As hoped, Epic Duck Hunt 2013 was enjoyed by all, and we'll be doing it again next year. I got a few photos and action video for you, but unfortunately all the best hot-and-heavy, in-yo-face shooting was right before dawn, and the iVue video camera glasses just don't work well in those conditions.
The weather was bitterly cold the first day, and we were shooting from layout blinds on a pothole bank. Few of us shot well – me least of all – but we managed to kill twenty birds. I was having a hard time picking out the birds against the background of the muddy bank, and heaving my bulk up from a reclined position to shoot left me getting on the gun well after everyone else, and consequently shooting at flaring birds every time. I did score on a nice right-to-left crossing shot on my left at about forty yards, but otherwise I did not cover myself in glory.
However, the second day we were shooting from a fixed blind in better conditions, and I scored my limit having barely shot a handful of shells. We all shot better on Sunday, with the notable exception of the last volley, when we all unloaded on a group of about 10 gadwalls without cutting a feather.
Some of our guys **cough cough, Matt G., cough cough** had a serious case of the duck Tourettes and couldn't hold back from swinging on a couple of groups that were decoying well. If you've never duck hunted, it's hard holding back on a fat, easy shot on a couple of birds cupping in over the decoys, when there are a dozen more still circling, waiting for the scouts to land. Every instinct is screaming at you, "There's your shot, take it!" but as I explained to Matt, we were trying to be like the Old Bull* contemplating the herd of cows.
Still, Matt's shooting bailed him out, and it's hard to chew out a guy for shooting early when he put his bird on the water cleanly. As our guide told him, "All right dude, because you made that shot, you're forgiven. If you had missed it, we'd have never let you hear the end of it."
Everyone involved had a blast, and we'll be back next year.
*An Old Bull and a Young Bull were standing on a hill, contemplating a herd of cows in the pasture. Young Bull says, "Hey, Pop, let's run down there and screw one of those cows."
Old Bull says, "Nah, Son, let's walk down… and screw 'em all."