After two days of slow shooting at my regular spot I decided to jumpshoot a marsh adjacent to a popular hooligan dipnet river south of Anchorage this morning. I hadn't been to this spot in a few years and after being shot-up on the opener I didn't really know what to expect. I did know I'd wear myself and my two labs out hiking the marsh.
I left the RR tracks at shoot time which in hindsight was probably about 15-20 minutes early. The extra light a little later would have made the low flyers easier to see against the dark background. A couple of birds flushed ahead of the dogs and were out of range by the time I saw them. I waited a bit and then continued. A mallard jumped up and quickly cartwheeled back into the marsh. One bird in the backpack. A little farther back a bunch of widgeon flushed. One was hit hard and down. Another was just nicked or was seriously confused. I'd fired three rounds and the second bird was just hovering/circling above the pond. I quickly jacked in another shell and solved that bird's problem.
It had been a long time since I'd been back in that marsh, but I remembered a large pond farther back. We kept working our way deeper until I was half way to the back treeline. The marsh grass had given way to spongy moss/tundra and low growing brush with no sight of the large pond. I turned around, slogged back towards the road and eventually found the pond I was looking for. The dogs and I took a break and soon saw two low flyers above the pond. One bird hooked towards us and I made an outstanding shot. Bird number 4 was down. The dogs were on it but my older lab let the younger take the credit. I soon discovered why. It was a merganser (whoops).....I think my older dog was trying to save me the embarrasment and was pretending to have not found the sawbill. lol
We eventually worked our way back towards the road. I errred and worked the downwind side of a couple more potholes and had mallards flush into the wind (like they almost always do). My bad for being on the wrong side and just out of range. I was about worn out after two hours of marsh slog and had about given up when a pintail jumped up. Bird number five in the backpack.
Not a bad morning, plus a good leg workout.