Pretty wide ranging post... mostly pictures chronicling some of the beauty presented to me, and a minor rant on the frustrating aspects of hunting in general....
I just got back from another failed duck hunting trip in SE North Carolina... I got a couple, but by and large, we should count the ways that I was foiled in my attempts.
Reason #1 - Super Freakin' Moon!
No kidding, the moon was as close as it comes to Earth last weekend and as a result the ducks had PLENTY of light to see by. So, as a result, they just stayed in their little protected impoundments and gorged themselves like a bunch of drunken frat boys with a serious case of the munchies. This is the second time a full moon, or nearly full moon, has thwarted my endeavors to kill evil ducks.
Reason #2 - Blue Bird Days
On day one, the clouds were high and wispy, the winds were calm, and the temps made it to the mid-60's. This, my friends, is the very definition of a blue bird day and you don't ever want to see these when hunting waterfowl. Day two and three had an increase of cloud cover and wind, but given the Super freakin' Moon, the damn things wouldn't fly.
Reason #3 - Scheduling
When you have a bunch of guys with family lives, jobs, and active children you pretty much have to take what you can get for a few years until the schedule lightens up. We went a little earlier than normal this year. Unfortunately, there hadn't been enough of a sufficient cold snap up north to push the ducks south prior to the trip. So we pretty much knew that the pickings were going to be slim. Go figure, the week I get back we have an arctic blast and my inbox is being lit up by DU telling me about Migration Alerts.
The camaraderie was great, but the blind was something to behold. We used something I'd never hunted in before called a scissor blind. It was really freakin' cool. Here's what it looked like:
These aren't my images mind you. I found them on Google for this post to give you an idea. In a nut shell, you take some juniper (floats exceptionally well and is highly rot resistant) and fashion it into a u-shape set to the approximate dimensions of the boat and insert some pins at key points for flexibility. Holes are drilled ever foot or so and then some pine boughs are inserted. Once it's dropped in the water, the whole rig is anchored to the bottom. After it's situated, you just drive the boat inside the u-shape. Then, with the aid of the pins, you close off the back end to surround the boat. No need to bring a dog as you just open up the back end, put the boat in reverse, wheel out and collect your ducks or geese, and then return to the anchored blind.
The juniper in the water does an excellent job of camouflaging the boat. To shield the hunters, the hand rail had more holes drilled for additional pine boughs. It was actually really cozy. Here's a link to an article I found that explains things further: Secrets of the Scissor Rig
You can see the juniper scissor blind resting on the handrail as we head out the first morning.
Pretty Pictures for Your Brain
Here's the sunrise the first morning... we kind of had an idea when we saw this that not much was going to be flying this day.
Not to be out done by the majesty of the sunrise, here's what we saw upon arriving at the coast the night before...
I swear, I take the pictures and I can't help feeling like Forrest Gump!
Oh, before I forget, here's the pin tail I picked to have mounted...
It's currently residing in a friends freezer until spring. Here's what it looks like in flight (Compliments of Google Images)...
Also, while I was down south I got some 'artistic' pictures of my friends farm. This is where I met my wife and it still has some sort of calming and centering affect on me whenever I visit.
Hurricane Matthew Aftermath
When the hurricane went through last year, the farm lost a lot of hardwoods. They've split a lot of it, but there's still a massive pile to be worked on. Here's what I found...
Another Garden Build
While I was at the farm I also staked out a garden for my friends mom. She's in her 70's and her back isn't what it used to be. I will have to build a high fence to protect it from the deer coming out of the nature preserve behind their house, but nevertheless, she was impressed with what I did for my mother-in-law so she asked me to build something along these lines in the spring...
In the words of Bubba, "I believe that's about it..."