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hunting the ice with Wayne - hard fought success!


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I have a story to tell :)

As many of you on here know, @Wayne Trojanowski , a new waterfowler, was having a hard time finding people and places to go hunt ducks and asked for assistance. So I decided to help  him out... On the map, I pointed out a general area for him to scout - an area I know holds ducks. He put in the work the past few weeks and he got boots on the ground and found a good hunting spot in that area. We decided to go hunt it this morning.

Unfortunately, this was practically the first overnight-into-morning of the season with below freezing temps and when we got there we found the water iced over!!! :rant:Oh well, ice be damned! We're here, so we're hunting! Crunch, crunch, crunch through the ice to lay out a dozen decoys and we were ready before shooting light.

5 minutes before shooting time, damn if a drake mallard beelines straight at us and lands on the ice right next to one of our decoys!! I couldn't believe it! We didn't call at all (it wasn't even shooting time!). But somehow he saw our dekes and wanted to join the party. All I could do was shake my head and laugh. The bird went wheels down, landed on the ice, and immediately took flight again and left. Oh, well, that's a good sign anyway.

Shooting time arrives and soon after a single duck showed up and was flying around out of range. I let out a few calls and (surprising even me) I called it in! He approached the spread and floated down and I took the shot and down it went onto the ice! :acclaim: I'm thinking, "Awesome! One shot-one kill!"

Not so fast!! The bird was still moving around on the ice, so I decided to take a quick follow up shot and showered it with pellets. OK. Two shots-one kill. Still not bad.

Not so fast!!! After 5 or so, the bird pops its head up, sits up, and starts moving! :headscratch: How is this possible? We stare at this bird for another 5 minutes, and it starts moving even more. We are expecting more birds to come any time, so I'm not going out wading through the ice to get it - I need to shoot it again. I shoot it a third time - three shots-one kill? Meh.

Not so fast!!!! WHHHAAAAAT??  This bird sits back up again and turns around and I'm thinking "There is no way I'm seeing this, but this bird looks like it is going to run away across the ice." I have to do it - I need to go out there and get it.

Crunch, crunch, crunch - I go out to get it, carrying just a wading stick. He's out past our decoys, so I need to walk a ways. As I approach it, this thing start flapping and gliding on the ice getting away!! I reach with the wading stick to try to keep it from getting too far away... I finally manage to use the wading stick to drag it across the ice to me and I grab it... "You put up a fine fight, my friend, but alas, I must administer the coup de grace to your neck." I walk back and yell over to Wayne, "Here's another story I can tell on NJW&W" :D 

Blue sky with no clouds the rest of the morning. But a half hour before we were set to leave, Wayne says, "You see those all the way out there? I think those are ducks." I see nothing. I think he's seeing things. But then soon I see the small flock coming right at us! They start to peel away as they get close, but a single leaves the group and comes right into our set. We shoot and in a flurry of pellets, down the bird comes with a thud on the ice! Drake mallard, and this one wasn't getting up.

That was it. Packed up and headed home. It was a good morning with some hard work in the beginning but then some laughs and cheers the rest of the way. It was lots of fun... Hopefully, you had fun, too, Wayne.

Wayne took a picture of me returning after my Keystone Cops retrieval of the armor-plated duck:


Here's the APD (armor-plated duck) - When I picked it up, I thought it was a hen mallard. But on closer inspection, seems to be a black duck. The weird thing is, the speculum feathers looked green to me (see the pic) - and I didn't think black ducks had green feathers. When I got it home and looked in better light, the feathers looked kinda blue-kinda-green, almost changing colors depending on the angle you look at them... so... I dunno. It has the black mark on the tip of its beak and the white underside of its wings, so I'm saying black duck.



Edited by mazzgolf
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Thanks for coming out John. I definitely learned a lot and battled some demons. I think the more I go, the more confidence I will have. Still don't like the idea of being out there alone in case something goes wrong. It was a pleasure hunting with you and hope to get more birds in the future.


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Tremendous hunt- used to hunt Shrewsbury river and when that iced over needed a ax to smash a cut out and then slid the ice floe under the rest of ice- if birds were around did not need a lot of open water to attract them, but ever so often they would land on the ice and walk over to the decoys and slid into the water- was odd to watch.  

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Here's armor-plated duck on a plate :) A little appetizer before tonight's Thanksgiving meal...

Black Duck with Cream Cheese and Bacon

Brine the duck overnight (I just used salt and pepper in water but you can marinate in your favorite duck marinade if you'd like). Cut duck in strips. Cook a couple pieces of bacon, cool them off and chop into small pieces. Take about 2 or 3 Tbsp of cream cheese and mix in the bacon along with some onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Put a dollop of that cream cheese mixture on each strip of duck. In a toaster oven on 450 degrees, cook for 10 or 12 minutes. Duck should be tender and pink inside when done.


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