Duck Hunting in Klamath

It wasn’t opening day but this weekend I took my boys duck hunting in the Klamath marsh area. I took Friday off, took the kids out of school and headed to the marsh.

My oldest boy hunted with me last year, but for my youngest this was all new. Both of them were excited to be pulled out of school and even more to be going duck hunting with their dad.

We got to Petric boat ramp on the Wood river and motored out for an evening hunt. Unfortunately the jet engine wasn’t working so we had to use the 10 horse prop. It took a looong time to push the big boat up river, but finally we made it. It was a warm day and both kids were drowsy from laying in the sun watching the bottom of the Wood river pass by.

I shouldered the decoy bag and we headed into the field. It was 65 degrees and we were dressed in neoprene waders, so we got hot fast. I was dripping sweat by the time we crossed the many deep water canals to get to the pond we wanted to hunt.  The canals are deep enough that the kids can’t cross without my help, so I had to go back and forth carrying them. Meanwhile ducks were flying everywhere.

There were thousands of ducks winging around the pond we intended to hunt. I hadn’t loaded my gun yet, we were still trudging across the treacherous marsh.

occasionally the kids would hit a mini-sink hole and I’d have to help extract them. Unlike myself they would hit a hole, sink and then calmly ask for assistance. I tend to panic a bit when I start sinking into mudholes, but not my boys, they thought it was funny.

Finally we got to the pond and threw out a few decoys. We immediately started getting shooting. My boys haven’t gone through the Hunters’ safety course, so can’t shoot yet. They were content to watch me. I couldn’t seem to miss, I was shooting very well.

There were always ducks in the air, so we were constantly crouching, hoping they came in range. It only took about 1.5 hours to get a full limit of ducks, 7. They were all spoonbills, a mix of drakes and hens. Did I mention I couldn’t miss? In fact I don’t ever remember shooting so well. I got 7 ducks with 10 shells.

The final bird was a doozy. It came over us kind of high, but within range, I shot and winged it. It went down about 200 yards away and was still very much alive. Zipper, my outstanding Labrador charged into the shallow water in pursuit. Of course when she got close, the duck dove trying to evade her. It was our seventh duck so I unloaded my gun and we watched the show.

The duck would surface, Zipper would run after it, the duck would dive again. This happened over and over, at least 30 times. Zipper was relentless and finally came up with the duck, holding it tenuously by its foot. The boys cheered and Zipper ran back to us and deposited the duck at my feet, she was exhausted.

I was beaming, my first hunt of the season and I’d limited out quickly. My boys were happy too, never getting bored watching me shoot.

We trudged our way back to the boat, sweating profusely. We loaded up and headed back downstream. We took the boat out just as it was getting dark. We were starving so we drove into Chiloquin and ate burgers at Melita’s.

We found a hotel in Fort Klamath and settled in. I set my alarm for 4:30 Am, we were gonna do it all over in the morning. I’ll cover our Saturday hunt in my next post.

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