Mia’s tough retrieves

Mia’s tough retrieves

On Saturday’s duck hunt, I asked a lot of Mia and she responded quite well under challenging conditions.

Posing with Mia and her two ducks

Posing with Mia and her two ducks

The temperature was in the 20’s with a stiff wind, however a light jacket was all that was necessary – although I would have liked to have had my gloves.

Mia waits with our hunting vests and gear

Mia waits with our hunting vests and gear

Our Pheasant hunt quickly became a duck hunt when we noticed large numbers of waterfowl that the recent storm had pushed into our area. Mia stayed with our gear and hunting vests while we sneaked up to jump shoot ducks along the shoreline, then I’d call her over to make the retrieve.

This tactic made it tough for Mia since I was asking her to do blind retrieves in water that had whitecaps and was very choppy. Furthermore, she was having to approach her retrieves from upwind so there was no chance of being helped by their scent.

Wade shot the first duck and although Mia took a nice line to it, was unable to find it in the choppy water. The wind was blowing it towards a bay and by the time we walked there, Mia was left with a short retrieve.

Mia patiently waits for more ducks

Mia patiently waits for more ducks

It wasn’t long before a flock of Widgeon came over. I dropped two with my shot and Wade hit his but that duck continued on with the flock. By the time Mia retrieved the drake, the hen I’d hit had drifted well away from the shoreline.

Mia is about 100 yards out searching for the duck that drifted out of sight

Mia is about 100 yards out searching for the duck that drifted out of sight

Again, Mia took a nice line to it but was unable to find it in the choppy water, and the duck drifted out of sight.

We then came upon a number of ducks scattered along the shore. I dropped a Mallard with a long shot and sent Mia after it. Again, the choppy water made it a tough retrieve and after a couple of failed attempts, took a nice line to the bird.

I thought that Mia had locked onto the bird when she was 80 to 90 yards out and only about 20 yards from the duck, however she turned around just short of the duck.

Mia finished retrieve over half a mile from where I shot the duck, it had washed up on the shore

Mia finished retrieve over half a mile from where I shot the duck, it had washed up on the shore

After lunch, we drove to the opposite side of the bay where we thought it might have drifted. As luck had it, Wade spotted the duck under some trees and Mia finished her retrieve 0.6 miles from where it began.

The bluff where I shot the Mallard is circled, over 1/2 mile away

The bluff where I shot the Mallard is circled, over 1/2 mile away

Another hunter had dropped a duck on some ice but was unable to get it, however I knew that the water was relatively (waist) deep, and didn’t want to leave it. With Mia following me, I broke through the ice and was almost to the duck when I recognized it as a Merganser. Since they are not good eating, I turned back; by then it was late afternoon so we called it a day.

Mia returns through the trail of broken ice

Mia returns through the trail of broken ice

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