incredible.

Saturday, September 21st
High 74, low 46

Selina and I were sitting comfortably in a canoe long before the 9:00 a.m. opener and something that we both noticed, was that there were not very many ducks flying around at least not in comparison to past years.

This would be the first year where both Selina and I could carry a gun and Selina would be using my dads Remington 1100 and I would be shooting one very worn out Remington 1187.

About 9:30 we had our first real action, which was a flock of teal. Selina was the only shooter and she dropped one with her first shot, from that point on, all was well in our world.

I have watched this piece of marshy backwaters for over four decades and have never seen so few ducks in the sky on opening day.

Tonight, we had our traditional duck over the campfire dinner and everyone was exhausted.

Sunday, September 22nd
High 73, low 42

Not everyone had low duck numbers yesterday.  My buddy Jeff Moll and his 19-year-old son Ross (who would win the coveted duck contest) shot ten birds and this morning Selina and I hunted near them.

Selina harvested her first drake wood duck and later when the rest of the gang went home, the four us did the evening hunt and Selina bagged another drake wood duck and a teal.

Everyone in this gang talks about this trip throughout the year, the elders have been selective about who we have added and we have been fortunate to create a group of fun, hard working, and honorable hunters.

Next year I am gonna take on Gillis and Wandler at the same time!  Sunset

THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Cedar Country Cooperative.