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Oct 10th-13, 2009 - hunted the "2nd split" Iowa duck opener - total score = 7 mallards & 3 GWT
Oct 10th Gunny & I left the "dock" (Illinois side) with the 12' Carsten Bluebill loaded down with 11 Dakota Mallards, six Avery FB, four FB mallard "resters", five Pro Grade teal, a MOJO teal, MOJO hen mallard and my old ROBO duck plus three full body goose decoys, not to mention an Ultra Low dog hide and a Power Hunter, gun, ammo & gear bag, a lay-out seat, camera, stakes for the "electric" ducks and "camo" to hide the boat.

I couldn't sleep. So we were there very early and setup soon enough to let some of the sweat disappear. It was in the upper 20's and watched boat after boat stop, look us over and head to their next place. There were about forty ducks already in the decoys at ten minutes before shooting time.

Three minutes to shooting time, someone fired shots right nearby. My ducks all jumped up and left. I didn't fire a shot....still too early, but it wasn't long before we were covered in teal. Gunny had three GW teal singles in the "dekes". The first was close (20 yards+). Gunny didn't see it splash down and I had to handle him to it (didn't expect that!) The second was similar, but he was much more animated because it was a busy cripple. Then two mallards were dropped (one at a time and again in the decoys). He was all over these...Gunny's first "real" ducks and he caught on quickly and any concerns I had disappeared.

The third and last duck (a mallard) was shot back over my shoulder and fell into the deep, large marsh grass to our left. It was one of those Wow! I can't believe I made that shot.

Gunny saw it...marked it....and I did hesitate to send him because it was not going to be easy, but he was zeroed in and when I asked him....he fired. Gunny did not come back for awhile. I got a bit nervous (young dog, huge marsh flat) open water beyond. I walked out and could not see, hear or find him. In fact, I could hardly walk in the tall and totally thick, matted "mess".

Finally, I headed back to the blind and was concerned (to say the least).  My thoughts were "This is an easy way to loose a young dog." However, after about ten minutes, I stepped out into the shorter grass I saw him coming in from the main channel shoreline where our boat was hidden. He had a lively hen mallard in his mouth and seemed pleased with the situation. That hen mallard completed our limit and I began picking up "stuff" at 9:15 am. There was all the gear that needed to taken across the knee deep "marsh", littered with dead lilies while trying to avoid the deeper muskrat runs. Eight trips 100 yards out and hunting is "sooooo" easy. When we got back to duck camp on the Illinois side, I was immediately asked "Isn't that a mallard, too many teal?" I said, "I have an Iowa license. it's opening day...there."

The next morning, Gunny's eye was swollen shut with no emergency vets nearby. Therefore, I drove him two hours to my vet in Wisconsin. Gunny had a weed seed under the third eye lid. Two hours later, we were back in the trailer on the Mississippi.

Daisy got four big mallards Sunday morning, but the "little birds" weren't flying. I went with way less "stuff"...and vowed to "never again"...the sled would have been much easier. 
Taffey went Monday and Tuesday morning and we got skunked both times. The weather was too nice.....ducks were not flying. However, I went with less "stuff" and used the sled (once in and out!!!) My fourth dog did not hunt. Kooly "did the dishes".

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Mississippi River - Iowa View


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