When opportunities arise, one must weigh their options to make the most beneficial decision for themselves. When those opportunities pertain to duck hunting, well, they outweigh just about all of them for me.
As Kyle worked his way through Texas, he too found that the benefits of getting into the duck blind were far greater than the warmth of a hotel bed.
The forecast called for clear skies with just a ripple of wind, less than favorable for a late-season hunt which has proven to be marginal for several reasons. Warm temperatures driven east by the El Nino kept birds content in the northern states of the central flyway while a continuous saturation from rainfall has opened up every divot into a habitat for our ducks. Capitalizing on a recent shift in birds, Kyle and I met at Oyster Bayou Hunting Club down in Anahuac, TX for a morning of hunting over a flooded rice field.
As the Ranger came to a halt in front of the blind, the engine was cut and we all stepped out into the darkness of the morning, taking in the new silence. Distant whistling from a content group of pintails was coming across the pond, giving us a warm feeling for the anticipated action to come around daybreak. The sun began to illuminate the horizon, showing silhouettes of ducks pouring into that same pond of resting birds which would prove to be our enemy through the morning. We took down birds in singles and pairs sending out my yellow lab Nixon to fetch them up for us. As any duck hunt goes, the periods of waiting were filled with general banter and camaraderie for the outdoors while an adding bonus of snacks were “cooked” over the heat of a propane hand warmer. We had close shots. We had long shots. We had some poor shots. At the end of the morning, we packed up our gear content at our results of 12 ducks and 2 geese and shared in that passion of duck hunting with ice cold beers around.
It's always a bonus to have more shooting, but the simple fact holds true, I’d rather sit in a duck blind wishing for more action than looking at photos wishing I was there. When the opportunities arise, take them to get yourself into the outdoors.
Check here for more from Ball and Buck photographer at large John Dunaway.