people might not consider it a good site for hunting ducks.
fact is that relatively few ducks visit the spot.
is nothing more than a small woodland swamp with an adjacent grassy
meadow partially flooded by the work of a healthy family of beavers.
that little spot has provided me numerous mornings of duck-hunting
pleasure and a fair number of birds for the gumbo pot.
scarcity of ducks makes the place uninteresting to most area duck
hunters, who simply drive past it on the way to eastern Arkansas'
get up late, enjoy an extra cup of coffee and hit that spot just
in time for the first flight of mallards, sometimes the only flight
of mallards until nearly noon.
late-morning flight is usually the important one for me. Often,
the early flight passes while I am still paddling my pirogue into
position or setting out decoys or arguing with Bounty Grant's Aubunique
Egg, my chocolate Labrador Retriever, about where to hide and stay
warm and dry.
and I get along well in the pirogue and he loves sleeping beside
me on the ground while I watch for ducks. My black Lab, Aubunique
Beowulf of the Fen, is better suited to hunting from a blind or
hiding spot that can be reached by wading or walking dry ground.
He'll stand on a log for hours and help watch for ducks. But he
refuses to believe I am serious when I tell him to lie still in
a boat. He has turned over more than one pirogue.
hunting spot we are talking about is one I have visited many times
over the past 10 years or so. Beowulf, Egg, Who, Her and several
other Labs have visited it with me. Egg and Who remain the only
two that have ever been allowed to ride there in a pirogue. All
the others have had to join me in the long hike to the spot that
involves working around the swamp to get to the only part that consistently
ducks, mergansers and ducks of a few other species occasionally
visit the spot, but mostly it is nothing more than a place where
a small group of mallards may sometimes be pulled down by my mediocre
alone in such a spot can be a great deal more satisfying than being
in a crowd of loud-talking, wild-shooting people such as a person
encounters on some of the big public areas that attract a lot of
I enjoy having company while hunting. But the birds and other wildlife
provide a great deal of company in such spots as my little secret
swamp. Fearing the beavers may finally raise the water level so
high the timber will die, I have once or twice wished alligators
would be stocked there to thin the beaver population. But then I
would be afraid to send my dogs out of sight on a retrieve. So I
suppose I'll have to accept the beaver population for the good aspects
of beaver work.
you happen to spot my vehicle or just find the little swamp on your
own, feel free to join me if you can figure out where I am set up.
But be prepared to pet a dog. Regardless of whether Egg or Beowulf
is the dog of the day, you'll pay for sharing our spot by having
a cold nose offered up for your attention.