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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My buddies and I had many plans for what opening day may look like. Our traditional opening day spot had virtually zero birds. One goose, two woodies is all that was in there a day before. It usually has 150-200 mallards and about 100 geese with the occasional woodies and odd ball ducks on a normal year.

I work in law enforcement (night shift currently) and this is my weekend to work, so I needed to be close to home. Some buddies chose to sleep in, a couple chose to head to the Muskegon marsh (hard pass for me), and I chose to go out on a limb and try to traffic some woodies and have my 4 legged best friend by my side. I knew it probably wasn’t going to be a bang up hunt, but it would be fun. My first opener just my dog Knox and I.

I scouted this spot a few days before season. It always has 3-4 woodies at the very least. A pond they like to sit in bordered by cornfields, and a creek they like to sit in about 60-80 yards from the pond. With the heavy rain we got I decided to run 4 dozen goose silhouettes with a couple spinners in the corn between the two water holes and I figured I’d at least get a crack at them. I knew the corn had a low spot and it floods when we get the rain.

I got off work at 6 am and was rushing to get home to grab my dog and load up the truck and go. Heavy fog had me worried but I figured if anything, I was blessed to have another hunt with my dog. He blew out his CCL and barely hunted last year so I hardly hunted myself. I’m cautious on taking him out on hard hunts but I figured I’d see how he would do. The field was pretty soft and it was flooded as I suspected it would be. I setup the spread in about 30 minutes, brushed in my blind, his dog blind, and had about 8 minutes to spare before shooting time. I was happy to be having a hunt like this. Low stress, no other hunters, and it was just my dog and I I said my morning prayer like I always do when it’s him and I out there. Usually thanking God for another day and another hunt with my pup, and if I get the opportunity that I will connect and my boy can get at least one retrieve.

Shooting time rolled around and it was very foggy. I had 3 woodies come right over me and then they went right into the creek. A few minutes later, they got up and went right over the spread and I could’ve shot them, but they were on me and gone before I could shoot. They landed 60 yards in front of me in the ditch running off the pond. Another pair went and landed in the creek and the 3 woodies got up and landed back in the creek. No sooner than they did that, they got back up out of the creek and decoyed into the spread out of nowhere. Luckily I connected with a juvie drake on my first shot and the other two were gone before I could get solid follow up shots. I was pumped! An opening morning retrieve for my dog is all I really cared about. I worked a pair of mallards but the heavy fog with no wind really didn’t help my cause. They would lock in and then pick back up at about 50-60 yards. Another pair of woodies came passing over and I failed miserably on them. There and gone in an instant. The fog was not good for visibility of my spread, and seeing birds coming through to the pond or creek.

At about 8:05 I had to pack up because I promised my wife I’d make it to our nephew’s tee ball game. I looked back at my pup and saw “the look.” If anyone has a retriever they know that look. He was dead serious, started to get the shakes kinda, and was very jittery. A hen mallard came out of nowhere and bombed the spread. She was hovering at 15 yards and I was on a knee, facing my dog. I spun around and grabbed my gun, at this point she was bailing out and at about 35 yards. I knocked her down and my dog got his second retrieve of the morning, all credit to his awareness. If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t have had a clue till she was probably 50 yards.

So that was my opener. Not a barn burner, but I think we sometimes get lost in shooting a lot of birds or finding the feed that everyone dreams of. As my dog gets older, I cherish the moments it’s just he and I out there. I can clear my head and just have that one on one time with him that I know I’ll desperately miss someday. Thank you Lord for another opener spent with my best buddy. Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a good and safe rest of the season from here on out!
Dog Plant Carnivore Tree Grass
 

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Reads like a sincere quality hunt. Measured by far more than feathers.

Could I , another single kill with former ( no offence but they were non-fowling) dogs now gone , would trump any limit...

Congrats on knowing the other side of hunting with a canine partner.
You adapt to limitations.
My last adapted to my limitations.
Then I to his.
Till one of us could no longer go on.
 

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Great Job describing your hunt!! Wouldn’t have mattered anyway if you got anything! Just being with your four legged favorite family member is sometimes better than a limit just hanging out snacking and the feeling that a dog and his owner who are BFF’s have is priceless. And I am sure your job can put you in a FOWL mood !! Yes I did that . But no matter your attitude from a night of nonsense when you see him and he’s like I’m right here!! Funny how you can feel your BP and attitude come down! Enjoy everyday with him and he is one handsome boy!!
Roger
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone for the kind words. Knox is out of Kingseed Kennels. Truly a great companion in the field, I am very blessed! He’s getting older and a little slower but he still enjoys getting out every chance he gets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Another quick hunt in the same spot just a little closer to where the woodies wanted to sit. I forgot how much wood ducks bugged me with doing what they want to do and not decoying for anything really. Got a few more retrieves for my boy, the drake mallard really did it good today!

Another solo hunt with Knox, no complaints from me. He’s passed out on the floor and will probably sleep the rest of the day. I’m thinking I’ll bring him on a hunt just he and I when the mallards look a little better and get another bird for the wall. I have one banded drake from a few years back on a solo shoot with him, I need more memories on my wall. He’s my first dog and I’m loving the ride we’re on together. Been soaking it all in these last few days and having a blast with him.
Sky Plant community Plant Wood Branch
 
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