A Waterfowlers’ Dream!
The morning was a success from the start with attending the daily draw at the Sanganois State Fish & Wildlife Headquarters and drawing a blind sure to provide action from the duck community! This year with the lack of moisture and dry conditions early, Doug Jallis and his crew at the Sanganois waterfowl area had planted Millet and Corn and subsequently flooded those areas to provide an outstanding opportunity for waterfowlers utilizing this State-Owned facility to experience the best hunting conditions possible! The boat ride into the flooded designated blind area also flooded our sense of anticipation, as Mallards, Teal and Gadwalls rose from the flooded fields illuminated by our boat ‘s light bar as we progressed! The blind was well placed; decoys positioned perfectly, and blind construction efficiency not perfectly engineered but good, with a well camouflaged position.
My partners in this morning’s hunt were Billy Pinkeston, the youngest of the group and also the boat owner and operator, JJ Sykes, a waterfowler with over thirty-five years’ experience hunting on the Sanganois, Todd Malcom, an experienced hunter and crack shot but new to the Sanganois experience and yours truly, the handicap of the foursome. Billy must have felt like the bus driver hauling the retirees to the Casino to spend their social security checks as this age group we often refer to as “Possums” was a little slower on the draw but still capable hunters in the field!
The morning started a little under the anticipation level developed on our trip in and set up. Steady movement but with birds cognizant of the areas where plenty of feed and water existed with no blind close being their intended destinations! The wind steadily rose throughout the morning and temperatures dropped; the sky turned gray and stayed that way for the duration but the high winds agitated the normal resting areas for the birds along with their sense of the need to feed before the potential weather to come later in the day! A flurry of duck movement began keeping our heads swiveling to locate incoming birds! With the strong wind from the North/Northwest many of the birds would set up behind our blind, requiring a pirouette type of movement to stay on target! Shots were tough and with the strong winds approaching birds appeared in slow motion only to reach hyper-speed once the shooting started!
As the day progressed, it was evident we were experiencing the type of conditions and bird flight, generations of hunters experienced in the past when duck populations were greater and limits more generous! A sense came over my simple mind of what earlier hunters lived through and a gratefulness we were able to enjoy this particular day, full of activity! The other hunters in the blind made some tremendous shots, one almost unbelievable, when JJ hit a lone escaping duck at a distance to envy! With JJ and Billy working the calls, the activity never slowed until quitting time!
The Sanganois facility produced blind success for a number of good hunters putting in the time and effort to man and rig their spreads over the entire season. The success may have been even greater had the migration of waterfowl, particularly mallards, would have been greater! Given the adversities of my season, I was grateful to experience a tremendous hunt with supportive blind associates on this given day! Sanganois always is a unique experience with the natural environment as isolated and often productive like no other.
My days in the duck blind are more appreciated as the time line for this activity may be waning as age progresses. Memories remain of the now gone waterfowlers’ I have had the good fortune to hunt with in the past. A hunt like today keeps the sport alive and the spirit willing – the dream only a waterfowler can experience and seek to recapture!