Duck Tales

With thanks to Winchester here are some of the best en­tries for our Duck Tales com­pe­ti­tion. The win­ner of the Winchester Gun Safe is Daniel Loren­zini We'd like to thank all the read­ers who took the time to share their 2016 Duck Sea­son story.

Field and Game - - DUCK TALES -

Daniel Loren­zini

The days count­ing down to my very first ev­ery duck open­ing had come down to just one more sleep.

It was an ex­cit­ing night around the camp­fire along the Bro­ken Creek hear­ing all the sto­ries from ex­pe­ri­enced hun­ters, most of whom have never missed a duck open­ing.

I can't wait to be in their shoes shar­ing sto­ries with my chil­dren in decades to come.

I woke to the sound of brew­ing cof­fee and ex­cited GSPS and Brit­tany spaniels. The morn­ing was per­fect, the sun was on its way up and the scenery was pic­turesque.

We split up into small groups and spread out along the creek. Wait­ing for 7.20 am, we read­ily stood in silence along the bank.

At 7.22 am, I heard what I thought was an­other hunter fur­ther down the creek blow­ing a Wood duck call, much to my sur­prise the sound was rapidly ap­proach­ing us.

I spot­ted the Wood duck and couldn't con­tain my ex­cite­ment but all my prepa­ra­tion and prac­tice came down to this ex­act mo­ment. My first duck! It was a per­fect shot! I will never for­get it. I man­aged to get a snap­shot of the very spot where I took my first duck. It's not all about reach­ing your bag limit, it is about the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence. Shar­ing mo­ments like this with your best friends and fam­ily is what hunt­ing means to me.

Paul Chivers

While it was a quiet Duck Sea­son over­all, my mates and myself never gave up try­ing to find a duck for the whole sea­son.

On clos­ing week­end I went out with my mate Dave and his labrador Har­ley.

Har­ley never left Dave's side the whole week­end: it didn't mat­ter if we were in the boat watch­ing over de­coys, out hunt­ing foxes or sit­ting in camp watch­ing over a camp­fire of burn­ing red gum. A loyal lab is truly a duck hunter's best friend.

Ram Eskeif

Heart Mo­rass State Game Re­serve

With such fas­ci­nat­ing scenery I was more than ex­cited count­ing the hours pass.

I couldn't sleep with all the night birds calls es­pe­cially Black ducks; sounds of black Swans tak­ing off, wa­ter splashes of jump­ing fish in the nearby river. A sim­ply mag­i­cal starry night with fire flames light­ing our faces in the night dark­ness.

I was the first to wake up and get ready with full hunt­ing gear that morn­ing. I lost my first shots at Moun­tain ducks due to overex­cite­ment and such sur­prise to see what I was dream­ing of all the night.

I never gave up and car­ried on call­ing ducks. Sud­denly I see a duck com­ing from afar to­ward my de­coys; once it reached my range, I fired a shell to take that Grey teal down.

I can't tell you how I felt that mo­ment as it was my first duck ever.

Lau­ren Ma­son

This year our two-and-a-half year old son Alby got to ex­pe­ri­ence the hype of go­ing duck shoot­ing with his un­cle, Tony Bur­sill who had trav­elled seven hours from Eurobin, Vic­to­ria to join us for open­ing.

The first thing packed in the ute was his plas­tic side-by-side shot­gun that was pur­chased as a birth­day present from Toy­world. The joy on his face car­ry­ing the duck back to the ute was just price­less and that alone was our proud­est mo­ment as par­ents.

All our chil­dren have grown up around guns and all aspects of hunt­ing. They have been taught from a young age the im­por­tance of gun safety. It is safe to say that this is hope­fully the first of many more open­ings Alby will get to en­joy with his fam­ily.

Keith Dou­glas

My duck open­ing was very quiet, giv­ing me some time for think­ing. I love wet­lands (“my heart­lands” as an old FGA bumper sticker once said).

Wa­ter is the giver of life and a gift of God. It doesn't mat­ter I didn't get a bag, I just love the ex­pe­ri­ence.

To para­phrase Fred Bear (Bear Archery); when a hunter is on the wa­ter in a blind with high moral val­ues and with the proper hunt­ing ethics and richer for the ex­pe­ri­ence, that hunter is closer to God.

Jas­mine Mcmaster

Af­ter just ob­tain­ing a ju­nior firearms li­cence I scored an A in the duck iden­ti­fi­ca­tion course I par­tic­i­pated in, held at the Leon­gatha RSL with Geoff Cooper from South Gipp­s­land FGA.

On the day be­fore duck sea­son opened my dad and I went to some lo­cal dams to see if there were any ducks around and there were plenty. Un­for­tu­nately, open­ing morn­ing we went out with the shot­guns and there wasn't a sin­gle duck in sight.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing we only went to one dam that is just down the road from my house.

We stalked the dam very slowly and qui­etly, as we got to the dam bank we popped our heads up and a flock of around 15 Chest­nut teal rose from the wa­ter and *BANG* *BANG* I dropped two.

I re­trieved them, took them home to then skin and but­ter­fly them.

An­gus Bradley

Here is a photo of myself show­ing the perks of be­ing the kid in the camp.

I bagged out on an af­ter­noon shoot along the Pic­caninny, a creek that flows out of Kow swamp. Dad and I raced out af­ter work with his new G3 punt he bought just for duck hunt­ing.

The early part of the shoot was slow, pairs of black­ies and Grey teal ris­ing too early for us to get a shot off, how­ever in this process they formed a large mob that fol­lowed the creek.

I asked Dad if he wanted me to cut across the bend and get him to punt up to me. Dad reck­oned this was a good idea so I jumped out and crossed the bend.

I walked a lot far­ther than I thought I would need to find ad­e­quate cover, when I did the ducks fell like flies. First a pair of black­ies pitched-in in front of me and with the first bar­rel I got both of them. As I went to reload a woody came scream­ing in and tried to veer away. He fell on the sec­ond bar­rel; I thought I was king!

Noth­ing could es­cape my trusty mark 10 Miroku! Un­til a mob of teal proved me wrong by fly­ing fast over­head. That was all for the ini­tial ac­tion un­til Dad picked me up in the boat. On our way back a Moun­tain duck got up in front of us and I re­called a jerky recipe and man­aged to bag him.

With that the clock showed it was too late to shoot and we spent the next 10 min­utes get­ting back to the car. Dad and I en­joy the rest of the duck sea­son but open­ing week­end is used as a so­cial event to catch up with fam­ily. We still man­age to ob­tain a feed of ducks but the best part was en­joy­ing each other's com­pany.

CUN­NING, CULI­NARY GREY TEAL By Mark Har­vey

Just to give you a per­cep­tion of what my or­deal is when I ex­haust all mea­sures in pur­suit of a plump Black duck; the chal­lenges are not only the cat­tle that graze away and dis­turb my quarry, but cun­ning Grey teal that al­ways seem to mas­ter the in­tel­li­gence and take flight, giv­ing the duck pop­u­la­tion the heads-up of my presence and jump­ing into the sky out of range.

When the farmer tells you that on the river there are hardly any birds and they are mainly teal, the chal­lenge is only to grab not only the de­li­cious lit­tle eater but to seek re­venge for pre­vi­ous sea­sons.

My open­ing two days later, yielded me four birds, three Grey teal and a fe­male blackie with­out los­ing any oth­ers.

Like ev­ery­one else, it was tough es­pe­cially hav­ing drought con­di­tions and low birds num­bers.

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