Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Last Weekend of Duck Season report

Duck season had been slow in the Santee area for most of the season, but the snow storms that hit D.C. and the East Coast in the middle of January really seemed to drive some ducks down into Georgetown County. This Lowcountry duck migration was great timing for those who were locked and loaded for the finale of waterfowl season. Howard Hughes, Terry Moore and son Austin were in the right place at the right time when they hunted together during the final weekend of the season. Friday morning they held a coveted draw hunt invitation at Cedar Island WMA and made the most of it by limiting out on teal, following the caretaker's advice to shoot the green-winged teal when given the chance because the big ducks were only on nearby plantations. Saturday morning saw the crew in the North Santee River patrolling in their john boat for a likely position outside of Ted Turner's Kinloch Plantation. A strong Northeast wind had the ocean whipped up so the ducks did not have the luxury of rafting up, out of harm's way. The hunters knew that high tide at 7:45 a.m. would benefit river hunters and they had Moore's trusty black lab Jake along to make retrieves - and ends up he had his work cut out for him. These veteran duck hunters put out what they felt was the right decoy spread for that day: 9 ringnecks, 15 widgeon, 23 teal and a mojo duck painted to resemble a pintail. When daybreak lit up the Santee Basin the guns opened up at Annandale, Rochelle and Kinloch plantations and large numbers of ducks left their smartweed and spikeweed and flew to the river hunters. The cold weather, and the added wind enabled the hunters to take a pintail drake each, and round out their bag with a shoveler drake, a pair of gadwalls and several green-winged teal. Thanks to Howard Hughes for the photo that depicts Terry and Austin with Jake and the ducks.

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