Duck Season… At Last!

November 13, 2016

All Geared Up Last year, duck season kind of rolled around and caught me unprepared.  I was also, to be honest, less than motivated.  We had plenty of rainy, grey days, but it was way too warm to get very excited about duck hunting.  Worse, it stayed warm all season.

On top of that, I still didn’t really know any good places to go.  It was my first season being back in NC, and over the 20 years since I moved away, development pretty much swallowed up most of my old hunting areas.  The places on the bigger water, along the Cape Fear pretty much require a motor boat, which I did not have.  The old, freighter canoe and the kayaks are OK for some things, but beating against a 5 to 7 knot current gets a little tiring.  I’m not the young man I once was, and I’m in nowhere near the physical condition I was in 20 years ago.

I’ve remedied some of that with the addition of a motor for the canoe.  This has given me mobility in a very shallow-draft boat, and I’ve been able to get out and do some exploring in the local waters, both the Neuse and the Northeast Cape Fear.  It’s also been a little chillier the past week, and despite the bright, blue skies, I was pretty fired up to get out on the opener.

It’s still early in the season, and up until this weekend, the temps have mostly stayed pretty warm.  I didn’t have really high hopes yesterday morning, but figured some of the local wood ducks would give me some action.  They did, but unfortunately, the action was to buzz by in the first shooting light, and then go on down and light around the river bend.  I never even pulled the trigger.

I have also been really looking forward to getting in a full season with my new(ish), CZ Bobwhite.  I’d been wanting a 20ga SxS for quite some time, and Kat hooked me up for my birthday last year.  I didn’t really get a lot of use out of it last season, though.  I had been a bit concerned because the gun tended to be very difficult to break open after a shot.  At first, I wrote it off to just being stiff and new, but it didn’t really feel that way.  During dove season this year, I killed a few birds, but had to pretty much break the action over my knee every time.

When I finally broke down and took a closer look, I could see a drag mark across the primer.  That’s a pretty good indication that the firing pin is either sticking, or over-protruding.  I considered trying to fix it myself, but decided against the risk of damage, and contacted CZ-USA about getting it repaired under warranty.  They told me to fill out the form (a quick process), then they sent me a repair authorization and a shipping label.  The standard turn-around time for warranty work is four to six weeks, but the rep I spoke to said it’s usually much quicker.  We’ll see.  FedEx picked it up on Friday, and I’m hoping to have it back by the time the duck season gets rolling in earnest.

R. M. Ducks?Iggy, by the way, was pretty excited about the season opener as well.  He’s not a big fan of doves, and usually spits them out when he gets close to me.  Ducks, though… well, he hasn’t had a ton of opportunity, but when he has retrieved ducks, I can see that he’s in his element.  I’m hoping the birds will come on down this season, so he’ll have plenty of chances to do his thing.


9 Responses to “Duck Season… At Last!”

  1. Duck Season… At Last! | on November 13th, 2016 10:49

    […] Duck Season… At Last! […]

  2. Duck Hunting Sara on November 13th, 2016 21:57

    I can imagine how stoked your dog must have been to go hunting again. I know it from my lab who completely looses it once he realizes that we are going hunting again. Probably even more excited than I am 😀 best hunting buddy by far!
    Which canoe are you using exactly? Thought about getting one for myself and doing some research about it at them moment. If this too off-topic, you are also welcomed to send me an email.

    Thanks for the reply to my other comment by the way, always interesting to read other opinions!

  3. Phillip on November 14th, 2016 05:34

    Hi, Sara.

    Very little is off-topic around here… particularly discussions of gear!

    The canoe is an ancient, Grumman square-stern (they still make them, though) that I’ve had since I was a teenager. It’s 17′ long, and pretty stable. It was self-righting when it was new, but mice ate all of the flotation foam so I’m not sure if it still works… but it’s pretty hard to flip anyway.

    I will say it’s a handful, out of the water. It’s really too long to haul in my long-bed truck, but I do it anyway. Empty, I think it weighs about 85 lbs, so I can manage it by myself, but the length makes it a challenge to maneuver and balance. If you do a lot of solo hunting, it may not be your best option.

    The motor makes it feel a little unstable, but you get used to it pretty quick. It doesn’t really get up on plane, like a regular boat, so handling can be a little tricky. But I’m not looking for speed. It gets me into shallow water with no problem, and the little motor is so fuel efficient, I am still running on the same six gallon tank I filled up back in January.

    It can also feel a little uncomfortable with the dog shifting his weight. Iggy’s pretty well trained, but he still has to get up and move from time to time. It’s not like he’s going to flip the boat, but he will make it list hard, and that can make it difficult to steer. I make him a bed up forward, and try to keep him still when we’re underway.

    Anyway, probably more info than you were looking for, but once I get started…

  4. Duck Hunting Sara on November 14th, 2016 08:43

    There is no such thing as to much info when it comes to hunting gear. :p

    Thanks for all the insights, even if I wont get this exact canoe it’s interesting to hear all the challenges I might face once I operate one. Especially keeping the dog calm will be a challenge.

    I thought about getting the next best simple canoe, giving it a paint job for some nice camo patterns and attach some duck blind material. What do you think about that? Will be a nice little project and I might even write about it on my page.

    Thanks again for all the infos!

  5. Phillip on November 14th, 2016 09:29


    I think a regular canoe can be a wonderful hunting tool. You can sometimes find them with camo paint already, but doing the paint job yourself can be a fun project. My brother actually painted mine while I was living out in California (he kept it “in practice” for me, while I was living away).

    For camo, I usually just carry some long pieces of burlap, and pull those over the canoe when I’m in the reeds. That seems to work pretty well, and it’s a lot less expensive than some of the factory-made stuff. If you really want a good project, you can weave your own camo from native reeds and grasses.

    If you do a lot of solo hunting (with the dog), there are some other options out there as well. Years ago, my dad had a Poke Boat, which is like an extra-wide kayak. I could put myself, the dog, and a couple dozen decoys on there, and had no problem paddling it in the Cape Fear river (which is pretty big water). It was also much easier to handle on land than the canoe.

    I look forward to hearing what you come up with.

  6. Duck Hunting Sara on November 19th, 2016 12:49

    sorry for the late reply.

    I agree on that painting yourself can be fun. I actually did it before on different objects and it’s not that hard at all. Basically you just use plants out of the environment you plan on hunting in, layer them over the object and spray them with earth and olive tones. Move the plants and spray again until you have a satisfying result. Works like charm and actually looks great!

    Great idea! A burlap should do the trick. If you feel like it you could probably attach some artificial plants to it or something, but that might already be an overkill! 😀

    Thanks for the hint on the boat, although it seems like this might go a little over my budget. A wider boat definitely makes sense though. Maybe I find something similiar in my price range.


  7. Duck Hunting Sara on November 19th, 2016 15:41

    Ah and what I wanted to ask, any way I can contact you by email somehow? Would love to hear your opinion on a new project!

  8. JAC on November 24th, 2016 12:03

    Happy Thanksgiving, pal.

  9. Phillip on November 25th, 2016 09:24

    Right back atcha, John!