Youth Day Adventure...

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Youth Day Adventure...

Postby NCSUDucker » Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:12 am

Just for fun, since the boards were down. Here's a recount of our youth day here in NC. For those that aren't aware, I have been taking one of my previous students for 10 years now on youth waterfowl day. I think I look forward to this day more than any other. This year was an adventure to say the least!

Soooo. Where do I start, with the passing of youth day duck season is offically over. Of course, my wife has it correct when she says it's never over since building duck boats allows me to think of duck hunting all year long. Now for the story of today's youth day, bear with me as its a little long but well worth the read.

Let’s start at the beginning. I've been teaching middle school for 10 years and each year I have been fortunate enough to take a kid from the previous year on youth waterfowl day. Yesterday afternoon I called Gerin with our options to see what his preference was. We could hunt a spot we found holding a few birds using layout blinds but the scenery would be mostly houses or we could hunt a little hole up in the woods that has always been a good spot for us and would likely be holding a good amount of birds. However, with the lake down 10'+ I knew there would be a good chance we'd have to walk a ways, well over a mile. Gerin said, he wanted to go wherever the best chance for birds. I made a quick ride to check out the water level situation and it looked like if I could hit the creek channel we could make it almost all the way in. Packed the NFZ and in bed by 10 to pick up Gerin at 4:00.

Fastfoward to this morning. The overnight rain had not let up and was letting down steady showers. While this probably should have been my first bad omen, I stopped to get gas in the boat and while pumping, the hose simply pops off the pump and lands on the ground...definitely a first, but probably the second omen for the morning LOL. Anyway, off we go. No other boats at the ramp, rain stinging my face and cutting visibility down enough that we simply half throttled our way along to our destination. As we get to where I knew it was going to start getting shallow, I eased the throttle wide open and we were moving with ease towards our destination of the channel.

Unfortunately, we couldn't use the spot light due to the rain and glare and hoped for the best while aiming for the channel. Without the lights I could easily make out a log jam sitting in shallow water in front of us, I leaned on the handle to turn and while knowing the golden rule to running a mudmotor in the skinny is "don't back off", I did...

At this point we came to a dead stop. Now, I've been stuck before so I didn't sweat things too bad at first. Hopped out of the boat into shin to knee deep, gooey, suck your boot of mud. Grabbed the spotlight to survey the situation, and realized we had been running parallel with the channel by about 50-75 yards. Now, to back up just a minute. I was fortunate enough to have the company of my previous student, Gerin Hill, my good friend Eric Perry along with his lab Gunner this morning. The time is now closing on 5:30 with legal shooting time approaching about 6:50. As I throw the spot light behind us, my first real "uh oh" popped in my head...

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Now while you may look at this and go, that doesn't look that bad. This is after about 5 more hours of rain on the mud flat. With that in mind, you can see why I went, "uh oh"....

We were able to swing the front end of the boat around towards the channel but when we went to move it forward there was no budge. At this point I knew we were going to need help and we had two options, wait there til we could call someone or go hunt. Didn't invite Gerin to hunt to only have him push a boat so we struck out towards the hole. We arrive at the hole a good 20-30 minutes after legal shooting time to find it covered with birds, geese got up, mallards trying to get in, woodducks sitting down in front of us. We make our way across to where we wanted to sit with birds working all around. Without the first decoy out, we have mallards less than 20 yards above us. Gerin mind you, until this point had never shot at a flying bird.

I tell him to go ahead and shoot and he rocks a drake mallard who sails on us. No problem I say, he spashed hard, we'll find him a minute so sit tight. I set 2 decoys and a 3 decoy jerk string. We wait a few and no birds coming in so I set out to look for the mallard. As I eased my way over, birds were coming so I ducked down. They pass a couple of times and when in range he folds up a hen stone dead. No luck on finding the drake so I make my way back over. At this point we have two hooded mergansers come in and sit down, as they jump up Gerin pulls and drops both with one shot. After that we had several more groups work us and Gerin gets in a few more shots, but with the stuck boat looming we soon had to go.

At this point, I had called several good, let me rephrase that, GREAT friends. Including Muddy Paws who supplied, rope, anchor, come-along and some 2x4's for leverage, Tucker Livengood and BPS Slayer after figuring out the easiest way to us, this is what they found.

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After several unsuccesful attempts with the come-along/anchor we resorted to good ol' brute strength, which by the way after our walk in and out was waning. With me on the 2x4 under the rear of the boat, Eric on the other side of the transom, Gerin and Tucker pulling on the bow and Tester with a rope anchored around his waist pulling we were able to budge the NFZ. And there was hope!!

At about 10 yards per clip with feet pulling out of waders, pushing from our knees and a lot of sweat, a mear 2 hours later we had made it to the channel. I wish I had video of us coming back down the channel as it shallowed up again, but there was no way I was backing off this time...hammer down and about a 15' rooster tail of mud and red river water we were back out in deeper water.

I'm pretty sure I have never been so happy to arrive at the boat landing, with all of us drenched in sweat and rain, Gerin's only comment was I need my own set of waders :) Ahhh the things we go through for a duck. All in all, it was definitely adventure, I only wish we could have been in the hole and set up at LST

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I'm proud of Gerin for hanging in and was impressed with his shooting considering the lack of any previous wing shooting. I promised we'd get him in on an easy goose hunt, in a dry field mind you, come next September!

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Brad
Toller Boatworks or become a fan of Toller Boatworks on facebook
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Re: Youth Day Adventure...

Postby JOBBER » Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:47 pm

Brad nice boat
I thought boats were for water though.
I don't see much
Really great spending time with the kids.
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Re: Youth Day Adventure...

Postby Dennis In Texas » Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:01 pm

Brad,
As I read that story I bet I had no less than a dozen memories of similar situations pop in my head going all the way back to the early 70's! Anyone that has hunted and fished seriously for any length of time gets in a situation like that now and then. Its part of nature and being outdoors. I have stuck boats, cars, jeeps, you name it over the years trying to get to that special spot. You know, the ducks don't hang out in the easy to get to spots. I have been stuck in the rain, cold, ice and had to walk miles once or twice to get out. Most of these things happened to me before cell phones so we were on our own. These things can happen on a sunny summer day while out fishing too. My Dad and I took a "shortcut" once to beat a nasty squall while fishing in the Gulf and ended up stuck on a sandbar while a really bad storm beat the heck out of us. There are a thousand duck hunts and fishing trips I don't recall but these I remember every detail and we always tell the stories doubled over laughing.

And its not all bad.I have had some amazing experiences and have seen some very interesting things in nature . Things you will never see unless you get "into the wild".

I am sure that young man will remember that trip for the rest of his life and will be telling the story to his kids some day. The story will likely start with " I once had this crazy teacher and..." I bet it becomes one of his most memorable experiences. But you really do need to take that kid hunting again, easy hunting to show him both sides.

Dennis
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Re: Youth Day Adventure...

Postby beekeeper » Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:20 pm

Great post. :) Now I remember why I don't hunt any more. It also reminds me why I did. The smile on Gerin's face tells me I should go agin.

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