One of my No. 1 rules as a hunter is: If you want good results, you have to put the miles/money/time. Very rarely, the magic hunts come easily.
For me, waterfowling is king. And to find the beehive swarms of mallards isn’t particularly easy. Like Chris mentioned in our initial blog entry, we got a great couple hunts on opening weekend. But it came at a cost. Between the two of us, we spent more than just a couple hours searching for the perfect spot for the first hunt of the year. And that takes up plenty of gas money.
This week, I spent some time looking in an area I havenâ€™t scouted much in the past. I found massive flocks of birds, but an empty gas tank and a pickup stuck in the mud still wasnâ€™t enough to get me into the land.
Wednesday night â€“ which was Game 1 of the American League Divisional Series â€“ I decided to run out before sundown and do some looking. While driving down the dusty dirt road, I saw a flock of ducks lock up into a field, forcing me to immediately turn down a sloppy, muddy trail in order to get a closer look.
I pulled up to a low point on the trail with some standing water, but I figured with my 4-wheel drive pickup I could get through. I didnâ€™t.
Instead, the front end of my truck got stuck and my main drive tire was lifted in the air without any traction. I hopped out, walked about 3 miles and found a famer combining his soybeans. He called his neighbor, who brought out a chain and eventually pulled me out about an hour later. Thanks, buddy. I pointed to the cornfield the ducks were working, and asked the farmer if he knew who owned it. He did, but said, â€œGood luck getting in there. The farmer usually doesnâ€™t let anyone hunt.â€
I took down the guyâ€™s address and caught up with him the day after the Twins lost to the Yankees 6-4. It was a frustrating game to say the least, but at least I still had the ducks on my mind in hopes of getting in that cornfield. When I pulled into his driveway, he asked me exactly where I was hoping to hunt. I told him about getting stuck the night before and which field it was. Then, he says, â€œWell, I have someone from town that asked me to tell him when the ducks show up, so now Iâ€™ll let him know. Sorry, but you canâ€™t hunt in there.â€
I thought to myself, are you serious? Some guy from town gets to hunt the birds I found after spending my time and effort looking for? I get my pickup stuck searching for these mallards, and some guy gets the easy hunt? What a joke. Without much I could do, I left his farmyard pretty upset. I didnâ€™t call the day a complete failure, yet, though. I kept looking.
Soon after, I found a massive flooded pasture with a barrage of puddle ducks about five miles away and started the investigation of the owner. Eventually, I found him working with his grain and asked him for permission. He shook his head no. Someone else was archery hunting in the area, and he didnâ€™t want to mess it up for him.
Discouraged, I jumped back in my truck and headed home. Like our opening weekend, some days are good days, and some are just bad days.