Monday, September 27, 2010

Waterfowl Youth Day

I had the distinct pleasure, a few weekends ago, of sharing a duck blind with a father/daughter hunting team, who share my wild passion for waterfowl hunting. Needing assistance in organizing boats, decoys and finding a prime hunting location, these sports contacted me to make the arrangements. Arriving at the boat launch at 4:00 am, I was greeted by three very excited duck hunting animals. Piling into two small watercraft, we managed to safely transport all required gear to the duck blind without a single interesting tale to tell.

In Maine, the youth waterfowl opener occurs every year around mid September and offers kids 10-15 and under a fantastic opportunity to harvest early season ducks, before regular season hunting pressure makes them nervous as a mother hen. In addition Dad and/or Mom can enjoy hunting along side their son or daughter, possibly at the same time getting a chance to target members of our healthy resident Canada goose population.

Hunting with kids is always entertaining and this scenario certainly was filled with its fair share of laughter. Everything from lost hunters needing gas for depleted outboards, an unscheduled early morning swim and an over active Labrador retriever that dropped something so vile, it had me gagging for 4 hours.

Watching Jordan's uncoordinated attempts to take a mallard out of the air, with her youth model over under Stoger 20 g, had me smiling, remembering a time long ago when I to was learning the finer points of marksmanship. With a high degree of patience, her Dad directed how to effectively mount, acquire a moving target, calculate lead and fire. Jordan was an eager and receptive student but shooting a moving target, with precision, is a skill that takes years to master. Jordan's practice, will someday foster explosive results.

We worked all morning, to call 5-6 mallards and black ducks into shotgun range but ultimately heavy fog and inexperience at shooting ducks on the wing, ended the hunt without a duck in hand. Ultimately, hunting is much more than the killing and it could not have been a finer morning, enjoyed in the fine company of new friends!

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