First Duck In A Decade
Saturday, October 17 started out with high hopes. I could tell it would be a sunny day out since I could see the stars in the early morning sky as I loaded the dogs into the truck. I left St. Paul on the way for a farm about 30 minutes west of Albert Lea. Sure enough as the sun came up I could see blue skies. When I hit Owatonna I could see clouds to the south and sure enough as I hit Albert Lea it started to rain. I got off the freeway and headed back north to Owatonna and another farm I had lined up.
As we got to the farm I could see that the corn was still up and the beans were still in. We tried working the edges of the crops and cover. After about 30 minutes Marge’s beeper went into beep mode. I struggled to get through the thick cover.. I couldn’t through quick enough and I heard the rooster cackle out the other side. We continued to work this farm for another hour and didn’t get any other bird action. We moved to a small 40 acre patch of crp another 15 minutes south. This parcel looks really good but I have yet to see a bird there. I keep trying it because it looks so nice. We didn’t see anything again. Off to the first planned farm. This area is west of Albert Lea and consists of two 40 acre units across a dirt road from each other. I started with the south portion as we’ve seen birds there on a regular basis. The beans were still in along 3 sides of it and the corn was up across the road. There is a U shaped area of heavy brush with cattails in the center and thinner crp cover on the outside. The dogs were working the inside of the U and I was walking the outside I saw a couple of hens get up a little ways out and then a rooster. I took a shot, longer than I usually take, and the bird kept going. We worked the rest of the way around the U and put up 4 more hens, a doe, and a nice buck. I switched guns to a waterfowl legal one and grabbed some steel shot and went across the road to the other parcel. In years where there is good rain this parcel has a small pond at the back of it and since we’ve had a lot of rain this fall I thought I’d take a look. We made out way to the back of the unit and I got down low as we approached the edge of the pond. There was quite a bit of heavy cover so I was able to get right to the edge before I stood up. The ducks saw me and took off. I got off a shot at one and was able to drop it. Tina decided she didn't want to go into the water to retrieve it so I went sloshing though the shallow end and got the duck and was happy to have worn Goretex. It is the first duck I’ve gotten in over a decade. I haven’t tried for any in that time but it was fun to get one.
We reworked both the sections in hopes of being able to make it a multi-species day but to no avail. We did put up another rooster but he got up and out through some thick stuff and I chose not to make the shot. It was a fun day but a lot of driving. Almost 300 miles of driving by the time we made it back home.
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