Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: A Day on the Pond with AKRAY

  1. #1

    Default A Day on the Pond with AKRAY

    A great day all in all, from the o-dark thirty meet at the landing to bringing it back to dock that afternoon. Ray, arriving earlier than I had already scoped out the locations of the other hunters on the water. I could also see in the dark that the really good locations were already occupied by the distant flickering lights in the good directions. Not-to-worry, Ray had a backup plan.
    We could see as we readied the little skiff by our head lamps that there was some cloud cover to the south bringing hopes of a little rain or possibly some wind. Anticipation grew as I stood in water to my knees warming up the 4 hp outboard before pushing off into the dark weedy water. Loaded heavy with dekes and gear, with marginal freeboard, we traveled at just above an idle into the black, pushing our way towards a vague point on the horizon directed by Ray. By luck we missed the prop clogging heavy beds of weeds along the way.
    Nearing the far alder covered bank we slowed even further searching the shoreline for a distant memory in Ray’s mind, a place he had hunted by himself long ago from a canoe. The alders came right into the water and dead snags appeared suddenly in the shallows by our headlights. I swung wide and cruised slowly up the bank till Ray said “I think this is the spot”. Nosing the skiff into a grassy bank Ray hopped out and we transferred the gear ashore. Then I took the skiff back out to set the deeks.
    I had been thinking about the decoy set up all the way down the highway from Talkeetna to Palmer and had a pretty good idea as to how I thought it might work out, but it would depend on the weather conditions when I got there. I found the water dead calm as I rowed the skiff back into the dark. A decision had to be made quick as the light was beginning to show on the horizon, set up for possible helpful windy weather to come or set up for the flat calm water I rowed through now. The coming dawn showed the cloud cover to be breaking up, bummer. Ok put the widgeon, teal and mallard in their own tight groups forming a large pothole with the teal out the furthest and tightest at 40 yards, widgeon to the left closer to shore and mallards to the right in a slightly looser group with a couple immature’s and a butt-up close to shore.
    I found a spot to hide the skiff about 50 yards down the bank, covered it with camo burlap, and hiked back up the uneven shoreline to Ray’s location. I was amazed by what I found there! Ray, who was nursing a severely injured forestock arm had collected dead alders, grass, and other brush one handed and created a large well hidden blind while I was setting out the dekes. He directed me to the way through the sticks into the roomy comfortable hide and said shooting time had started 10 minutes ago. We settled into our wait for wings against the mountain backdrop.
    A few birds moved in the first half hour and I took a shot at three mallards that surprised me straight in high at about 40 yards. I missed two shots straight overhead and silently cursed myself for shooting behind them. I had made that shot successfully many times in the past. The dawning morning proved to be more and more like a blue bird day and my anticipation of a limit of tasty ducks dropped off considerably. I was not bummed out however as the banter between Ray and I was entirely enjoyable. The conversation ranged from present to previous jobs, duck hunts we had both enjoyed together in the past and so on. Suddenly, as it always happens five widgeon swung by out of range and seemingly heading for a distant draw. I hailed them long and mournfully and for some reason they turned. I whistled them encouragingly and they responded by three out of range passes, then on to their distant destination.
    Now I wondered if the decoy set up was spooking them. I sat silent in my mind tossing this possible problem with that when three widgeon came in quick and dropped into the teal dekes at 40 yards, too far to scare up and shoot. I whimpered the widgeon whistle and alternated with shallow hen mallard quacks hoping to draw them in another ten yards, not to be. They suddenly decided the teal dekes were way to still and took flight away into the middle of the lake.
    Way past mid morning when Ray and I were deep into as conversation about duck boat construction three widgeon swooped in straight on and one landed in the widgeon dekes at 25 yards, the other two passing behind us. Bluebird day protocol called for taking the bird in the hand and I stood up shouting and whooping the duck to fly, which it did, and I dropped it. In the mean time a flight of about six widgeon I had not seen rained in on us from behind as I was standing there waving my arms and yelling. In my peripheral vision I saw Ray’s black shotgun rise up, then I heard a resounding CLICK! Words I could not understand mumbled from Ray’s mouth.
    The birds were gone and Ray was obviously nursing disappointment. I waited a reasonable amount of time and asked what had happened? “The bolt was not all the way closed”, he said. “It is a constant problem with the Stoger replica of the Benelli that I know about and should have made sure it was closed.” I did not press the discussion, but did tell him that I had willed to him my Benelli when I was going into heart surgery last winter. I knew he would get much enjoyment out of it and didn’t know of any relatives that didn’t already have every possible duck and goose hunting accessory that a person could desire. Ray was appreciative. We watched the blue bird horizon.
    The trip back to the launch was thankfully uneventful as heavily loaded as we were. I was able then to see the many thick weed beds we had miraculously missed on the way out through the dark. We efficiently unloaded the skiff and I managed again to lift it onto the top of my pickup. Ray wanted to help with the lift but I asked him to heal, not tear more muscles in his for arm. It is getting harder and harder for me to lift the back of the skiff and shove it onto the top rack, but it went fairly well.
    At the trucks we discussed our hunt warmly, remembering the widgeon that “rained down on us from behind” and as we prepared to leave for our homes Ray said “wait, I have something for you.” He brought out a cooler with two thick frozen Caribou steaks and two packages of Caribou sausage from the bull that he bagged a month ago. He then produced and gave to me the wonderful 10” long thickness gauges needed for setting up your jet pump impeller and copies from the Honda repair manual for adjusting the valves and balancing the carburetors on the 50 hp Honda. What a guy! What a day!

