by Mark Walters
Youth Duck Hunt 2014
Here is the scoop! My daughter Selina is 13, her golden retriever “Fire” is four and the three of us are off for a three-day adventure for Wisconsin’s “Youth Duck Hunt”.
Friday, September 19th
High 73, low 44
Life is good! The three of us are riding in a nice truck, I am pulling an enclosed trailer that is loaded with gear and on top of the truck is our 17-foot canoe. Yesterday, I purchased a 12-gauge shotgun for Selina, which will replace my dads old Remington 1100, which has been a great gun for her but is worn out and only shoots 2 ¾ inch shells.
Our destination is Sportsmen’s Lake, which is located near Owen in Clark County and is a beautiful piece of water where I have had very good luck duck hunting in past years.
Late today, we went scouting by canoe on Sportsmen’s Lake and stayed on the water until dark. We did not really see any ducks until dark, but had high hopes that there would be plenty of action in the morning.
Tonight, we were both tired so dinner consisted of a jar of homemade salsa and granola bars while watching a sky that was literally filled with lightning bolts from storms that were just to the north.
Saturday, September 20th
High 72, low 53
My daughter, Selina, can wake up in any outdoor situation, dress properly for the conditions, and enjoy her day. This morning the two of us, along with Fire, were paddling our canoe long before daylight and had decoys set up with plenty of time to relax before legal shooting.
A bit of a side note, Wisconsin had an early teal season, which was held the first week of September. This teal season was a first and many duck hunters have been wondering how it might affect the traditional late September opener. Here is what Selina and I witnessed. The unmistakable and pleasant sound of waterfowl flying overhead, long before night became day. When legal shooting began Selina did not come close to getting a shot.
We did paddle to a nearby creek, set up our decoys, and Selina made an excellent shot on a mallard (her only shot at a duck) and Fire made a rusty but completed blind retrieve.
I knew by 9:00 a.m. if Selina was going to get some shooting, that we were going to have to hunt somewhere else so I made some calls and was told of a marsh by Marshfield that can be a duck factory, so we pulled decoys, loaded everything up, and headed to “duck paradise”
Bad luck came our way when after one hour of wading through ankle to waist deep water; it became completely overgrown with brush and totally canoe inaccessible.
So now it is 2:00 p.m. and I have to come up with a plan for the afternoon hunt. I made some calls, looked at my map, and made a 50-mile drive over to a marsh in Monroe County that requires a long but beautiful canoe trip down a creek.
About all I can say is that as Selina and I entered duck paradise, we watched dozens if not hundreds of wood duck. We set out our decoys and had two hours to hunt (remember, only Selina is shooting). Selina only fired four shells and connected twice on a pair of woodies. I believe Fire will have an excellent fall and if you are interested I will be having her bred this late fall when she comes into heat. On that same matter, I am looking for a good stud.
Tonight, we had no idea where we were going to pull our rig and sleep as we were going to return for the morning hunt. Well after dark, I backed our house on wheels down a forested trail; we lit the Coleman lantern, and were almost immediately hit by a hard and very wet storm.
The next morning, all the ducks that we watched the day before were gone, and Selina did not get a bird today.
The three of us went home and were completely exhausted and watched the Packers get smacked by the Lions.
It was a great trip! Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Cedar Country Cooperative