Then, I got a call from Angie's cousin. We were supposed to do a hog hunt in Goliad, TX (where he lived) during the summer, but never got it done. He and his family had moved back to Bonham, and he found a lease and wanted to know if I wanted in. I thought about it for about 0.003 seconds, got approval from Angie, and said yes. We would have access to 206 acres about 90 minutes away that we could hunt dove, duck, hog, and deer and it also had a pond stocked with fish. We were set.
Since opening day dove season (Sept 1), I have spent a part of all but one weekend on that property. I've gotten my hog, and will get a deer next weekend as it is antlerless weekend. Perhaps another hog or deer during the rest of our time on the lease and then it will be over...until we start looking for a place to get turkey in the spring.
Although the hunting is the highlight, and harvesting game the purpose, spending time in the outdoors is so much more than that. This week in Utah is a great example. Yes, we had an amazing time bagging duck, but some of the other experiences will not be forgotten, as well. In fact, when shooting becomes a hazy memory, I will continue to remember vividly the "Hawaii 5-O" theme on the duck call. Or, that Jeremy and I almost took a fall into the water when I took an overhead shot at a duck.
Or, perhaps the two bald eagles we saw when we were leaving the lake on day 1. I looked for eagles during the entire time I spent in Alaska, and never saw one. But I saw two perched along the shores of Utah Lake.
Or, perhaps the not one, but TWO, shooting stars I saw. Not little transient flickers, but large, bright and long burning shooting stars that made the hair on the back of my neck raise up as I watched them.
Or, maybe the sunrises that I saw come up from the mountains. Or the lake surface, so still it looked like glass and how it reflected the snow capped mountains in the background.
Or, one of the many other bird species we saw flying.
Or, the ducks that never came into shooting range. How they took a look at our spread, circled, maybe even answered our call, but then decided not to come join our party.
That's why I am out doors and why I love it so much. Yes, the harvest is awesome, as is the eating, but the whole experience is so much more. And, as a hunter and as a member of various conservation organizations, I am proud to know that my dollars help preserve the very same outdoors that I have come to love.
As a local commercial says, "if you want to preserve an environment, hunt in it!"
Spend some time outside, you'll see what I am talking about.
Our spread, from the boat on day 2. My hosts added two mojos to the one they had from day 1. They made a huge difference, as we increased our harvest from 3 to 11 between the two days.
The view of our Day 2 location from out in the water. The sun is to my back, so we are looking back to from where I took the two first pictures. We are in the boat taking this picture, but imagine that the boat is within the reeds you are looking at. We were almost completely concealed. Jeremy is standing to the right of the reeds in this picture and he is just about invisible.
Our harvest from Day 1. A black duck, a drake Goldeneye and a hen Goldeneye. Here is the Hunter's boat. It is such a sweet deal. A jon boat with this flip up sides that function as the blind. When backed up to the reeds, or better yet, parked in the reeds, it is a stable platform for shooting that is virtually invisible. Add the 4 dozen or so decoys and the three mojo's, and they have the perfect set up for duck hunting.
Our Day 2 harvest. 11 ducks in the boat with 15 shot. The widgeon I shot and that we chased but never found, was my biggest regret. The other widgeon is about halfway in the picture with the green stripe on its head. In order, two redheads, a pintail, a black duck, a widgeon, two shovelers, and four green wing teal.
One of my hosts (Jeremy - his brother Robert is taking the picture), their boat and our harvest. If you can't tell, we've shed our heavy coats by this point. The weather was perfect. About 40 degrees when we started and significantly warmer when we ended. We hunted from legal shooting hours (about 6:50am) to 10am the first day, and about 11am the second. We just didn't want to leave.
To see all of my pictures, click here.