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Mallard City

Here Come the Mallards

 

It is mallard city, almost.  The next day after the big weather push, members in the club hit the blinds again ready for a big shoot.  They were not disappointed.  The mallards were coming, but what was interesting, the birds were very young.  The traditional green head did not have a mature green head, but only partial and this is the sign of a young bird.

Still the boys had a great shoot and bagged seventeen mallards by 10 AM.  And now the rest of the day's story.  My friend John and his dog were out in the lake picking up a cripple and here they came.  I was not there, but I have verified the story from two people.  In the middle of the lake was John and his fine dog, Junior.  Here came twenty giant Canada Geese all locked up and ready to land in the water.  What do the hunters do.  Nothing of course because there is nothing to do but wait to see how it unfolds.

John grabbed Junior and stood still.  The birds hooked to the southwest and came back right over the top of the blind.  One hunter had a safe shot and took it, dropping the bird right near the blind.  The nineteen then went on their way.  It never fails.  You can wait and wait with a clear sky, but if you get out of the blind, the birds will show up.  I have hunted since I was a boy, and this always held true.

Junior bringing in a drake

The next morning the weather had totally moved out, and the wind was forcasted out of the west.  This was not the best conditions, but if you have time to go hunting, go.  A person should always remember that a bad day of hunting is better than a great day at work.

There were just two of us in the blind.  This man is one of my favorite people, and we had a lot to talk about in the blind.  There is nothing like great company whenever you hunt or fish.

As we walked up the path to the blind, geese on both sides of the walkway were startled and took off.  Farther up the walkway small groups of ducks were startled and headed to the north. We were in the blind well before daylight. We could just make out the shadows of the birds as they flew over the blind.  The wind was not from the west but more to the north. We did not have to move a decoy or re-set the wing decoys.

It was not long after shooting time when a group of birds started circling high above us.  We could hear the hens quack as they started to lock up and glide down toward the blind.  We did not call or make one bit of noise.  The plan was to be patient and wait to see if they would end up in front of us locked up and ready to land.  They would start from the south heading north and lock up. Then just before they were in gun range, they pumped up into the dark sky and circled overhead.  This happened several times, but the plan was to wait.  It was worth it.  Once they had flown north and and south of the blind without flaring, they locked up.  Meat was on the table.  This was a beautiful shot and demonstrated the patience of letting the birds be birds.  We never called one time.

 

Five nice young mallards



Once the ducks leave Canada, all they hear are duck calls and shotgun shells going off.  Several more groups of ducks worked the blind, but stayed high.  The feeling was they were local birds and their butts had been burned before at the club blind.

Then two Canadas came to the blind and they were really big.  It was as if they were blocking out the sun.  We harvested both of them. Each one must have been at least twelve pounds.

 

These are really nice big birds

While we were picking up the Canadas, here came three mallards.  We dropped down on our knees, the birds went behind us, and then came up from the south.  The locked up just south of the decoys and when in gun range, we dropped all three.

The drakes we picked up were not fully mature and could have been a late hatch. They also must have left their nesting ground early. This had been the consistent pattern with all the mallards shot since the first of November.

It was 9:30 AM, and the two of us had experienced a great morning.  We folded up by 10 AM.

This is as good as it can get.

 

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Good hunting, good fishing and good luck.  Hank

 

More Stories By Hank Huntington

Hank Huntington, Esq., is a native of southwest Iowa, healthcare professional, entrepreneur, accomplished pilot, hunting and fishing enthusiast, connoisseur, father and husband. He developed this web site for people to share their fun and excitement about the great outdoors. The best part of this hobby is, after a successful hunting or fishing trip, you are able to dine on fresh game or fish, after all, “ How do you eat a golf ball?” asks Hank. Hanks father and grandfather were both avid outdoorsmen so Hank learned his hunting and fishing skills from them and has passed the tradition down to the fourth generation. Plus the love of the outdoors, and a craving for exquisite dinning, would round out the package.

As a small boy, he fished a local oxbow lake formed by the Missouri River. The lake is primarily old river bottom mud, is not real clear, and has a lot of vegetation. The southeast corner holds a huge lily pad bed, and it was there Hank learned to drag through the water and across the tops of the pads, a Johnson Silver Minnow, with a pork rind attached. This was the place for big mouth bass, and there were lots of them, and young Hank loved to catch them.

At age of 12 Hank started going with his Dad hunting, and by age 14 he was an accomplished shooter with a 12-gauge pump. Shortly after that he was given his first shotgun a Winchester Model 12 pump; he still has it today. It looks like almost new, but the gun is never to be hunted again. Duck hunting in the late 50’s had little pressure after the first two weeks of the season, and when the north wind blew and it got really damp and cold, the big Canada Mallards came.

After graduation from high school, Hank attended Midland College in Fremont, Nebraska. There he met a fellow outdoorsman, and their friendship developed in the fields and streams of central Nebraska.

Hank had little time for hunting and fishing while attending professional school at Creighton University. After graduation he married his college sweetheart and they settled down to career, family, and as often as possible, hunting and fishing.

Hank and his family frequently flew their plane north to Canada to the legendary Canadian fly in lodges to fish for Northern and Walleye. Here he taught his son all the things his father had taught him about fishing. Most of the time the two went alone to the north woods, but when camping was not involved, his wife Pam went along. She always enjoys the fact that she has caught a bigger Northern Pike than Hank, and he has been fishing for 60 years. Today along the Missouri River valley, the deer population increased to the point that in many areas they are a nuisance. The duck, goose, and turkey has also population have also soared.

Area lakes have been well stocked. Many even have a walleye stocking program that makes outstanding fishing. Several are within easy driving distance of Hank’s lodge-like lakeside home. All packaged together is great dining. By the way, Hank harvests only what he will share at a table with family or friends.

Hank says, “Whenever I am on a lake, in the woods, or in the blind, I am always reminded of God’s great bounty and His constant presence. And whether in the great outdoors or at home with my wife, I strive to be a good steward of nature and all that God has given us.”

Good hunting! Good fishing! Good day!

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