Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Robert Preston Blackford: Newly Confirmed Duckhunter
The future of Ducks Unlimited! RPB circa 2009 (with a mouth full of chips)
I picked up Preston from school last Friday for a much anticipated first duck hunt on the most sacred day of the year: The Opener: Nov 7, 2009. 6:28am
The Opener is an event duck hunters look foward to for 291 days each year, and this was Preston's first. I had stirred him into a frenzy for the previous nine months and now we were headed north accross the Red River into Oklahoma to JN Creek Hunting Club armed with hot dogs, smores, Capri Sun and a properly stocked cooler for Dad (read: ice cold Shiner Bock).
Stacey and Kate were also headed north....but to meet Cindy and Preston in Fayetteville and watch the Hogs thump the evil Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Fighting Chickens.
Back to the mission at hand......
We arrived first around 3pm. It's been warm----not exactly a duck hunter's ideal setting. Many many many things are wrong with the waterfowl hunter (as Stacey will agree). For example, the nastier, colder, fiercer the weather predictions get each winter.......the more excited a true duck hunter gets. Snowing with mixed sleet blowing 35 mph from the north = euphoria to a duck hunter. Instead, it was 75F sunny with a strong south wind......ugh. We unpacked, raised the stars and stripes to half staff (Ft. Hood), let Dixie the lab run around camp, prepared the RV, hooked up water, put the bbq dinner in the oven, connected the satellite dish and got the atv out and went for a ride. Preston loves the atv. It's a 700cc Yamaha Grizzly that will go way too fast.......Preston likes fast......think Ricky Bobby in Talledaga Nights ("I wanna go fast!!!").
Scott Cummings "Smoothie" and David Daniel "Horn Dog" arrived around 5 and Greg Whitteker "Half" and his 2 sons arrived around 6. We stuffed ourselves with Rudy's bbq and polished off a few adult beverages.
Alarms were set for 3:30am. I never sleep well before an opener. I awoke at 3:00am, showered, made coffee and waited. Preston ate pancakes, we dressed and headed out----it was a sticky 65F......ick. I put on hip boots and we headed to the pond with newly arrived Ron Geels "Shiner Dog" and Matt Mumper "Probiee" to launch the boat. I jumped in a kayak, and headed to the blind. As I got out of the kayak, what should have been 2 ft deep water, was actually about 3 1/2 deep......d*mn beavers!!!! My hip boots filled with water.....not a good start. So I hunted all day in wet soggy clothing. Preston loved it. He ate all kinds of bad food, counted ducks, watched the iPod, and was overall very well behaved----both days. We got 20 birds Saturday and 16 Sunday including 7 Canada geese. I rectified the beaver dam problem, twice, only to have it rebuilt by them each night.....a futile war. I swear, Roosevelt should have scrapped the plans for the Hoover Dam and just released about 6 beavers: problem solved.
Also, while walking the woods Saturday, I came face to face with a Muy Grande whitetail buck....he was huge. All in all a great weekend but most of all a great introduction for Preston to the world of duck hunting. FYI----he fell asleep before we even got onto paved road on the way home Sunday. I think I have a second hunting buddy now.