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AN OUTDOORSMAN’S Journal

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY STANLEY TIRE

BY MARK WALTERS

Last Minute Teal Hunt

Hello friends, I was supposed to be on a very simple goose hunt near Burnett for this week’s trip but that changed when my hunting partner told me that there were not any geese coming into the fields that he had permission to hunt. In a matter of hours my plan went from a simple field hunt and staying in his house to loading up my 18.6 War Eagle with decoys, my canoe, sleeping bags, guns and other gear and heading to Ferryville on the Mississippi River to spend two nights living out of my boat.

Wednesday, August 31st High 81, low 53 So, it’s Ruby, her pup Red and myself. We are going to live and hunt in my boat and explore by canoe. The teal season as well as Early Goose season opens in the morning, and I am running out of daylight as I explore. The water is very low on the Mississippi backwaters and the vegetation is numerous which should mean I can hide the boat and whack some birds the next morning.

My first surprise came when I jumped out of my boat into chest deep water and my waders told me that they have several leaks. I got back in the boat after hiding the War Eagle in some wild rice, opened a can of beer and watched the skies. I saw three flocks of teal, numerous woodies, and not a goose. Towards dark I heated up some chili, put my cot together, and tried listening to my radio, but the batteries were dead, I have to mention that the charger for my phone went to heaven as well so this would be 48-hours of nonintervention from the outside world.

After supper I became very comfortable in my sleeping bag with two golden fur balls laying besides and I watched the sky. By midnight the dew was so heavy that it had soaked through my sleeping bag, I got up, put a tarp over it and kind of slept until 4:00.

Thursday, September 1st High 84, low 55 I had trash bags that I put in my chest waders, that helped. They only went to my thighs, so I still got wet. This morn- ing I had a flock of teal offer some very easy shots as they flew by, I missed and Ruby was not happy with me. Red on the other hand was fine with watching the sky and about every half hour doing a quick run and dive off the boat into the water. An hour after legal shooting began every bird in the area vanished and so I went exploring by canoe. I was confident the late day hunt would be good, and I really had no cares as I was on the water, my housing was free and I did not have to go home for another day.

Another kind of conundrum was that the sun was a bit of a scorcher and when I tried taking a siesta it was simply too hot. With three hours of daylight left I was super excited for the massive teal and goose flight that was about to begin. I did not care that I was burnt to a crisp, had no radio or phone had not harvested a bird and that my waders leaked quite profusely. Fifty-one years ago my dad the late Robert Walters took me hunting to Ferryville for the first time and I honestly was living down memory lane.

At dark I got in my sleeping bag with two bundles of gold wrestling to see who could put their face next to mine and I watched the sky. Late in the night it started raining, I packed my bag, put on my rain gear and waited for it to get light out where I planned on limiting out on teal and geese. Daylight came, a teal snuck in and landed in my decoys. Ruby kept looking at me and in dog talk was saying, shoot the bird fool! The teal sprung into the air, I took three shots at the flying bird, I missed and then just like the day before the sky was empty.

I packed up, made the journey back to the landing, ran my bear baits before I got home, just like the way I started this trip and thus another “epic” journey came to an end!

Love to hunt! Sunset

A Mississippi River sunset

September 21, 2022