Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Magellan the Magician"

This entry will be a bit different, as the hunt was documented by Stacy via email and his friend, Chad, via the journal.


After first reading Justin’s post about his idea of a traveling decoy, I immediately knew that I wanted to be involved.   Not sure I’d make the cut considering many of the guys invited to participate have access to some pretty historical clubs & hunting grounds so I entered my request with reserved hope at best.  My second thought was the logistical complexity & wondered if it could be pulled off.  Both of my doubts were eventually converted into exact opposites of my initial thoughts.  I was chosen to participate & it was clear that the logistics portion would depend heavily on the hosts involved which I had no doubts about.  I watched as the first few hosts reported their time with Magellan while anxiously awaiting my time slot to arrive in the schedule.   Upon my request, Justin was able to take advantage of an idle time in Magellan’s schedule to coincide with a hunt that my best bud Chad & I planned after the master schedule was released.  The stars were aligning nicely.

One day prior to Christmas Eve, I picked up the decoy & his accompanying journal from Jody (Chevy12345), the previous host.  The first few minutes were spent admiring the craftsmanship that Justin put into this block called Magellan & the character (battle scars) that it had already developed.  Since I was on the way to burn a couple of hours on a deer stand, I decided to take the journal & read the entries of previous hosts.  This turned out to be a great way to pass time on an otherwise boring evening in the deer woods.  It also made me more excited about being a part of this.  I hoped that my time with Magellan could at least hold a candle to some of the early journal entries.  On the drive home, I decided that Magellan needed something to travel in.  I remembered a small mesh decoy bag I use to carry a couple of decoys when weight / space is crucial & thought it would be perfect.  While searching for the bag, I happened across a small old croker (krō′kər) sack & instantly changed my mind about using the store bought decoy bag.  I figured that not only I could use it to protect Magellan to & fro’ the blind while he was in my possession, it would also be interesting to send the sack to the next host & see how far in the journey it would accompany him.  Only time will tell if the sack made it to the end of the journey.

I had not planned to hunt again until the Monday after Christmas, but Mark (Bigwater) called that night & asked if I wanted to join him, Tad (.tadpole) & Ryan (iron grip) at the infamous Black Democrat (BDDC) the following morning.  I accepted & took Magellan along for the ride without telling anyone.  Tadpole & Iron Grip were running late that morning so Bigwater & I went ahead & set up with a standard 2 set group of decoys flanking our sides.  I retrieved Magellan from the croker sack & chunked him in the gap.  Once Biggie & I finished setting up, Tad & Ryan rolled up & unloaded their gear beside ours.  Obviously the traveler had already developed an identity of his own as one of the first things out of Tad’s mouth was “That looks like ole Magellan out there in the spread”.  Keep in mind that it was still several minutes before first light so all he could see was the silhouette.  I thought that was pretty cool.  The birds did not fly as well that particular day so we finished up with a baker’s dozen before calling it quits & heading home to begin celebrating Christmas with our families.

Magellan spent the holidays on our mantle before my scheduled hunt the next week. My daughters thought he was pretty cool by the way. The youngest one even asked if I thought he met Santa.

As stated earlier, I coordinated Magellan's time with me to coincide with a planned hunt with my long time best friend; Chad , his brother & another friend on a 3 day hunt @ Chad's new camp.  The temps plummeted the night of my arrival leaving the fields locked up solid for the early morning hunt.  We felt confident that the ducks would not visit the fields early because of this & opted to make a 45 minute drive to the BDDC to await the thaw & give the other 2 guys a chance to do some wing shooting since their opportunity to do so was limited.  First light was fast, furious & fun, but since there were no other hunters to keep the birds moving, the action slowed. During the lull, 2 others & I went to retrieve downed ducks & try to stir them up a little. We managed to flush a few to Chad who stayed put in our initial spot.   He was mighty proud that he chose to stay when his first ever Bull Can hit the water on his 2nd shot.  

Magellan instantly became “Magellan the Magician”.  With the trophy in hand plus 8 more divers, we headed back to Chad ’s camp for a mid morning hunt in the fields.  The temps had risen enough that once we broke ice to make a hole, it at least didn’t re-freeze.  We finished the days hunt with a mixed bag including Mallard, Teal & Pintail to complete a 4 man limit.

The next morning we managed another mixed bag of Mallard, Teal, and Pintail & Widgeon.  Not everyone killed limits on this day, but time afield amongst friends always makes up for any shortcomings.  All this under the watchful eye of our new friend, the man, the myth, the Magellan - AKA “Magellan the Magician”.   My only regret is not taking better pictures, but the weather conditions had big role in the picture quality during the hunts.

Thanks Justin - It was great to be a part of this project & I really hope this becomes an annual event, Stacy.


DATE: 12-27-2010
LOCATION: BDDC and Riverview Duck Club
WEATHER: 20's, clear, cold and sunny
MOON: Wanning Gibbous
KILLS: Drake Canvasback, 8 Greenheads, 3 Drake Pintails
FRIENDS: Stacy James, Chad Williams, Jim Williams, Brooke Bewley

It has been a tough year up to date.  Little water and no food equal a duck shortage.  However, the tide was changing, little did we know, with the arrival of Magellan in his brown crocker sack.  Stacy had managed to acquire the magical mallard for our special hunt.  The weather had changed and the fields were to be locked up with ice the next morning.  We elected to hunt the BDDC while awaiting the thaw.  This wise decision lead to Magellan luring in my first Canvasback drake, which will proudly be mounted.  We finished the hunt with a total of 9 ducks.  We left at 9 a.m. and headed back to hunt a thawing bean field from 10-1.  After setting a few blocks in a hole we opened, ducks began the show, eager to fall intot eh only open water around.  First 20 mallards cupped into the spread and it was pure carnage.  Adding a group of pintails, followed by a complete massacrew of passing teal, we quietly ended a full days limit with those 15 puddle ducks.

DATE: 12-28-2010
LOCATION: Riverview Duck Club
WEATHER: 20's, cloudy, with no wind
MOON: Waning Gibbous
KILLS: 5 Greenheads, 2 Wigeon, 2 Drake Pintails, 4 GW teal
FRIENDS: Chad Williams, Stacy James, Brooke Bewley, Jim Williams

High expectations this morning...but we had to break ice again, and had to fight to keep it open.  The morning started out fast with several groups hovering above the decoys before shooting time.  Once the shooting began, the clouds rolled in and the ducks just would not finish.  It was still a successful hunt in the Delta with good friends and good dogs.  Not to mention, Magellan was the centerpiece back at the "Duck House" table while we all enjoyed scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits with syrup, and pigs-n-a-blanket.  We have all enjoyed sharing our holes these last 2 days with the magic mallard.  We wish him and his future companions well on teh journey ahead.  May he bring others as much joy and luck as he has brought us these last few days.  Keep riding the ways Magellan!!

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