Sherri’s Corner – Snow Birds

Every October for as long as I can remember, a group of friends has made the 16 (give or take) hour drive from Iowa to come up here and hunt ducks.  The original crew of duck hunters came up over 50 years ago and this same crew is 4th generation members of that same group in one way or another.  I don’t remember meeting any of these guys,  that’s how long I’ve known them!!  Now although I don’t remember what year I started tagging along on the early morning hunts,  I do remember that the weather was for the most part, usually decent.  We’ve dealt with skiffs of snow, rain, fog and even uncomfortably warm temperatures while out hunting ducks but we’ve never had to deal with the heavy, wet snow that fell in early October of 2016 (The last time this much snow fell this early in the year, was in 1916)  The snowfall broke tree branches from the sheer weight of it, it also caused the closure of schools and highways in certain parts of the province.  Harvest came to an abrupt halt and many farmers still had a fair amount of crop out in the field.  Yet, with all the chaos the weather caused – it didn’t deter the hunters from sticking to the original plan of the Saskatchewan duck hunt.

The road leading to the hunting shack was nothing short of a boggy soup hole and without 4 wheel drive, there wasn’t much point in trying to get down it!   Scouting was now a bit more of a challenge since we had to stay on the well traveled roads or else we’d be looking for a tow rope instead of a duck hunt.  With the amount of swathed and standing crops still out in the fields, that was also a factor that deterred a few farmers from allowing anyone to set up on their land (not to mention the unwanted amount of fresh moisture)  We did manage to find a shoot fairly close to home that seemed quite promising considering the amount of ducks feeding on the leftover combined peas in the field.

The next morning we all met for coffee and headed out to the pea field in the fog.   One good thing about all the white stuff on the ground was that we didn’t have to guess the feeding spot because the amount of duck tracks in the snow let us know we were on the X.  We unloaded the decoys and blinds out of the trailer and begin a typical set up – minus the fact that we were sinking in knee deep snow in order to place our lay down blinds!  Another new addition to our set up this year was the white blankets we put over top of our blinds instead of finding stubble and weeds to blend us in!  The deep snow wasn’t all bad as it allowed the blinds to sink in and made an insulated cozy cushion for the blinds.

As the fog lifted and daybreak started showing through, the ducks started moving.   It wasn’t  a barn burner sort of morning by any means but it was still a hunt that we made the best of considering the weather and the hand that mother nature had dealt us.  Between 8 shooters we got 13 ducks which is definitely not our best ratio but at the same time, I don’t think any of us will forget this past year. (Especially Dillan as this was his first time out duck hunting – he’s usually in a semi or pulling a grain cart when the hunters are here!)  We didn’t find another shoot that week and the guys ended up packing their bags and heading home a couple days earlier than planned.

The weather ended up turning nice again a few weeks later, allowing a few more farmers to get their crops off.  All the decoys and blinds got packed away in the trailer, even the new “white blanket” accessories to go with the blinds in case we ever have to deal with this particular challenge again in the future.  Regardless of the temperature, the weather or any other challenges that arise, the annual duck hunt is something I’ve always looked forward to, it’s a tradition I hope we can carry on for another 50 years.


Feb 15, 2017 | Category: Blog | Comments: none

 

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