I’ve been on quite a few fascinating, effective hunts, but practically nothing has ready me for the evening tornado of mallards that are swirling above the blind, all eager to land amongst our decoys.
The sound of their flapping wings is deafening as they make a single pass right after one more, gradually backpedalling their way to the ground.
Our guide, Ryan Reynolds, has been hunting waterfowl given that the age of 12 and has been a skilled waterfowl guide for 13 years, hunting and guiding across Canada. Reynolds holds 14 national waterfowl-calling titles, and is co-owner of Capital Waterfowling, exactly where he styles and creates the calls he utilizes in the field.
His furry companion, Iceman, is a legendary black Lab from Indiana. With more than 13,00 birds retrieved, Iceman is a single of the greatest operating dogs out there.
I initial met Reynolds and 5 other hunters about 10:00 a.m. at a cozy rental house in the town of Bath, in mid-December. The beautiful six-bedroom cottage identified as “Blue Haven” is situated proper on the water, just ahead of Lake Ontario narrows into the St. Lawrence River. Through hunting season, Reynolds has exclusive use of the cottage for hunting groups requiring accommodation.
We enjoyed a cup of coffee and got acquainted ahead of Reynolds laid down the course of action. He had scouted a reduce cornfield the evening ahead of that held a significant quantity of birds. The strategy was to get into the field by early afternoon, set up our blind, and wait for the mallards to fly off Lake Ontario and into the field for an evening feed.
The significant cornfield is a kilometre or so uphill from the lake, and Reynolds has picked out a spot on the backside exactly where we will set up. It requires us about 45 minutes to place with each other an A-frame blind, which we decorate with extended grass and corn stalks till it is completely camouflaged.
We pile into the blind, take our seats, and start the pre-hunt ritual of uncasing our guns and filling our pockets with shells. Reynolds walks out in front of the blind followed by Iceman, and sets out dozens of complete-physique Canada goose decoys and two Mojo mechanical duck decoys.
In the initial hour we see only a handful of birds flying off in the distance. Then, at nearly three p.m. the initial flocks of ducks come off the river and head in our path. Reynolds begins calling them in, and right after a single large circle they commit and commence cupping into our spread. “Get ‘em boys!” pipes Reynolds, when they come inside variety.
With that, we all spring into action, letting off a barrage of shots. A couple of birds fall, but we are clearly a bit rusty, as the majority safely fly off. We promptly uncover our groove and the flocks that comply with do not have it so effortless.
The glow of accomplishment
As the December sun sinks decrease in the sky, it lights up the landscape in a lovely orange hue, and the mallards come in by the dozen. At its peak, there are conveniently far more than 500 mallards whirling above us, eager to land inside the decoys. We know there are only 3 far more ducks to our limit so I place down my shotgun and grab my camera to film the exceptional chaos above.
“That’s a limit guys,” Reynolds yells as the final couple of birds hit the ground. Iceman diligently gathers them up and gently returns them a single by a single to Reynolds’ hand. Nonetheless jacked up from the exhilarating hunt, we exchange higher-fives and handshakes ahead of acquiring to function breaking down the blind and selecting up spent shells.
Reynolds brings the truck about, we load up our decoys and the A-frames, and head back to the cottage exactly where Reynolds tends to make brief function of cleaning the birds and packaging them for us. A couple of drake mallards with lovely plumage are selected to turn out to be mounts.
That evening opened my eyes to a level of duck hunting I’d under no circumstances noticed ahead of. It was a hunt I will recall for years to come.
Acquiring there: Off the 401, take exit 579 Kaladar, Napanee
Speak to: Get in touch with Ryan Reynolds straight at Capital Waterfowling Napanee at 613-453-8224 or e-mail him right here
Initially published in the Fall 2018 concern of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine.
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