Yes, duck hunters, it’s about time to oil up your dogs and feed your shotgun some carbohydrates. Duck and goose hunting is in the wings.
Actually, an early goose season is on, statewide, beginning today. And from all indications there are plenty of geese around. You know, you golfers may even have to fight your favorite golf course for space, since geese seem to love those links.
Now days, geese and duck hunters hunt from layout blinds or regular duck blinds, but that wasn’t always the case.
Allow me to explain.
I and a buddy named Sam looked forward each fall to duck season. That’s when we went “puddle-jumping” for ducks, and as youngsters we had a rather unique way of hunting those feathers.
We’d take my mom’s old World War II Jeep and load up our shotguns and shells, then let Sam’s dog jump in, and head west of our small town to a large farm. There were many small ponds on that property and sometimes they were frequented by some ducks, so we always arrived there a tad before daylight, not wanting to spook any birds that may be around.
As daylight approached, we’d get our guns ready and along with the dog we’d crawl on our hands and knees toward one of the ponds. That would usually be the largest pond, where there were usually lots of ducks.
As soon as we were near the pond and it was daylight enough to shoot, we’d release the dog and stand up, guns at the ready. Well, Sam’s dog (it has been so long ago I’ve forgotten the dog’s name) would charge down to that pond and suddenly all was a bedlam as feathers flew in all directions.
Sam and I’d fire away, usually downing several birds each, which the dog would retrieve for us over the next few minutes.
Of course, many of the birds got away. But not to worry as some of them would circle back over us or even land in another, nearby pond.
Looking back I have no idea how many ducks we’d usually get on those opening mornings. but it was enough to stock our parent’s freezers with a lot of great meals. Also, I don’t recall there being a limit on the number of birds back in those days, such as the limits we have today.
Those were great ‘puddle-jumping’ hunts, and fine times.
Now, I’ll give you a brief schedule of the forthcoming duck seasons, so you can be prepared.
In the North Zone: Sept. 22-Nov. 16, and Nov. 22-25.
In the Middle Zone: Sept. 29-Nov. 25, and Dec. 15-16.
In the South Zone: Oct. 6-Nov. 30, and Dec. 29-Jan 1, 2013.
That’s part of the matter on ducks, but there are so many seasons on geese I’m not going to touch on it other than as mentioned earlier in this column.
But there will certainly be some excellent duck hunting times soon, so get your dog and yourself prepared for some good hunts.
Ed Gilbert is the outdoors writer for The Daily News. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.