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Wasilla, AK
    Posts
    321

    Default Good writer!

    Quote Originally Posted by otterbfishin View Post
    A great day all in all, from the o-dark thirty meet at the landing to bringing it back to dock that afternoon. Ray, arriving earlier than I had already scoped out the locations of the other hunters on the water. I could also see in the dark that the really good locations were already occupied by the distant flickering lights in the good directions. Not-to-worry, Ray had a backup plan.
    We could see as we readied the little skiff by our head lamps that there was some cloud cover to the south bringing hopes of a little rain or possibly some wind. Anticipation grew as I stood in water to my knees warming up the 4 hp outboard before pushing off into the dark weedy water. Loaded heavy with dekes and gear, with marginal freeboard, we traveled at just above an idle into the black, pushing our way towards a vague point on the horizon directed by Ray. By luck we missed the prop clogging heavy beds of weeds along the way.
    Nearing the far alder covered bank we slowed even further searching the shoreline for a distant memory in Ray’s mind, a place he had hunted by himself long ago from a canoe. The alders came right into the water and dead snags appeared suddenly in the shallows by our headlights. I swung wide and cruised slowly up the bank till Ray said “I think this is the spot”. Nosing the skiff into a grassy bank Ray hopped out and we transferred the gear ashore. Then I took the skiff back out to set the deeks.
    I had been thinking about the decoy set up all the way down the highway from Talkeetna to Palmer and had a pretty good idea as to how I thought it might work out, but it would depend on the weather conditions when I got there. I found the water dead calm as I rowed the skiff back into the dark. A decision had to be made quick as the light was beginning to show on the horizon, set up for possible helpful windy weather to come or set up for the flat calm water I rowed through now. The coming dawn showed the cloud cover to be breaking up, bummer. Ok put the widgeon, teal and mallard in their own tight groups forming a large pothole with the teal out the furthest and tightest at 40 yards, widgeon to the left closer to shore and mallards to the right in a slightly looser group with a couple immature’s and a butt-up close to shore.
    I found a spot to hide the skiff about 50 yards down the bank, covered it with camo burlap, and hiked back up the uneven shoreline to Ray’s location. I was amazed by what I found there! Ray, who was nursing a severely injured forestock arm had collected dead alders, grass, and other brush one handed and created a large well hidden blind while I was setting out the dekes. He directed me to the way through the sticks into the roomy comfortable hide and said shooting time had started 10 minutes ago. We settled into our wait for wings against the mountain backdrop.
    A few birds moved in the first half hour and I took a shot at three mallards that surprised me straight in high at about 40 yards. I missed two shots straight overhead and silently cursed myself for shooting behind them. I had made that shot successfully many times in the past. The dawning morning proved to be more and more like a blue bird day and my anticipation of a limit of tasty ducks dropped off considerably. I was not bummed out however as the banter between Ray and I was entirely enjoyable. The conversation ranged from present to previous jobs, duck hunts we had both enjoyed together in the past and so on. Suddenly, as it always happens five widgeon swung by out of range and seemingly heading for a distant draw. I hailed them long and mournfully and for some reason they turned. I whistled them encouragingly and they responded by three out of range passes, then on to their distant destination.
