By the time day three of duck hunting at Jimmy Robinson's Duck Lodge dawned – quite literally- my shoulder was black and blue from using my shotgun so much. No amount of clay shooting had prepared me for duck hunting two days in a row, except perhaps to better my aim. I certainly hadn't toughened up my shoulder enough! The key to this is to either 2) become a better shot or b) become a better shot. The less you shoot, the better it is for your shoulder so you have to make each shot count!
I was very excited for day three, however, because Dave Reese and his hunting dog Kinnikinnick (named after the Kinnikinnick River that goes through Dave's hometown of River Falls, Wisconsin) were joining us. I love watching hunting dogs at work and was looking forward to seeing Kinny get those ducks for us.
I hate to admit it, but Karami lasted a lot longer than I did that morning.
Oh, I was out there hunting ducks, for sure.
And even more of this.
Yes, that's me sitting down. I didn't sit the entire time we were out days one and two nor did I even have a single cup of hot chocolate. Day three, however, I was chillaxing.
We started out our day with our guide from day one, Al, who gamely fetched our fallen ducks for us again. This time the water was shallow enough that most times he could walk out.
I'd like to claim that we kept Al hopping when we were out that day, but alas, not as much as we wanted to. After two days I swear my aim was worse than ever – most likely due to the fact that I flinched with each shot from my bruised shoulder.
After two ducks I decided it was time to go and watch Kinny retrieving Dave's ducks.
What a hard working boy Kinny is. He was powering out there every time a duck was downed, bringing them back to Dave lickety-split. Not only is Kinny a good duck dog but he is a loveable personality as well, something that is hard to find sometimes in working dogs. My Uncle had two duck dogs, one was the goofiest, loving dog ever, but failed all of his training, over and over. The other dog was a horrible personality, but retrieved ducks better than the last.
Where Dave was, you would find Kinny.
Kinny would wait patiently by Dave's side, eagerly anticipating the next bird, his next chance to get out there into the water and make his owner proud.
Dave would shoot – and rarely, if ever, miss- the duck and Kinny would be ready, his tail thumping wildly with anticipation, his entire body wiggling with excitement. Every time the shotgun blast sounded, Kinny was ready for action.
A few words of permission (you can't have the dog just racing out where people are shooting, they have to learn to wait) and Kinny would be off like a rocket.
Kinny would bring the ducks back, but I swear he was taking the longest route possible to make sure that he showed everyone his prize. I kid you not. He would swim to the far end, walk past where Karami and Al were, then come back to where Dave and I were sitting. He would even pass by the other guide Alfred on occasion as well. I would bet money that this dog was showing off.
Eventually he would come back, after showing his prize and deposit the duck on the rapidly growing pile.
After a successful morning again, the guides rowed out and gathered up the decoys. It was time to head back to the lodge for the last time, pack up our gear and hit the road.
We were also with another hunter Peter that morning, making it a group of four of us.
From the left: Dave, Peter, myself and Karami. We tried to get Kinny in the picture, but he was far too excited seeing all the other hunters that were back!
And so ends day three and our last day there but never fear, there is more to come! Such an adventure takes many posts and many pictures to tell the whole story!