“Swans are a gift”, That’s what DucksandDogs said after we had just shot a couple of widgeon that dropped into our decoys following a group of swans that had landed in our decoys a minute before.
This statement has struck true with me, and it keeps rolling in my head over, and over throughout the last weekend. They truly are a gift. It’s why I get so upset when I see or hear of people shooting at them(illegally). A swan is one of the best decoys you can possibly use, let alone having a live one in your spread. Watching them interact with each other is just fun to watch. We watched two of the seven swans start to do a dance on the water. Two of them faced each other, reared up and started shaking their wings while calling at one another. It was a cool sight to see, and it will be a cherished memory for the rest of my life.
Last year I had my swan floaters out as confidence decoys. As the morning progressed I looked upto see a flock of about 20 swans flying. I pulled out my goose flute and didthe best swan call I could muster. Much to my amazement they responded andturned towards my direction. They flew closer and started to descend about 600yards out. By the time they were about 100 yards away they started to cup, and then surprisingly, started flipping! Seeing these big birds inverting and turning upside down on a controlled descent into my decoys was truly an astonishing sight. As they landed they put those giant feet down and skied for about 10 yards across the water, finally stopping about 4 feet from my spread.Then they started calling and milling around for a while. It’s kind of funny to see a giant swan dabble like a mallard. As they sat there I noticed the ducks were starting to come closer, and started having singles and doubles land right next to them. I didn’t shoot at any of the ducks, as I just sat there and enjoyed the show. After about 5 minutes the swans took off, I wished them well, and felt truly blessed to have that experience.
I write this because I truly feel that swans are a gift to waterfowlers. Either as a dinner for those fortunate enough to hunt them, or to the rest of us who can only cherish memories of the big white birds and the incredible interactions we have with them. As the swans start to migratet hrough the Mat-Su valley and Anchorage Bowl, please think of this if you get the urge to take a shot at one of them. Instead try to get them to land with you, and be amazed at the show they can put on, as well as the possible ducks they may help pull into your spread. I’m sure that those of us, who have spent many days on the water, will be very happy to see them sharing the marsh for the short amount of time they are here. Cherish, and enjoy them, you will be grateful that you did.