    Now I wondered if the decoy set up was spooking them. I sat silent in my mind tossing this possible problem with that when three widgeon came in quick and dropped into the teal dekes at 40 yards, too far to scare up and shoot. I whimpered the widgeon whistle and alternated with shallow hen mallard quacks hoping to draw them in another ten yards, not to be. They suddenly decided the teal dekes were way to still and took flight away into the middle of the lake.
    Way past mid morning when Ray and I were deep into as conversation about duck boat construction three widgeon swooped in straight on and one landed in the widgeon dekes at 25 yards, the other two passing behind us. Bluebird day protocol called for taking the bird in the hand and I stood up shouting and whooping the duck to fly, which it did, and I dropped it. In the mean time a flight of about six widgeon I had not seen rained in on us from behind as I was standing there waving my arms and yelling. In my peripheral vision I saw Ray’s black shotgun rise up, then I heard a resounding CLICK! Words I could not understand mumbled from Ray’s mouth.
    The birds were gone and Ray was obviously nursing disappointment. I waited a reasonable amount of time and asked what had happened? “The bolt was not all the way closed”, he said. “It is a constant problem with the Stoger replica of the Benelli that I know about and should have made sure it was closed.” I did not press the discussion, but did tell him that I had willed to him my Benelli when I was going into heart surgery last winter. I knew he would get much enjoyment out of it and didn’t know of any relatives that didn’t already have every possible duck and goose hunting accessory that a person could desire. Ray was appreciative. We watched the blue bird horizon.
    The trip back to the launch was thankfully uneventful as heavily loaded as we were. I was able then to see the many thick weed beds we had miraculously missed on the way out through the dark. We efficiently unloaded the skiff and I managed again to lift it onto the top of my pickup. Ray wanted to help with the lift but I asked him to heal, not tear more muscles in his for arm. It is getting harder and harder for me to lift the back of the skiff and shove it onto the top rack, but it went fairly well.
    At the trucks we discussed our hunt warmly, remembering the widgeon that “rained down on us from behind” and as we prepared to leave for our homes Ray said “wait, I have something for you.” He brought out a cooler with two thick frozen Caribou steaks and two packages of Caribou sausage from the bull that he bagged a month ago. He then produced and gave to me the wonderful 10” long thickness gauges needed for setting up your jet pump impeller and copies from the Honda repair manual for adjusting the valves and balancing the carburetors on the 50 hp Honda. What a guy! What a day!
    Your a better writer than many in duck mags. The Benelli "click" is well know even in the BEII, it's not just the stoger. I have to clean mine at least every 3 boxes. My old model 12 only needed cleaning every season unless it got real wet. Good story, except for the word "deeks" in my humble opinion. Many that might someday read your stories are on the East Coast where the large duck hunter populations are where the more professional decoy word "Blocks" is used.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Mat Su
    Posts
    306

    Default

    Heard that Benelli "click" more times than I care to. I have found, in my gun, it comes from having some garbage in the "slots" that are cut into the breech of the barrel. One slot where the bolt lug turns, and one slot (and I think the one responsible for the click) where the bolt extractor rotates into. I take a Q-tip with a bit of breakfree and clean those two spots. I do this at a minimum, before each days hunt. Not a problem since I started doing this. If I forget, I generally hear the click. Good story.

