This early October saw my family and I packing up our hunting gear and driving out from our respective cities of Edmonton and Calgary to meet in a small place just outside the famous Delta Marsh called St Ambroise in Manitoba.
If you are a long time reader of The Kitchen Magpie, you will have seen the trip that my sister and I took to the famous Jimmy Robinson’s Sports Lodge last year. My sister and I had such an amazing time that we immediately started concocting a family trip for the next year, bringing our Dad and our brother Wyatt with us.
While my sister and I hunted last year the topic kept turning to how much Dad would love to hunt here.
Here’s the thing: duck hunting can be really hard. There’s a reason that a lot more people seem to go goose hunting in the fields rather than duck hunting in the marsh because duck hunting can be an extreme amount of physical work. For the best places, be prepared to row a boat out and the really good places don’t allow boat motors.
You also have to set out decoys in the water – again, rowing or wading, but best results are with the boat- and if you don’t have a dog, guess who is retrieving? Yup, you are. With a boat. Or swimming. Any way you do it, you’d better be showing Fish & Wildlife how you are retrieving those ducks you’re shooting.
The marsh is also ten times harder than a field. Water up to your thighs sometimes, ruining shells in water, the turf is hard on a person. So we knew that a guided hunt for ducks was perfect for all of us again this year.
I got to go with Dad on the first day. He hasn’t been out hunting in years and the main point to this trip was to go out with him. Sure, he took us out with him when we were younger, but we have never gone on a hunt as adults together.
He put us all to shame. He downplayed it the entire time, but it’s hard to erase a lifetime of hunting skills just from not doing it for a while. I think he more than impressed our guide when he took down two ducks flying side by side, one at a time, with a skill that I can only hope to achieve one day. Our guide BJ turned to us and said “you didn’t tell me your Dad was a total sharpshooter!”
See those two specks in the photo? Yup, ducks and yes, my Dad is totally aiming at them and yes, he gets them.
Let’s just say that I have to wait until they are a bazillion times closer than that.
Our guide BJ. I was happy that he guided us twice this past trip as he loves to row and row and row, (this is an ongoing joke at the lodge) taking you to the absolute best spots way out in the marsh. He knows that we don’t mind standing in water and being adventuresome so we can get the best ducks.
And ducks we got. We limited out really soon (mainly because Dad is such a good shot) and rowed and rowed and rowed back.
So here’s the thing, I hemmed and hawed over whether or not to include this picture. Not everyone wants to see pictures of dead ducks, right?
Well, it’s food. This is how meat happens. These ducks are in our freezers as I write, ready for some wintertime meals. It’s not pretty but I do have to say I’d prouder of the ducks in the freezer than I am of the beef I buy at the store. I know where these ducks came from and I know they didn’t suffer and it’s the most ethical type of meat-eating out there.
We all limited out that first day and were back in short time. Karami and Wyatt went together and I’m sure it must have been a good time.
They ARE the youngest and middle child, so one can imagine the conversations.
I do believe Wyatt’s thumbs up were preceded by an “I totally out shot Karami this morning!”
And my sisters’ reaction, caught on camera.
I can’t even take their picture without them squabbling, never mind these two out in the wild with guns together.
Good family times, I tell you.
Speaking of which, it’s really hard to try to take a picture when your siblings are being, well, your siblings, behind the camera.
So while the hunting was fantastic, this year it was all about family and making memories. I am extremely lucky to have a family that is so close and we actually like doing things together. Most of the time. We ARE still siblings, let’s remember 😉
I must admit that out of all the selfies I have ever taken, this one of my Dad and I out on the Delta Marsh is, and most likely will always be, my favorite.
The dinners as always, were fantastic and I have the recipe for the meatballs from the girls in the kitchen, which are some of the best meatballs recipes I have ever eaten! I can’t wait to make them and share the recipe!
This was a mallard that we had shot, there were so many mallards this year that for the main duck meal everyone could have one! They are the best tasting duck, hands down.
Our names are on the duck plucking shed again this year, with the two new additions of my Dad and my brother.
My sister and I added our names again with the year.
The rest of the time was spent relaxing around the lodge, talking, drinking lots of wine and generally taking time to catch up. We explored the lakeshore a while, took walks looking for grouse and of course, those three days ended far too soon for our liking.
We are already talking about perhaps a fishing charter together in BC next year, or perhaps some local hunting here in Alberta. We have time to plan, of course and half the fun is in the planning!
So any suggestions from you all on a great family outfitter either here, BC or Saskatchewan for fishing, geese or other for next year?