This past weekend we had the pleasure of hosting Tyler Jordan for a duck hunt to be filmed for Realtree Outdoors on the outdoor Channel. We knew the hunting was going to be tough. We were just coming out of a lock up so the ducks were going to be feeding heavy in the fields.
Tyler arrived around lunch. I had already been out that morning and my guys shot their birds pretty quick and easy so I asked him if he wanted to hit the ground running and he said let’s go. We went back to “the ark” where I had taken guys that morning. When we got there, it was loaded with gadwall just like I had left it. I put out the Higdon DC decoys and we got to hunting. Before we could get set up, 5 had come in and lit. Of course the cameras weren’t rolling so we didn’t get any. We got set up and I noticed something troubling. The ice was beginning to melt. This hole has no food in it so that’s bad for us. As the ice receded so did the ducks. We made a quick move to a buttonwillow slough. Upon arrival it was full of ducks and they left and didn’t really come back. The first eve was less than spectacular but tomorrow is another day.
The next morning we woke to warming temps and clouds. The weather wasn’t on our side but hey it beats the heck out of working shift work said Godwin. We climbed into a blind where Phil and Jase had their best hunt ever on the property the day before just before the thaw. Daylight came without much action. A canvasback came in the decoys and promptly got added to our bag. Not long after a single mallard drake came in and we took him as well. All morning we watched ducks go past us to another hole. After talking it over and taking 8 ducks we decided it was time to go eat Phil’s duck gumbo (best one he’s ever made in my opinion). We were going to move in on the ducks the next morning.
The next morning was supposed to be cloudy so imagine our surprise when we saw the glow of the sun on the horizon. The wind had picked up out of the south which is always good for us. Right at legal a gadwall drake came in and was dispatched. Not long after a single mallard drake came in and again Tyler’s aim was true. Blue brought him back and to our surprise he was banded. This was Tyler’s first ever band! We all knew his trip over had been worth it regardless of what happened from that point on. The mallards continued to come in singles and pairs and we continued to add them to our bag. About halfway through the morning we looked on the duckstrap and there was another band on there! Some call it luck, we prefer to see it as a blessing from above. All in all we shot 22 mallards with 2 bands. This was a first for me!
Tyler’s last evening we decided to try some WRP land that had been roosting some birds. Stone, Tyler and I got to the hole about 330. Legal was 528 so we didn’t have long to hunt. It wasn’t long before they started showing up. A single came in and Tyler made quick work of him. Next a pair came and they made easy work of them also. I was feeling left out and then looked up and here comes a mallard drake headed straight at me. I thought ok I’m about to get in the game. As he looked for a spot to land in the decoys, I shot and he folded. He rolled over right as I got to him and to my surprise there was another band! To make it even more special, the bird was banded on my birthday. The birds kept coming and we ended with 10 mallards and 1 teal on his last hunt.
We are certainly fortunate to be partners with a company like Realtree. We have been together now for over 15 years and the relationship continues to grow and provide. Tyler is welcome back with us anytime and the weekend of January 20, 2018 will forever be engrained in my mind.
For you nerds (like me) out there, Tyler’s bird was banded in 2014 in Ballard County KY. Stones bird was banded in 2013 in Saskatchewan. My bird was banded this past year on my birthday in Saskatchewan as well.