This hunting season has been very slow for me. With my injury that happened just three days before early goose season, getting out and about has been quite the chore. But it is always worth it. I have never had a hunt where I said "I wish I would have just stayed home". But, this past week, I came very close.
A friend of mine made his way up from North Carolina to do some Michigan duck hunting. He moved away from Michigan a few years back, but the waterfowl hunting out by him just isn't the same as it is here in Michigan. So, a couple of months ago he called me up and said he wanted to make a trip up here and told me to keep an eye out on the duck reports so we could have an awesome hunt. I was pumped when the time grew near.
He arrived in Michigan and took a quick power nap, then called me up for an evening hunt. He had always wanted to hunt the Holloway Reservoir, a place where he grew up fishing. I had never been there, but from what he described, it sounded like a duck haven. After a little research, I found a few forums that talked about the hunting out there, and there were a few success stories. Game on.
We got to the primitive launch site and dropped the boat in. It was pretty rocky, so we walked the boat the first 50 or so yards. After that it was smooth sailing. We reached the other side of the reservoir and found our spot, but the water level was very low. Time to test out the Mudd Buddy. We zipped across the remaining water until we got within 30 yards of where we were going to set up, then the mud changed. It went from sloppy mud to thick clay-like mud. So we got out again and pulled the rest of the way. We set up on a little point surrounded by cattails and a nice cross wind. After setting out a small spread, we brushed up the boat and got ready. everything was perfect and in place. But one thing was missing. Ducks. It was two hours before we saw our first birds, and they we a faint vision on the horizon. Every duck from then on followed the same flight path.
I was scanning the horizon when my buddy said to me "Hey. Wasn't that cinder block over there under water when we were setting decoys?". "I hope not" I replied. There was only about 30 minutes of shooting light left, so we watched to see if the water dropped any more. Then, he said he needed to use the little boys room. Now, anyone that has any experience hunting knows that the second you go to relieve yourself, whatever you are hunting will come out at that exact moment, stick out it's tongue and wave, then make it's way back out of sight. I told him that the second he stepped out of the boat, the ducks would come in. But he really had to go. Sure enough, the second his foot hit the water, a pair of woodies came in from behind. He scrambled back into the boat, but we were made and the pair got out of there. And that was the extend of our action. Last light came and our hunting was over.
But the story does not end there. Oh no, not at all. As we looked out of the boat, we noticed that more of the cinder block was indeed showing. The reservoir was being drained while we were in it. And when we stepped out of the boat, our boots hit ground and not water. It took almost 30 minutes to get the boat moved over to water that was float-able. As we made our way to our spread, we noticed that some of our decoys we actuality starting to tip because the keels were touching the bottom. Not good. Now for the trip out. Now, keep in mind that I am freshly out of a cast and am not supposed to be walking without a brace, let alone walking through a marsh dragging a boat. we wound up dragging (not floating) the boat probably around 100 yards or so. We finally reached float-able water and jumped in. We are now home free. Well not quite. We made our way back through the canals looking for our launch. But it was no where to be found. We drove up and down those canals, but just could not find it. Then it hit us. We had to drag the boat when we put it in because it was too shallow. And since the water had dropped, that canal was probably land locked. After some searching, we found another primitive boat launch and parked the boat. My friend then had a nice little walk to try to find the other boat launch and his truck. What a night. Then, to top it off, we were standing on the back of his tilt trailer to get the boat loaded and I stepped on one of the tail lights instead of the frame. The light had no chance against me and instantly broke.
All in all, I was glad to get out and hunt somewhere new. But, I was real close to saying those eight little words....