A buddy of mine recently retired from the military and moved back to Anchorage after being gone for the last two duck seasons. He had today off from work and has been itching to go duck hunting so he and I, along with my wife, headed south to hunt my blind. Sunday and Tuesday had very few birds in the area and today proved to be a repeat. This is the first year my wife has gone as a shooter instead of just a spectator. I've been hoping to get her out on a day with lots of birds and action but so far it hasn't happened. We sat in steady light rain and bugs for 2 hours without firing a shot and decided to pull the decoys and head back to where I'd gone jump shooting the day before.
I had an appointment back in town so I only had about an hour left to hunt. We changed out wet coats for dry, threw some shells in our pockets and headed out 3 abreast, pheasant hunting style. The area has numerous small potholes that aren't visible until you are almost on them. My buddy dropped a mallard not long after we started. Another mallard crossed at the edge of my range and I fired once and missed. My shot however was just enough encouragement for the bird to swing a little closer to my wife who crumpled it about 30yds up & away. Seeing my wife take her first bird after a couple of classes through BOW and shooting with me made my day. I would have been super happy to just have that one bird!
Time was growing short for me so we looped back around a few more ponds. My two labs found a lively cripple which they eventually tag-teamed. Those chases always put a smile on their faces. My buddy connected on 1 more mallard on the way back to the truck and there were still a few birds flying around the marsh when we left.
No birds for me, but all in all it turned out to be a decent morning's hunt. I think the area with my blind will just have to wait for the northern birds to pass through. I've taken 100+ birds from it over the last 5 years so it's not a bad spot. Something has changed this year though. I heard cranes today for the first time this season but I'm not sure where they went. Portage Pass looked socked in.
Oh! All birds were easily identified as mallards prior to pulling the trigger. However, I'm not good enough to separate brown birds on the wing as either drake/hen. I'll have to keep working on those skills. lol My dogs still love me none-the-less.