For opening weekend, my husband was hunting wood ducks on the river. The spot he hunts is an off-shoot from the main river so there is not a lot of current.
There are also beavers in the area and they have done a good job of damming it up so it is like a little pool. According to Bird Web a strong beaver population is helpful in creating the forested wetland habitat that supports wood ducks. That may explain why there are so many wood ducks around there.
Wood ducks are active for only the first ten or so minutes of shooting hours and then they disappear. You have to be on your toes to bag one as they wiz past.
A little more on wood ducks from Ducks Unlimited:
If the video doesn’t work, try here.
You also need a dog because chances are the duck is going to fall on the other side of the river and it is just too deep to wade through.
The duck hubby shot landed exactly there, on the other side of the river. There was only one dog available to retrieve it…Freighter.
Freighter did not initially go along because the area is kind of tight and you can’t move around much. Freighter still has a lot of puppy wiggles in him so he waited at home. When hubby came back for Freighter, I figured I would tag along and try to get a few pictures of the retrieve.
We parked at the end of a gas line road and then had a short walk through the trees to get to the river.
The overnight temperatures were in the 30′s so as the sun was coming up, the fog was rolling in. By the time we got there it was it difficult the get clear pictures, but luckily the bird landed belly up so it was visible on the other side of the river.
Freighter is just starting to learn handling and he has not done any blind retrieves so he was walked out to a spot in the cover where hopefully he could see the bird. He spotted it right away and was sent to retrieve it.
In no time he was across the river and back. I had to be quick with the camera to get a few pictures.
Excellent job for a 10 month old puppy. He had no trouble blasting through the cover and brought the duck all the way back to the bank of the river. It was a textbook retrieve just like Darrin taught him. Thank you Darrin! Since Thunder and Storm are out for hunting season, it looks like Freighter will have to pick up the slack.
We didn’t stick around too long because that water was cold and we didn’t have a vest on Freighter. He doesn’t have a lot of fat and he is just starting to get his winter coat, so he was shivering a bit. We dried him off quickly because we did not want a case of cold tail his first time out.
We did try to take a couple of pictures later, but taking pictures of an excited wiggly puppy is not easy.