John's Journal...

Combo Hunt for Ducks and Whitetails and Other Animals

Take Bushytails and Webfoots

Click to enlargeI first learned about combo hunting for waterfowl as a senior in high school. My dad and I had squirrel hunted along the edges of flooded timber all morning, me witha .22 rifle and Pop with a .12 gauge shotgun. About 1:00 pm, I noticed that wood ducks and mallards had started dropping into a small, shallow, flooded-timber pond deep in the woods.

“Pop, you keep squirrel hunting with myClick to enlarge .22, and I’ll borrow your shotgun and take a few ducks,” I said. By 3:30 pm, I had my limit of ducks. Pop had given up squirrel hunting to watch me shoot waterfowl coming into the pond. Once I’d reached my limit, I gave the shotgun back to my dad and said, “O.K., Pop, I’ve got my limit. You get yours.” With a smile like the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland, Dad took the 12 gauge and began banging away at woodies and mallards as they flew into the flooded timber to feed. An hour before dark, we each had our limits of webfoots on the water and needed only two squirrels to fill our limits of bushytails.

As Pop walked back to me from where he’d shot the ducks, he said, “Boy, you’ve got a Click to enlargeproblem. You’ve got two limits of ducks on the water, and the water’s deeper than your boots. How will you get those ducks?” “Wait a minute,” I said. “You shot just as many ducks as I did. Why do I have to go get them?” “Well,” Pop answered with the wisdom only a father can know, “You’re the one who wanted to shoot ducks. I’d never have thought to take ducks, while we hunted for squirrels. Besides, you’re younger, stronger and quicker. If you pick those ducks up quickly, you can take the last two squirrels to finish out your limit. I’ll carry the shotgun while you hunt.”Click to enlarge

The lure of stalking two more squirrels to take my limit outweighed the coldness of the water as I removed my boots, socks and pants and waded out in that backwater slough in only my underwear to pick up the ducks. Within 15 minutes, I had the ducks loaded in our hunting coats, dried-off my legs and feet with my pants, redressed and hunted squirrels. But, I remembered that ice-cold water for some time. The next time Pop and I hunted squirrels in woods near flooded timber, I had my daypack, waders and tennis shoes ready if either of us got the notion to take a few ducks from any of the flights we spotted.

Let the weather conditions and duck-movement patterns dictate when and where you’ll hunt instead of having pre-conceived notions as to the right time of day and place for duck hunting. If you’ll carry your duck-hunting gear in a daypack and leave your shotgun at the base of the tree where you deer hunt, you often can double-dip on deer or small game and ducks during the same day’s outing.

Check back each day this week for more about "Combo Hunt for Ducks and Whitetails and Other Animals"

Day 1: Simplify Your Duck-Hunting Routine
Day 2: Stalk Hunting Ducks
Day 3: Hunt Ducks in the Afternoon
Day 4: Enjoy Midday Duck Hunting
Day 5: Take Bushytails and Webfoots


Entry 485, Day 5