'Blast From the Past' - Old, Souvenir Video Revisits an Epic Morning in an Eastern Shore Duck Blind
Sometimes it is fun to go through old video footage that you shot for fun, never intending to record any finished product but instead have some video snippets of that moment. The footage is often a little shaky, almost always taken with a handheld camera.
Such was the case with a 2010 duck hunt in Chestertown, on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It was a New Year's Eve hunt and almost all water in the region was frozen solid. Many ducks and geese were in the area and they were hungry. Our flooded impoundment hunt at the Quaker Neck Gun Club was incredible, with our group collecting mallards and black ducks.
Even though scores of birds worked their way into our decoys or just over the blind, there isn't much, decent footage of shotguns roaring and birds dropping. Most of my shooting that morning involved my shotgun. Still, I think you'll get the picture. The footage from the late afternoon prior to the hunt reveals the sheer volume of ducks and geese in the area. It was one of those Lower 48 hunts that keep you coming back for more. Another hunt with the same outfit a few days earlier had yielded similar results (as the photos below show). Yet, it is hunting and when we went back the next year, when nothing was frozen and waterfowl had their pick of Eastern Shore hideouts, we were lucky to scratch out a couple of northern shovelers and a gadwall. No greenheads on that trip. Oh well...
My wife Maria, a Louisiana native, hunted that morning as well as David Storke, then Mayor of the Town of Bowling Green in Virginia. Another good, longtime friend, Jimaye Sones, brought his Boykin spaniel Jack on both hunts. Scott Gauld was our guide and called the shots. Jack was a great hunting buddy for his 11 short years and he was a young dog, still a puppy, really, on those Eastern Shore hunts. The short retrieves and ability to wade out there with him and help him figure things out was a great learning experience. We miss Jack, but now Jimaye and I have two Boykin brothers, Harley and Jameson, and they are carrying on Jack's tradition. One memory stands out about that cold morning. Toward the end of the hunt, we had clipped a mallard but it sailed hundreds of yards toward a distant wood line. Jack must've marked that bird and remembered it because as we were packing up to leave, he kept staring at those woods, sometimes whining a little. Jimaye sent him to look and doggone if that boy didn't come back a couple minutes later with a drake mallard in his mouth. It was the duck that completed our limit.
There are few things as fun as spending time in a duck blind with family and friends. When the hunting is hot, it creates memories that'll last forever, And even when it's slow, the camaraderie, the banter, and just sharing time outdoors all come together to strengthen bonds and soothe souls.