Well it is all over until November...Duck season closed today and I am already feeling withdrawal symptoms. While I am sad the season is over, I am excited to spend more time with my family...and Jill has 3 pages of "honey-dos" for me.
While many of you may not care about my hunting exploits, this is a special story. Larry and I went out to our ponds that we have leased on Friday and hunted what we call "the big pond."
We have two very well thought out and clever names for our ponds. One is know as "the big pond," and the other is known as "the small pond." We had an awesome hunt and shot a our limit of 10 birds (1 Mallard drake, 7 Gadwall drakes, and 2 Gadwall hens). We still had birds working when we left and could have killed more but a limit is a limit.
Since the first duck hunt I went on this year, my nine year old daughter Payton has been begging me to take her hunting. Well, her wish came true on Saturday and she got to tag along with the "boys." Five of us (Larry and his two sons, Payton, and myself) headed out at 5:15 for the lease. In addition, there were two other buddies that were going to hunt as well. We decided to split up between the two ponds. Larry, the kids, and myself went back to the big pond and our other two friends went to the small pond. If you don't know much about hunting private ponds, it is difficult to kill many birds on the same pond in back to back days. Therefore, Larry and I did not have great expectations for our Satuday hunt. The hunt was all about the kids! Wow, were we ever surprised by the day we had!
Our morning started off really slow. We had a few groups of birds working above us but none of them wanted to commit and come in. After a while, we had a small group of Gadwall buzz by our decoys and I took out a drake. Then nothing. We sat for quite some time without much action. We just sat and listened to shots ringing out from our buddies over on the small pond.
And then....we had a large group of Redheads come into the pond. It is a rare thing to see Redheads in North Texas especially this late in the year. I have never shot at or seen a Redhead. They normally get to the Texas coast as quickly as possible.
This is where the story gets good. Larry's 9 year old son Zach got a shotgun for X-mas this year and harvested his first birds earlier in the year. To try to get Zach a shot, we let the group of Redheads land on the pond. Zach lines them up and pulls the trigger. Immediately Larry and I start shooting and when we look out at the carnage we all have Redheads down. Then it was Payton's turn.
Payton's favorite Christmas gift from last years (2006) X-mas was her Red-Rider BB gun. She loves to shoot it and I have to say she can probably out-shoot me. Until Saturday she has never shot a "real" gun. However, Zach was kind enough to share his shotgun with Payton. Imagine that you are 9 and you just got to shoot some ducks with your new shotgun and then you pass it off to a 9 year old girl to let her have a try. Wow, what an awesome kid. That is something to be proud of as a parent (Good job Larry and Deanna).
Back to Payton...we wait for a few minutes and in comes 3 more Redheads. We allowed them land so Payton could have a shot. The birds land in front of us about 25 yards away. I take the safety off of the gun and whisper several times to Payton to "shoot." She did not hear me so I had to repeat myself louder and louder several times before.......BOOM!
One shot, one kill!
Dead Redhead the first time she ever pulled the trigger! Awesome!
I then took out another Redheads and turned to her to give her a hug. Her first words were "Did I hit it?" In all of the excitement and the recoil of the gun, she did not even know that she hit the bird. I expected jubilation and excitement from Payton, but all I got was a look of wow...I can't believe I did it! I think it took her several minutes, if not hours, to process everything.
After we were done for the day, we killed a total of 5 limits (25) of birds on the two ponds. This limit included a full limit of 10 Redheads (you are only allowed two per hunter). In addition, Josh killed a Goldeneye (rare duck) at the small pond.
All in all it was not only the best hunt of the year, but the best hunt of my life. Parenthood is an awesome thing. Of all of the things that we take pleasure in, there is nothing better than parenthood.
It was such an awesome outing that Larry and I dropped off two Redheads at the taxidermist Saturday afternoon. Along with some pictures, Payton and I will have a special trophy to remember her very first hunt.
Lots of pictures below.
My "Girl" and me!
She is going to be an awesome wife someday.
Who needs Disney World?
That's not dirt on her face...That is camo paint.
These birds are getting mounted.
Imagine this...She likes football too!
The original female Duck Commander