Even if things aren’t great, we’re still going hunting because we like to. It doesn’t take a harvest to make a hunt successful.
I’ve been trying to introduce my 9-year-old son to as much hunting as possible this fall, and a duck hunt over decoys was next on the list. It’s one of my favorite things to call ducks over decoy spreads. The chance to interact with the birds and convince them to give you a shot has its own special place in hunting.
We were all under the weather last weekend, but that wasn’t going to get in the way. We weren’t deterred by the lack of ducks in the area either. There isn’t much time left in the season to hunt, and going hunting is what we like to go do. So the whole family set out last Sunday to find a local farm pond and watch the sun rise.
We got up early, set out decoys, found a good spot to hide and waited for legal shooting time. Flights of ducks moved by in the clear dawn sky, and it became pretty clear that none were going to stop. I would call and they would respond, but only to say, “See you later.”
Inbetween the lack of hunting we found ways to pass the time. We named our motion decoys after musicians that could also shake their butt well enough to create ripples in the pond. Then we yelled at them for not doing a good enough job.
We laughed and lamented our lack of success, and found no reason to call our time a failure.
One duck did manage give us a shot, but only limbs from a tree on the pond dam fell when my son fired.
We ended up with no ducks and I had wet feet from leaking waders, and we’re going to do it again the next chance we get. There aren’t many days left to hunt this season, and hunting is what we like to do.
While the state’s Go Outdoors App and upgraded licensing system is definitely a big improvement, it isn’t perfect. The system dropped two valid licenses from my information Jan. 1. Both my HIP permit and federal duck stamp no longer appear in my records. Both should be valid until June 30, 2020, so make sure you have the proper documentation until the bugs are fixed with the state’s licensing system.
Also don’t forget
I have my trail cameras still running for one important reason – antlers could start hitting the ground soon. There is no way to tell when a buck will shed his antlers and any time between now and mid-March they could fall. It’s not too late to get your hands on the antlers of the buck you hunted all fall, they’re about to be lying on the ground waiting for you to find them.
Jon Kocan is the Stillwater News Press outdoors writer and a longtime hunter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.