Yep, that's right, over the hill, the big fifty, as in 5-OHMG! I made it and boy what a memorable 50th. birthday it was with my best (4 legged) friend Jet. As you all know the weather has been anything but "ducky" this season and the past weekend was no exception. The low temp down to 23 degrees and the afternoon highs around 50 or so. Just cold enough to put a thin covering of ice along the edge of the Klamath River and a little thicker ice layer in the ditches. Plus she had her new vest that was a birthday gift from my friend Dan. Lucky dog. Oh, and he gave me 2 boxes of steel shot #7's too. Thanks Dan, we both loved our gifts!
It was Jet and I on another all woman hunt. We got up earlier than needed, excited as usual. Jet is always happy to get up early and eat a bowl of chow, then catch another hours sleep before heading out. Such a Lab! So it was and we left the cabin at 0625 and got into position at what we call, Porto's Point along the banks of the Klamath River. So named for a member who loved to hunt divers there. Anyhow, the weather was clear and a thin skin of ice paralleled the banks of the river. Varying in width from 15 to 50 feet or so depending on the prevailing current. Thankfully the ice was thin enough for Jet to swim through and other than being cold, didn't pose a safety risk to her. So we were in position for yet another, golden sunrise along the banks of the Klamath River.
A pair of Scaup whizzed over the water just out of range as the sky began to lighten. Just about shooting time and the next fly by was going to be sighted at the end of my barrels. BOOM, BOOM ahh sh--! Scaup I missed, darn it. The next was a single about 20 feet high out over the river. A big duck, and as I squeezed the trigger and it dropped stone cold dead I was scratching my head as to what species? Ummm I thought, white breast, dark upper with white wing patches, yet not a Merg; Oh it's a Drake Goldeneye! Wow what the heck are they doing here so early I wondered to myself? There must have been a cold snap way up North for them to be here already. Good enough, I am all to happy to have Goldeneyes around. The next fly by was a pair of hen Buffs (Buffleheads) just off the deck by about 10 feet high, I missed my first shot and got'em both on my second. Known as a "French double", why? I have no idea. On with my story. . . More Buff's flying low. Dropped a single then another French double. This time a hen and a drake Buff, very cool. Jet was doing great with the 6 swimming retrieves so far. It was approaching 0900 and I was getting hungry and thinking about heading back to the cabin. Discussing my thoughts with Jet (this is a team effort, you know) she was in agreement. Just then here came another whistler (Goldeneye) and I whirled around just in time to drop my second Goldeneye of the day and season. This time a hen, wow a pair of Common Goldeneyes. What a fantastic morning hunt and it wasn't even o930 yet. It doesn't get any better than this I thought.
A limit of divers and we didn't put even a single decoy in the river. That was pretty cool, plus Jet got to field (swim) test her new vest and found it to her liking. Especially on the last few ducks she was getting a bit tired. They were long swims for her. So we enjoyed our casual walk along the river dike heading back to the cabin. Jet was running up and back and happy to be moving again. Also she was quite pleased with her performance, and rightly so. She still doesn't like sitting in one place very long. At least not until about day 3 when she is tired. Then she's happy to lay down and sleep through most of the hunt. That is until there's a retrieve to be made, then she will gladly pitch in.
So we got back to the cabin and I made some coffee and gave her a light snack. Then spent some time processing the mornings bounty and appreciating the hunt. After that I fixed myself a nice Venison backstrap brunch with some eggs, home fried poatatoes, toast and another cup of strong coffee. This is what we call; Pig Out and Pass Out, for obvious reasons. None the less it is getting on about 12:30 and I still have my afternoon Snipe hunt to get ready for.
Don't go far, part 2 is just around the bend.
Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt