This duck season began and, for the first time in a couple of years, I found myself not being able to make the road trips with my friends or go on any girl duck hunts. I was bummed. I’m new to duck hunting. I’ve been several times and learned a lot. I actually killed my first ducks in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri – with my friends.
If you have never duck hunted, it’s hard work. It’s definitely an adventure and so much fun. You should try it at least once. Whether it’s in flooded timber, in layout blinds in the middle of a corn or rice field watching thousands of snow geese fly over, hunting private or public lands, or on the bank of a fly zone. It’s amazing to see the ducks being called and cupped in. It’s amazing to hear them make their fly over – the sounds they make, the excitement of a good dog, the smile on a bird hunter’s face when he sticks his hand in the water to hold a beautiful bird knowing all his practice, scouting, training, ammo, waders, gas for boats and trucks, licenses, sleepless nights, racing to the duck hole, decoys, and blinds – it all makes you feel so good and accomplished when you get to see that bird hanging from a tree strap.
Duck season began here in Alabama and I had to hunt a duck. There’s just something about it that’s completely different from hunting deer. I don’t put pressure on myself while duck hunting because you never know what will happen.
I had been deer hunting and saw a duck I had my heart set on. It was beautiful. Its head sparkled green and purple in the sunlight. I knew I had found my target duck. A few days later, I went back and, this time, I went duck hunting and had my shotgun.
I have never hunted ducks, alone. I don’t call and am still learning, but I’ve hunted dove.
I scouted the ponds and found one full of black and white birds swimming and diving under the water. The geese were swimming, so I did what I had to do. I set my site on those beautiful ducks and I started crawling. I stalked the birds in the pond because I had to close the 150-yard distance between me and them. I bellied crawled through sage grass with cockleburs. Some in the groups began swimming to the other side of the pond. The ones up close to the bank had no clue I was even there.
I stopped halfway by keeping my target ducks in sight, got on my knees and the geese were alerted and started flying. I didn’t shoot because the bufflehead sea duck and hooded merganser were my target ducks.
I waited a minute. Then they started to fly. I shot all three shells and was about to reload and saw I shot one!
I saw him fall from the sky. I got my hooded Merganser on Christmas Day!
What an amazing gift for my first solo duck hunt and a true blessing.
A week later, I had to go back for my target bird – the beautiful bufflehead sea duck!
It was magical. This pond held the most ducks I’ve ever witnessed.
There were buffleheads. Same pond, same scenario. Down to crawling again. It was going to be a long shot. He was swimming and diving on the other side 50 or 60 yards away. I stood up and some ducks flew overhead and then the buffleheads took flight. I shot and he fell from the sky! I was going to get him when he went under. I scanned the water. I could not believe he would have sunk that quickly and then he popped up on the other side of the pond. I walked around the pond toward him trying to get another shot and when he popped back up I took my chance at 50 yards. The Benelli 12g closed the gap.
I write these stories to hopefully inspire another person to do anything you set their mind to. It may not be easy, and it may not be the way others would do it. But, you can’t sit around waiting for someone to fulfill your goals and dreams. Your dreams are most likely not theirs. If you don’t have the resources, ask someone. These women’s organizations, like Miss Pursuit, Wildlife Women, American Daughters of Conservation, and several more organizations have women just like myself who would love to help you or point you in the direction of someone who has hunting access, guns, willing to teach or guide you and help any way we can. Don’t sit around wishing you can. Do it!
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