  4. #4
    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    1,456

    Default

    Benelli's need frequent cleaning and oiling. This is the first year in the 4-5 years I have had mine, that I have not had the dreaded click or jam. This year I have gone over mine quickly with oil and a rag, usually every other trip out. Doesn't take much, and it has funtioned flawlessly. This last week I got it pretty muddy and so later that day it took a shower with me. I will wait until the end of season for a disassembly and more thourghal cleaning.

    Sounds like you guys had a good trip, thanks for writing about it. You have good writing skills. Bud
    Wasilla

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,073

    Default

    Great story and report, I especially like the fact that you kept it very engaging while not giving specific locations.

    On the Benelli issue, I have a SBE II and run about a case a year through it. I am the worst at cleaning it, I get it home spray it with a little rem oil and set it barrel down to drain it out. I haven't tore it appart in 2 years or so, I know, not good maintenance, but I have never had a fail, yet.......maybe it is time to tear it down before my late season cold and heck hunts!

  6. #6
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    South Central
    Posts
    2,541

    Default

    I'm plushing like a school girl. This trip was "opening day" for me due to the arm injury. I could not sleep most of the night in anticipation.

    yeah the Benelli click....the Stoeger line is known to have some minor/major machining issues due to its Turkish origins, but I appear to have been lucky with this M2000 and have had little issue with it over the last five years. Other than hitting the charging handle once in a while which pushes the bolt back out of battery just enough to get the click. On this trip I think I hit the charging handle while standing up and shouldering the gun. Maybe it snagged on my coat or something. The truth be told, even though I have had the gun five years, it is still in break in mode since I have yet to shoot over 500 rounds through it.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Mat Su
    Posts
    306

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    The truth be told, even though I have had the gun five years, it is still in break in mode since I have yet to shoot over 500 rounds through it.
    Really????, boy Ray, you need to get out more.......I think I shoot at least half that amount each season up here, not counting those late trips down south. Federal loves me. I wish I could brag about my hit/miss ratio, but I'm just happy to be shooting.

    I think my season up here has pretty much ended. Maybe a trip in December to my favorite island, but other than that, I think it will be over. I'm leaving for a WY elk hunt this Friday and have two weeks of time to chase one down. Unless I get lucky and get it over quickly, I'm thinking it may pretty much be over by the time I'm back. We'll see.......Good luck on the rest of your season.

    I find it hard to picture you as a blushing school girl........

  8. #8
    Member akdodger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Central
    Posts
    171

    Default

    I have hunted with my Benelli SBEII for years. Love it and care for it well because its reliable and would hate to have to fork over the dough for a new one. Through operator error I too have experienced the 'click' but have learned how to avoid unseating the bolt and haven't made that error in several seasons. This season though, to GREAT CONSTERNATION, my shottie would do the click thing and it wasn't my fault. Cleaned and inspected the whole weapon and found it would shoot 3 inchers every time but not 31/2 reliably. Several hunts, missed birds, and many choice words later I happened to realize my error. I had one rogue 31/2 #4 which had a bad primer. I never thought to check my shells, just blamed my poor old amazing Black Eagle. Lesson learned. There's still a lotta season left!

  9. #9

    Default

    Many that might someday read your stories are on the East Coast where the large duck hunter populations are where the more professional decoy word "Blocks" is used.[/QUOTE]

    Good comment Ownerstate. I use the word "deeks" because in the late 40's and early 50's when I started hunting with my dad and brothers, dad called all our wooden decoys "blocks", but when the plastic decoys came in he started calling them "deeks", but still called the blocks "blocks". I don't know why or if there actually is a word distinction? He probably got it from his cronies in the fish and game association he was integral in back then. When writing anything about hunting or fishing my mind always travels back to memories of hunting with dad and his way of seeing the world. I miss him.

  10. #10
    Member ruckus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Petersburg, AK
    Posts
    79

    Default

    Great to hear stories like this. Makes me miss swapping stories with Ray at the take out. Keep the stories coming. I miss the tales of good shots, and blunders at the boat ramp.

    Miss the hunters at the valley lakes.
    "Next time you feel important, try telling someone elses Chesapeake to do something"-- anonymous

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •