Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cluster F*** On Ice

Air: 19 degrees, Water: 32 degrees. Ice: 1/4". What could go wrong?

Set out for an early morning out in the timber with Tugboatdude and Nate. In most years, we receive our first "true freeze" the second or third week of January. The last time we received one earlier in the season, it was the first week of January, and that was 2002! So imagine our surprise when, two days before TBD's arrival, the temperature drops to 19 degrees, and does not get above 34 for three days in a row. Since we've really only received one flight of birds so far, it was hard to know what the effects of this weather would be.

Well, we found out. We spent a half-hour slogging through 1/3" thick ice into the timber, and I think we had a nice little setup - about 8 woodie decoys, 5 oversized black ducks, 3 mallards, 3 full body black ducks, and the baby mojo. What could go wrong? Well, honestly, nothing really did go wrong. Nothing much happened at all. Saw a few single birds but they were roosting pretty hard on the river and not getting up. This is unusual because in weather that cold, the birds have to feed somewhere, even if it's just up and down the river. Geese were staying quiet on the river and were just not interested. We had a good time shooting the bull and just hanging out. Everybody was well dressed for the 23 degree morning so we were all pretty comfortable, despite the fact that we had to keep breaking ice out in the decoy spread.

I was comfortable, at least, until I smashed the ice over a beaver run. The pictures are out of order so start at the bottom.

The aftermath. And for the action shot............wait for it........
........wait for it............

The Piece de Resistance: Lost my footing and swamped my waders. Water in my right boot. Foot numb about 4 minutes later. 1 mile from the truck.

I think that about sums it up. Take away the frostbite and the cold I already had (!!!) and add a cigar, and it would have been a perfectly enjoyable morning in the swamp.


tugboatdude said...

HAHAHA good times!I swear to you,even though you almost had to have a few toes amputated,that was a great time.Thanks for having me big brother.

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

OMG, that was awesome... best blog entry ever!!! Dude that action photo made the whole story and even though we have all been there, it still is funny when it's not you... Again, awesome entry... I especially enjoyed reading and then POW BANG PICTURE... sweet... DEDH out

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

I had to come back tonight and show my wife, the aftermath picture says it all... you can see the amusement in the eyes... How on earth did that picture ever occur???

Still laughing, glad to hear that you didn't get hypothermia or anything... But still laughing, the frosting on one great weekend for me!!!

tugboatdude said...

Hey DEDH I had to come back as well.See he won't email the picture so I have to keep looking on it on here.Also here is how it happened that a camera just happened to be ready.His buddy Nate was going to take some pictures of me and Swamp Thing and haha I swear this is what Nate siad.Hey fall down or something,and like magic Swamp Thing found the beaver run.Classic!

Swamp Thing said...

I was pretty amused at first but about 30 seconds after stumbling back up, all of my clothes started steaming, and at about the same time, the ice water hit my socks - I knew it was bad then!

One commonality of all of my favorite activities is a pronounced risk of drowning. So, expect nothing less!

The Rabid Outdoorsman said...

I to have swamped my waders in freezing temps . . . not fun!

I attempted to hunt this weekend in a favorite hunting spot and it was frozen solid. Ice came in fast this season.

"Pronounced risk of drowning" . . . . LOL . . . that is my favorite activities as well!

T. Brook Smith said...


That's seriously a Moe, Larry and Curly kind of way.

Is there a karmic penalty for laughing out loud at a freezing man?