Man, did I have to work for those ducks on day two of hunting at Jimmy Robinson's Duck Lodge. I mean, day one was most likely a duck hunting experience I will never have again. I do believe that there was some magical combination of beginner's luck, an amazing location and a cold front pushing in ducks from up north that made my first duck hunting trip every something simply spectacular. We limited out in two hours, the location was amazing and the sheer amount of ducks we saw was incredible.
Not that day two wasn't a fantastic day as well, but did I mention that we worked for those ducks?
Day two saw us with the youngest guide, BJ, who happens to be Al's (our guide the first day) nephew. Remember I said it was a time-honored tradition for a local Metis family to work and support the lodge during the hunting season? I didn't mean that flippantly. It really is one family who are the backbone of the lodge. I will get into this in another post, very soon!
BJ is fondly known for his mad rowing skills. You are given your guide assignment the night before you head out so we were able to chat to all the other hunters about who we had and find out the type of guide we were going with each day. When we asked about BJ we were told that he loves to row. And row and row and row!
And he did.
While the other guides work on paths through the marsh and other routes, BJ just gets you in the small handmade traditional wooden boat and rows.
And rows and rows and rows.
Take a look at how far we are travelling.
Then picture this at night. Little wooden boat. Huge water.
I'm very glad he saved his Lake monster story for later on when it was light out.
What lake monster story, you might ask? Well, when I asked him if there were any tales of an ” ogopogo” type monster, he said that when he was a child out floating on a little inflatable raft, something huge came up beside him in the water. Something unknown and very large. Granted, everything grows larger in Manitoba lakes, so it could have been a perch 😉
With all that rowing however, we were way out in the marsh. In order to stand somewhere to hunt, we had to pull the wooden boat up onto the reeds. Now, when you see the reeds and cattails in the marsh, it looks like they are solid.
They are not. They are a floating mesh of dead reeds and assorted organic material. If you are lucky, it can be solid enough to stand on.
So the boat was pulled up onto the floating reeds so we could stand.
I handed my shotgun to BJ so I could get in a few pictures. This was not the day for picture-taking. This is how we spent the day hunting ducks and to be honest this is a very common way to hunt ducks. You row out into the marsh and find a good place to hunker down, in the boat, for the day.
So hunker down we did.
Now BJ had to work hard that day, calling in ducks for us. Even with the decoys, we found that all the ducks had to be actively called in or they wouldn't come close.
We won't count how many mallards I missed, to BJs disappointment. However BJ had a great time keep track of how many he called in that we *ahem* totally missed. I think it was six. *hangs head in shame*
Ah the mallard. The sneaky, smart and beautiful duck that everyone wants to bag.
They taunted us that day.
The reason I say that these ducks were hard-earned is that besides the fact that they all had to be called in, we were standing in a boat (challenging my shotgun skills to the max) we also were knee/thigh deep in reeds and mud whenever BJ went out to retrieve our ducks.
We would have to push the wooden boat out for him, then stand in the area where the boat was.
My sister took this picture of me over-the-knee deep in the reeds. Every time we had to stand on it and move around we broke through more and more. So to further test my newbie skills, we were also shooting immobile in mud!
Fun times. Seriously. That was kind of totally awesome.
By the time we were breaking through the reeds up to BJ's waist in some parts – I didn't dare move far with my hip waders!- we had eight ducks and were satisfied completely with our morning hunt. It's not about the limit- we could have stayed until we bagged another 8- but about the experience.
We were completely satisfied that we had earned those ducks that morning. Cold to the bone, mud-caked, numb fingers and more, those ducks did not come easy, nor would we have wanted them to.
This day saw us get four beautiful widgeons (I was happy to see a new type of bird!) 3 bufflehead including one old male with the most beautiful coloring I've ever seen and one bluebill.
Hard earned ducks, every one.
So day two presented a completely different type of duck hunting for us, something for which I was grateful for. I've now experienced two completely different ways to hunt ducks…and there's still day three to come!
Thanks for stopping in and reading everyone!