I recently had the pleasure of taking my nephew Jordan Messier and his mom to Charcoal Creek in Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Swanton VT. Jordan and his mom Kelly participated in the Junior Waterfowl weekend training that allowed them to be able to hunt the refuge on selected days. We met at my house at 4 am, which can be very early for a 13 year old kid. We headed out to the refuge to sign in and paddle out to our site. Jordan was selected for Blind D in Charcoal Creek which is a bit of a paddle. He and I paddled the canoe with the gear while his mom followed behind in the kayak. After a 15 minute paddle we were setting decoys and backing into our spot. The Junior Waterfowl weekend allows only the youth hunter to shoot while the mentors teach and instruct.
I have to admit I may have been as excited for this hunt as I have been for any hunts I’ve been on. We set out the decoys which consisted of 18 puddle ducks, 4 goose floaters and a Mallard robo duck. It wasn’t long before the birds were flying. We were buzzed a few times early somewhat catching us off guard. Once Jordan got into a rhythm things started to click. It’s wasn’t long before a Teal laid into our decoys. I had Jordan wait a bit to utilize this new addition to our decoys as a way to decoy in others. When it was apparent that the Teal was realizing he was the only real duck in the mix with plans on leaving, Jordan readied himself for a shot. As the Teal took flight, Jordan took aim and harvested his first duck. This was a great feeling to see Jordan take his first duck.
We continued to be buzzed by ducks all morning with a few encounters that justified a shot or two. We even had a goose do a fly by close enough to take a shot. After 3 hours of hunting we were being buzzed by as many mosquitoes as we were ducks and decided to head in. As usual whenever I start to pick up we get buzzed by a duck. No different this time as I was pulling the camo covering off the canoe a hen Mallard gave us a look. She started from behind and then circled out front. I was calling, Jordan had his eyes locked onto her. Just as she circled one final time, she came over the top of the robo duck with wings set and feet down. I gave Jordan the “Take Em” call. He did just that. Perfect shot, folded her up with one shot. I always like to finish on a “Good One”. I feel it’s best to pick up only after a good shot to leave that as the memory versus a miss.
I will always remember Jordan’s first duck along with that Mallard coming in at the very last moment and Jordan making a great shot. I’m very proud of Jordan and will look forward to our next hunt.