I was in no hurry to go hunting Friday morning with Doc, mainly because I was having a hard time deciding whether to go Sharptail or Pheasant and duck hunting. After the third cup of coffee, it was Pheasant and duck hunting.
We hunted along the banks of Lake Walcott and after hunting awhile flushed two hen Mallards that were sitting on the bank. One of the ducks was winged a little and so I knocked it down and sent Doc out for the retrieve.
This was the second time he’s balked on retrieving ducks this year and I had to send him out twice, but the second time he retrieved it although dropping it on the bank. I’ve normally braced him with Mia but this year I’m hunting him solo, so I think it’s just a matter of gaining confidence and he’ll work things out.
We hunted our way back to the truck and flushed a hen Pheasant that really lit a fire under Doc. After depositing the duck in the truck and taking a short break, we hunted a bit longer without seeing any birds. Even though the temperature was in the 40’s, it was too warm for a jacket so I left it in the truck and hunted in a T-shirt, which I would later regret.
I drove to another location where we hunted the shoreline, then came on a small flock of ducks in a bay. The only way of reaching them was to work our way through a jungle of willows and large patches of stinging nettle. Here’s where I wished I still had my jacket; regardless, I made it through the nettles relatively unscathed. However the ducks heard our approach and flushed, all except for a hen Mallard. Having bagged one hen, I let this one go.
I wasn’t going to fight my way back through the willows and nettles so Doc and I waded up the shoreline for nearly half-a-mile until we found a path through the brush. This caused a real panic with Carrie, who happened to check my location on the GPS and it indicated that I was out in the middle of the reservoir.
The wind had come up creating 8-12 inch swells and a few whitecaps. The waves frightened Doc at first but it wasn’t long before he was swimming in them.
Doc suddenly went bird crazy during our return to the truck, clearly on the trail of a running Pheasant. He was some distance ahead of me when he went on a solid point, but before I could reach him he broke it off and began tracking again. A little farther he bumped a rooster Pheasant.
It would have been a very long shot so I held my shot and watched it sail out into the jungle of willows and nettles that we’d fought our way through earlier. No way I was going through that stuff again.