Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Out With a Whimper, and The Nerve of Some People

In 5 days, Tug left Maryland, had an "all time great" hunt in southern VA, got skunked on another hunt in southern VA, and sat out the final day of duck season..snowed in.
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With 4 days left before the end of waterfowl season, I was hard at work at my office. I was pretty proud of myself for lining up not just one, but two, private property hunts for the last day of the season, which was a saturday. A small noreaster was on the way with the guarantee of "a dusting" of snow. It was gonna be great!
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And then I suddenly found myself "uninvited" to one of the local hunts, which was a local one. As it turns out, one of the other hunting guests on the property had built a blind in the field (after telling us that the landowner said "no blinds, no pits"), and in the midst of not returning our phone calls throughout the entire season (he established himself as the sole contact with the landowner - I'll never let that happen again on a standing invite), we learned that he was hunting the property with his business clients, and "oh by the way" was using our decoys to do it. Same guy had the balls to call us and say, "you can't hunt there on the last day, we have too many guys already." Too many guys? From what I remember, there were only four people allowed to hunt that property, and I was one of them. Hmmmm. When asked by my buddy Rich (another one of the four) where (Rich's) decoys were, we learned that the "too many guys already" planned to use our decoys....on a hunt to which we were un-invited. Looks like Rich and I (and our 8 dozen decoys) are in the market for a local goose lease! See ya, loser!
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That left one last option - driving 90 miles to the duck club on the eastern shore. Thank God for backup plans! And then, the night before, I took a closer look at the forecast. I thought, "that doesn't look like a dusting of snow....that looks like a pretty big storm," and I made the painful decision to sit it out, rather than get stuck on the river/island/boat ramp/highway coming back from a hunt. And 10" of snow later in white-out conditions, I was proven to have good judgment. And the folks who hunted, did pretty poorly in the heavy snow.
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It was a complete disappointment for the end of the season, but as I indicated a few posts back, this was a season of lessons, and I feel like I was fortunate to have some good days afield and kill some geese along the way. As the 09-10 waterfowl season grows a little more distant, I'm sure I'll reflect on it in a little more depth, but for now, I'm partially satisfied. I got some hunts in, I learned a lot, and (other than the a-hole referenced above at our local goose field) I've done everything "right" to allow me to hunt in the same places next year.
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Nothing wrong with that.

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