I finished up the chores around 5:45 pm, looked at the end of shoot time, and decided I had just enough time to run down to the backyard refuge for a quick jumpshoot. I always prefer to hunt over decoys for 2 reasons....1) I'm lazy and prefer to sit on my *****....2) I'm a relatively poor shot and prefer coaxing unsuspecting ducks into the spread with wings cupped and landing gear down. They are much easier to invite home for dinner that way. However, tonight I didn't have time to get set up and just grabbed the gear, gun, and dog and went for a walk in the marsh.
I checked a couple of ponds that have yielded limited success before but were empty tonight. I continued the nightmarish trek through floating bean mats, impossibly small grass tussocks, and waist high muck that caused me to swear more than once and question my sanity for enduring this torture again and again.
A pair of mallards got up just out of range and flew off into the setting sun over the inlet leaving the dog and I wishing they'd been closer. We continued our journey and my labs incredible nose paid off once again. She picked up the scent of a duck in the grass and made a desparate leap for it as the hen barely escaped her grasp. A load of 3" number 3's made for a short flight and we ended the night enjoying the sweet exhaustion that always follows a duck hunt