John's Journal...

Duck-Hunting Guides Tell All

Click to enlargeShane Upchurch

Editor’s Note: Twenty-seven-year-old Shane Upchurch has guided hunters to ducks on Reelfoot Lake near Tiptonville, Tennessee, in Tennessee’s northwestern corner since only 14-Click to enlargeyears old. He’s seen some the mistakes duck hunters make and know how to solve duck-hunting problems. Let’s listen to the confessions of this duck-hunting guide, and learn how to solve some of our own duck-hunting difficulties.

"One of our hunters brought a Chesapeake Bay retriever to the blind one morning,” Upchurch recalls. “I told the man before we got in the boat that morning that I’d heard those dogs were pretty aggressive. But the man looked at me and said, ‘Oh, no. This dog has never bit or harmed anybody. He’s a good dog and will retrieve anything you send him after.’ We were getting in the boat to leave the blind when for no reason at all this dog bit Billy Blakely on the arm and then turned around and bit me on the arm. He started shaking his head back and forth while trying to drag me out of the boat. Billy jumped up, doubled-up his fist and hit theClick to enlarge dog right between the eyes to get the dog to turn me loose. After all four of the dog's legs went out, he fell flat on his stomach and finally lost his grip. The man looked around and said, ‘I can't believe that. That dog has never bit anybody.’ The dog recovered quickly and sat in the front end of the boat and didn’t come around us anymore.

“I was hunting with Billy Blakely, another guide on Reelfoot, one morning, and the weather was cold. As soon as we got to the blind Billy said, ‘Light the heater. It’s cold.’ When I lit the heater, I discovered that a coon or something had been in our blind and bit a Click to enlargehole in the gas line. When I turned the gas on and lit the stove, the gas shot out of the hole and up Billy Blakely's leg. Billy ran down to the end of the blind screaming, ‘Push the boat out away from the blind! I’m jumping in.’ That was the fastest I’d ever seen that fat boy move. I finally got Billy’s fire put out before he jumped from the boat.”

To learn more about duck hunting at Bluebank Resort, call (731) 253-8976 or check out

Tomorrow: Jason Craig

Check back each day this week for more about "Duck-Hunting Guides Tell All"

Day 1: Billy Blakely
Day 2: Shane Upchurch
Day 3: Jason Craig
Day 4: Solving Five of the Most-Common Duck-Hunting Problems
Day 5: Solving Seven More of the Most-Common Duck-Hunting Problems



Entry 388, Day 2