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Hunt report............

orchidmanorchidman Senior MemberPosts: 8,145 Senior Member
edited May 2020 in Hunting #1
So I spent thursday setting the boat up. Normally I sleep under the stars on a camp stretcher and pull a cover over me if it looks like rain. This year I decided to put a removable cover over the boat as our season was delayed a month and June is a lot colder and wetter. This is what I came up with.......

Looked and worked great in the shed but didnt take into account field conditions :D:smile:
Dispensed with the rear pole and simply tied it off to the outboard in the end which dropped it lower....and it worked a treat to keep the dew/rain off.

So, Bh and I headed out fri night at 9pm in the dark......I mounted a spare cheap headlamp on the back of the outboard so he could follow me through the channels etc.
Navigation was spot on and we parted company to go to our 'spots'
First up was to set the decoys so that I had room to move about the boat. It is hard to gauge distance at night and it was only when the sun came up that I realised the decoys were a bit too close........but with the tide out I wasnt going to go wade through knee deep mud to move them. Made a coffee, after parking the boat in the mangroves, added some Glenfiddich to it and sat and counted stars while reminiscing with myself over past years opening days. Enjoyed the coffee so much I made another.....
Set up the camp bed, redesigned the cover over the boat and finally hit the sack about 1.30am. Woke up at 5am, had bacon, eggs and fried potatoes for breakfast after packing the tent and bed up and sat back with another coffee waiting for daylight.

Forgot to take into account the days were shorter didnt I :/ This was the view at 6.30 which was the time shooting could start.......

6.45 and the first gleamings of daylight were showing over Mt Auckland.....'Are we there yet' .....no.
'Are we there yet'............Not quite

'Are we there yet' .......'Yep, load up!'

15 mins later the fog rolled across the harbour and I was thinking it was going to be like last year when vis went down to about 15m.....but the NE wind kept it away....

Didnt see a single bird for the next hour+..... and although it normally sounds like WWIII, only heard a few shots from around the harbour.  Either the ducks hadnt got the memo about the season start or they were all in lockdown. Finally I saw a single mallard drake flying over the next island, gave him a call and he turned and headed straight into the dekes. Missed with the first shot, connected with the second and dropped him.

Another 90 mins later a pair of mallards did a fly by around 600m away and I worked the call for a good 10 mins while they circled around about 150m out before cupping their wings and coming in. Missed with the first shot, connected with the drake on the second and dropped the female with the 3rd. By this time the tide was flowing and although there was water around the decoys it was only ankle deep. The drake started swimming to the next island so I leapt out of the boat and gave chase. He had a head start of about 60m and while I gave it my best shot, walking in mud up to my knees with a foot of water on top was a losing battle. He made it to the mangroves opposite and although I searched for about 15mins I couldnt find him. I made the decision to head back to the boat and ended up walking in water almost at chest level before I was safely back on board. Did I mention that the tide comes in real fast? Was upset that I didnt get him but wasnt going to risk being trapped in a mangrove tree for 4hrs waiting for the tide to go out....or worse, drown.

Ended up with 5 birds for the day. Just didnt seem to be the numbers around.

The tide came in and went out, heard BH fire a few shots and we kept in touch by walkie talkie.........he ended up with 8 birds.

Venison back steaks, fried potatoes and fresh tomatoes for an early dinner then I sat back and waited for the evening flight,,,,,and waited....and waited till the sun disappeared  .but nothing showed up.

Part 2 to follow, in which I fell out of the boat, had a female visitor and finished the weekend on a high.........

Ooops, forgot to post these pics up.....4 drakes and a female.

Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....


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