Well the second season opened up here in the North Zone of CT this past Thursday and seeing our firearms season opens the 17th I made sure to get out some before I get tied up chasing whitetails and the swamps start to freeze up in our area.
I did a walk-in hunt to a place we call The Woody Inn as the woodies just love this spot and we can usually find them in there. I have to walk by one of our normal spots on my way in to The Woody Inn as well as a couple of other water holes and there was not a single duck to be seen or heard and usually if they are in there you can hear them or see them in the moonlight but it was way to quiet. I decided to only hunt for a few hours and then head out to work. I can see out into the big swamp from TWI and I never seen a duck, never heard a duck. Heard a couple of geese but that was it. We were seeing some 40-50 ducks during the early season so I have no idea where they went.
My partner Busch Pilot went out to the same area Friday night to see what was going on and and had some ducks come in well after legal light so we had a decision to make, hit this spot in the AM or try a spot we haven't hunted all year but produced in the past. Well he claims I made the choice but I don't remember so we went to a spot we haven't hunted yet this year, but there were Mallards and Blacks last week when I was out scouting for deer so what the heck right. It was a chilly morning with temps hovering just below freezing so I was hoping we would see ducks early to keep us warm. IT didn't take long for the first two woodies to show up. I'm still amazed at the sound of their wings as they come flying it like a fighter jet. You can always hear them before you see them. It wasn't even legal shooting yet when I heard them coming so I didn't bother calling and they landed out in the middle of the swamp. in the course of the next 30 minutes we got buzzed by another 10 woodies in different groups and the last group of two was coming in and heading for the two already on the water so we hit the calls and they spun and head our way only to fly right over our setup and out the swamp. As they left the two came up off the water and coming right at us. I decided they were leaving and got ready to shoot and I was on them and as they go closer I didn't even notice the tree branches in my way and I let that poor tree have a couple loads of 3" #3 black clouds. Busch Pilot couldn't stop laughing as the tree branches fell down on me. About 10 minutes after this here comes two women hiking the trails around the swamp with their dog Lucy. Go ahead, ask me how I know the dog's name? What to know what they were planning on doing later that day? How about what they did the night before? Well they never stopped talking the entire hike around the swamp and it was a showcase of their stamina for sure. 30 degrees and only about 15 minutes after sunrise. Thanks ladies. We were bummed but not deterred until about 20 minutes later when another hiker comes across the dry dam. BP said enough is enough so we decided to pack it up and as we were doign so I noticed that ice was forming on the swamp and had a couple of our decoys locked in. BP said that this was a sign from the waterfowl gods to end his season, but I think he was kidding. We decided to check out another spot and then do some jump shooting. We didn't see anything the rest of the morning.
By mid day it was almost 60 degrees and we decided it was to nice to not hit the swamp so off we went to the south end of one of our normal haunts. We decided seeing we don't need the canoe to get us to our blind that we would take the dog with us so I grabbed Hannah's hunting vest and she was in the truck faster than those woodies from this morning. As we pulled off the road a young teen came tooling down the road on his dirt bike and we almost made the decision to pack up and go home right then but decide what the heck. 15 minutes later we see the kid coming up the road pushing his bike with a Conservation Officer walking right behind him and another following in the truck. That will quiet the joint down for a bit. While setting up I decide to give the dog some water work with a bumper and hoping settle her down a bit. It somewhat worked. About an hour into our sit BP whispers that a beaver is coming around the point and to grab the dog. Hannah was lying at my feet so I just scratched the back of her neck waiting to grab her vest. As this beaver comes around the point is only 5 feet off the bank and I thought for sure we would have an incident. Hannah was locked in on him as he swam up to BP just feet away looking at him and then he swam over infront of Hannah and I looking at us just 3 feet from us. She was quivering but never moved a muscle or made a sound. I thought for sure that this would end with my Hannah and that beaver having a tussle and all I could think about was me in the middle of it and getting my nipple bitten off by a beaver. That thought came from a story Jeff Foxworthy tells about someone telling him about their brother getting their nipple bitten of by a beaver. I was trying not to laugh and concentrate on keeping the dog still and hoping the beaver would leave and he finally did. As he was swimming away Hannah gave out a couple of quiet whines but she did good and stayed tight thank goodness. That beaver was the high light of the evening hunt. I'm not sure where all the birds went but they will be back I just hope it's before everything freezes.
If you have never seen or heard Jeff Foxworth tell the story about the beaver you can see it below. Make sure you are NOT drinking anything while watching this.