Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Grand Passage - Magellan Visits the Upper Flyway"

Up to this point, Magellan had made 2 early season teal hunts with me and some friends.  If you haven't read about those adventures, please check here:  MAGELLAN AT WILLOW BRAKE DAY 1  and here: MAGELLAN AT WILLOW BRAKE DAY 2.  Shortly after this whole deal came into my head, I had a conversation with my good friend Stephen Shepherd.  He thought the idea was solid, and wanted to take several different decoys from the TRAVELING DECOY RIG, including Magellan.  He had a bunch of days in October scheduled for North Dakota.  This is an annual trip he and a group of friends take, which is what this is all about.   So things worked out perfectly.  I shared in that conversation with Georgia (his nickname) that I didn't care about the kills, but wanted a photo from him that symbolized the "start" of something.  I think my friend delivered and the photo fits the of a new dawn on our tradition and heritage.  One depicting the beauty and glory of the morning.  One that shows even the non-believers among us there's something bigger than us out there.

Sunrise in North Dakota - photo courtesy of Stephen Shepherd

And now, Magellan's story in North Dakota....
Hunting had been tough the previous 4 days, and the high winds threatened to keep the birds nestled in their "out of the way" holes.  We stood atop a small hill 1/4 mile to the south and glassed the surrounding fields in hopes of another fantastic hunt.  Seeing only a handful of birds on the water, we marched through the corn toward the cattail lined pothole.  Twenty-five yards from the edge, the pothole erupted with enough mallards to make the most seasoned hunter stand in awe.  easing into the cattails, we only had enough time to get out a single decoy before the birds, mostly mallards started to filter back in.  
First a group of six, then a group of four circled overhead.  A few soft quacks from my JJ Lares T-1 lined up the two groups of birds that had now merged together.  With the birds just a couple of feet from the water, I called the shot...Six shots quickly rang across the North Dakota prairie, and four ducks laid dead on the water.
For the next two hours, singles and pairs floated back into our small spot of paradise.  The shooting and the birds were slow according to our standards, but to shoot over a hand carved decoy made by a friend proved to be one of the highlights of our 2010.
DATE: 10/20/2010
TEMP: 57 degrees
LOCATION: Undisclosed, North Dakota
TROPHY STATS: 9 mallards (7 drakes/2 hens), 2 gadwall, 2 wigeon
FRIENDS: Stephen Shepherd, Shane Wilson, Carl Gulledge
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Sunny, clear skies, North winds 15-20
Thanks go out to Stephen and his group of friends.  Really great addition to Magellan's journey!
Hope everyone enjoyed this as much as I have, bookmark us and check back often!

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