Big river, small hunt

It was a cold, crisp day as the sun poked above the snow capped mountains, a perfect morning to be sitting on the Rakaia River hoping for some ducks.

During summer adventuring with my family, we had stopped into some places on the Rakaia River that looked worthwhile to see if any ducks would be around over the hunting season and this was one of them.

An early morning start, I arrived at the rivers edge in darkness. I had a lesson in navigating river braids, but I found a patch of backwater whoch looked promising.

It was time to get my decoys set up on the water and around the edge of the braid. Using some of the natural vegetation around, I pulled together a makeshift hide for Ace and me. Now it was time to sit and see if anything would happen.

We didn’t have to wait long to see birds travelling up and down the river, but none seemed interested in our spot. This was until a mallard drake about 200 metres upstream saw the mojo and began to drift my way. I was onto the duck caller, and he became interested, locking onto my spot. His wings cupped, I jumped up and bang, he splashed right in the middle of the decoys. This was a simple retrieve for Ace, which he did with his usual enthusiasm.

The morning continued with ducks flying and I heard a few geese flailing on the river as well but was unable to tempt any to come my way. I started to get restless and decided to make up a snack.

As I was getting sorted, I heard some paradise ducks, I jumped on my Cupped Wings Paradise Call while trying to work out where they were. They were coming from behind me, so I quickly jumped around and shot two of them before I spun around again and got the third heading away. This last bird landed over a tree bank on the other side of the water.

This would be a bit more of a challenge for Ace, but he saw it fall and knew where to go. I quickly got him off his lead and he ploughed through the water and bush on the hunt. As I was completely blind to see him, I had to trust he was doing as he should. It didn’t take long for him to come back with the drake in his mouth. It was a super proud dog dad moment.

This was the last bit of excitement for the morning, but to me, it shows there is value in every hunt I get out to do.

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