The alarm began playing a little tune to let us know it is time to get up and get dressed. It is just 4 am and we had almost an hour drive from the motel to the boat launch where we would meet our guide and head for the blind. As I attempted to warm up the truck I noticed the display read just 11 degrees. Each breath of frosty air was taken remembering past days hunting. The crisp night just waited for the sun to rise allowing the first glimpse of the many rafts of waterfowl making the arduous journey south looking for warmer air.
I had been in contact with Dustin from Farmboys Waterfowlin’ during the previous days confirming plans and making sure we had all we needed to make this hunt memorable. Dustin warned me of the possibility of a slow hunt just days before and wasn’t positive of our hunting destination. Dustin also let me know he was headed out on Friday morning to scout and see where the best location was.
He had locations on the river, in ponds and in fields. His goal was to present us with as many birds as possible so our poor shots could have a chance of downing a Green Head or two.
I got a call Friday afternoon from Dustin and could hear the excitement in his voice. All I remember from the conversation were three things. 1. We are headed to the river. 2. The birds showed up over night. 3. Be there at 6. I almost couldn’t contain myself. You see, I hadn’t taken a shot at a duck in about 12 years and had been looking forward to this trip for weeks.
We arrive at the launch to and meet up with Zach. Zach and Kent are partners with Dustin. I soon learned they had been hunting together for years in these spots and nothing less than love this activity. After a 5 minute boat ride we arrive at the back of a little island and walk to a natural blind. The decoys are already in the water and the calling had begun. It
was just minutes until we could shoot and flight after flight of south bound birds perused our spread.
I can honestly say I have never seen so many birds moving in so many different directions at once. Being from the west side of the state I have always taken any shot I could get. Now I was trying to decide if the birds were Mallards and Pin Tails or Blue Bills and Buffle Heads. With this many birds in the air we could pick and choose the birds we wanted.
I fired the first three shots out of my Mossberg with no birds falling. I decided I needed to slow down and figure this all out again. The next flight came past our decoys and again I let two shots loose. On the second shot the bird fell from the sky leaving only a trail of feathers from where it once hung in the sunrise. I will say the most exciting part of the day was listening to the guys calling, no talking, to the ducks. It was like they couldn’t resist Kent and Dustin as they quacked and quacked.
We watched flocks of geese flying out looking for their morning meal from the local corn fields and waited patiently for their return. At about 9:45 Kent made mention of the 10 o’clock flight on its way back. I didn’t think much of it until there were strings and strings of black figures coming over the hills back to the pools of the river. As the geese continued in we threw shot after shot their way. On one flight we downed 3 of 3. It was amazing.
I truly felt as though I was hunting with the guys I’d grown up with. Friendly and courteous, these guys made every attempt to get birds in range. We weren’t just another client to them. Their passion for the experience was always visible. We even got to bring home some meat for the freezer. 14 ducks and 6 geese to be exact.
From a technical and safety side I couldn’t be more pleased. Life jackets were available in the boat and not until the birds were coming in did I hear the click of their safety disengage. I was very impressed with the attention to muzzle control too. Never once did their muzzle cover another person.
I really couldn’t have expected too much more. We were safe, we had fun and when I did my part the birds fell. If you are in the market for a duck or goose hunt be sure to get with Farmboys Waterfowlin’. Remember, the season runs til January 26th. Make the call pack a few boxes of ammo and enjoy some of Washington’s most enjoyable theater for hunting.
Mike Burchett was born in Washington and was raised in the shooting/outdoor sports. His favorite activities involve anything his family enjoys. From hiking and camping to surfing and shooting, nothing is too big to try.