Duck season has arrived in Southern Ontario. So just like many other crazed, sleep deprived hunters, Dave and I got up well before dawn to head out on the water to take part in the tradition. This time around we had decided to try a new spot on the banks of the Rideau System. Granted, Heading to a new spot on opening day is gamble, but we felt it was less so seeing as how we had done a fairly extensive online scouting and Dave had made a quick trip days before. The spot look good. Really, good. There seemed to be shallow water around with a good section of weedlines and cattails for blinds. Lots of open water nearby and good views for spotting incoming ducks. Overall we liked our chances.
We arrived just as dawn was beginning to chase the night away only to be immediately dismayed with a number of other trucks and trailers parked at our access point. Gamble made and lost…Apparently we weren’t the only ones who had noticed how good the spot looked.
But we aren’t ones to give up easy so we loaded the canoe with our decoys and gear and headed out to find a useable spot. We noticed lots of activity in the areas we planned to hunt so we were forced to settle on a secondary location located in a small shallow bay facing south. Duck hunting always seems to be filed with such a promise of action and today was no different, so regardless of the large number of hunters out there, our hopes remained high as we set up our decoys Taking a page out of some recent articles I read, we also threw in a goose decoy just for confidence. You never know when a lone honker will stop to see what’s going on with your spread.
Then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. Bangs were going off all around us like the fourth of July but there just didn’t seem to be any birds near us that were in range. I started to wonder if the folks around us were getting little too liberal with judging weather or not a shot was makeable. I can’t really blame them though, I seem to think I can shoot farther on opening day too…..
After tiring of the lack of useable action and hearing about 300$ worth of shells being shot around us we decided to take a walk around the property and do some scouting for future trips. We knew lots of birds were flying around and with the amount of shooting going on there had to be birds at lower elevations in and around more alluring locations. As fate would have it, our luck changed and we stumbled upon a weedier section and even got a shot off at a fleeing duck we had stirred up.
We definitely took some lessons away from the hunt with regards to location and have a better idea how to position next time.
As a consolation prize, we came across a wide variety of animals that kept us amused during the lulls. At one point I was seriously considering taking up squirrel hunting!
Possibly the best part of the trip was the forgeables we had stumbled upon. Our blind was practically over grown with wild grapes and chokecherry bushes. Not only are these fruits useful, they make great cover against wary waterfowl eyes.
The biggest surprise was the apples though. There seemed to be trees upon trees covered in the delicious treat. We picked and ate several while we hiked around the property and took a bunch back for apple sauce and jelly.
Overall the day was enjoyable even if we weren’t bringing birds back with us. Often its just getting out that the most enjoyable part of it all.
Cheers from the blind