Monday, October 22, 2012

Opening Day Deer Season Report 2012

Opening day of rifle season 2012 was a beautiful cool crisp fall morning that had me up early with anticipation.  The hunting usually does not get very good here until the rut in mid November, but we had put in some extra work this off season and I was eager to try my luck in a new stand that has shown some promise via trail cam pics and good sign.

The morning did not disappoint as two does moved into my new food plot from the direction in which I thought they would.  They fed around for a few minutes until a small buck ran them off.  He was just a small 6 point, but I was encouraged at the deer activity.  Unfortunately, I had to leave the stand a little early to make sure that I made it on time to a road race that my son was running in that morning.  Was it worth leaving early for???

Yep!  He won the mile race by one second!  He has entered three races and has won two and finished 2nd in the other.  Run on buddy!!

The rest of the deer hunting weekend went much the same as we saw several does and a few small bucks.  We have a pretty good idea of the deer we want to shoot.  Here are a couple of shots of the guys we are after!

They will be hard to get until they let there guard down during the rut, but you can bet I'll be there giving it my best shot!
Good luck this season to all of you!! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Maine (Part 3 and wrap up)

The second and final hunting day began with the Duckman cursing Mother Nature.  I really only had one more goal in mind and that was a Drake Eider.  They only way to have a chance at my bird was to hit the open water.  The only problem was that the wind was blowing 20-25 mph with gust up to 35.  This makes for some pretty ruff sea ducking.

We put the boat in the water and bundled up to face the 29 degree temps and breezy conditions.  I was well equipped today since my luggage had finally arrived.  I was never once cold as my Browning jacket and rain suit pants did their job.

We set the decoys out and anchored the boat.  No easy task since the wind was working against the rushing tide.  The tide moves so much here in Maine that I didn't know we were set up in the same spot as we were the day before.  Some of the small islands that I saw yesterday were currently under the sea.  The Duckman told me that the water rises and drops about ten feet with the changing tides.  Wow!

We waited.  We got a few birds to look in our direction, but not many.  The conditions made it hard for them to see the decoys.  I just wanted one duck and hopefully he would be sporting those white feathers that I longed for.  I finally got my chance as a Drake Eider turned our way and approached from the rear of the boat.  I would be able to take a head on shot which was very helpful because the boat was riding those 4-5 foot seas like a fast moving roller coaster.  As he got close I raised up and steadied my legs.  One shot and drop!  I poured it to him again and my goal was met!

I missed a few more but I'll be honest, those suckers are hard to kill and I need more time on the water to get my sea shooting legs under me.  I have a new respect for Tony as he makes this type of gunning look easy.  I'll have to get him on a South Georgia dove shoot and let him be humbled by those little greys who fly in all directions at once.

Saturday night was something that all us Southern boys dream of!  Fresh lobster and all I could eat!  Mrs. Duckman went out of her way to make sure that I had a meal fit for a king Maine style!!

Even though the hunting was not great on the last day, I had a ball!  The trip was perfect and one that I looking forward to making again one day.  Tony and his family made me feel like one of their own and I am so thankful that I have excellent friends in the great state of Maine!  Stay tuned as the adventures between the Duckman and The Brave Eagle are bound to continue.  I have it on good authority that The Duckman is trying to fly south for the winter.  Their may just be a spring turkey hunt and some lunker bass fishing on the horizon!

Until next time....This is how we roll!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Maine 2012 (Part 2)

Black Duck drake and hen taken by the Duckman and the Brave Eagle

With the quick morning hunt behind us and the pressure off of the Duckman to produce me a duck, we took some time to take pictures and finish our breakfast while we decided what to do next.  We could either try and hunt some inland ducks or we could brave the wind and tides in search of sea ducks.  We checked the weather forecast and decided we better hit the water because Saturday's forecast did not look good at all.

We loaded the boat and headed for the landing, which is just right around the cove from the Duckman's house.  We were in the water and on our way out in about 20 minutes.  It had begun to spit a little rain and the winds were up, but I was just glad to be there.  We tucked the boat into a cove that would help block the wind a little and set out the decoys.  It was nice watching the Duckman work.  Believe me when I say that this man knows what he is doing and it didn't take long before he put the first duck in our spread.  Of course I missed that first shot that I took as I was getting my sea legs under me.  I can't say that I have ever fired a shotgun while surfing, but that is exactly what it felt like I was trying to accomplish!  Sea ducking ain't easy!!

The birds worked fairly well for us considering the weather and I was finally able to connect with a Patch-head, or what we call in South Georgia, a coot! It really is a pretty bird and I would wind up killing two of them on this morning.

We worked the birds for a while, but with the rain and gusting winds, the action was slowing down.  I was able to take a white-wing before we decided to move to more open water in search of an Eider.

We gathered up the decoys and moved to another area.  We had only been there and set up for about 10 minutes when we spotted my prize headed in our direction.  My goal was to get a drake Eider and hold those white feathers in my hand.  It could not have been a more perfect shot except I didn't take it.  As all of you know, I'm a Browning man!!  I did not have my Browning on this trip.  I was instead shooting the Duckman's Beretta.  Although I had been shooting this gun all morning, in my excitement I had forgotten that the safety on a Beretta is in front of the trigger guard, not the back like my Brownings. The duck was landing as I was pushing on the back of that trigger guard with all of the power that my trigger finger could muster.  When I realized my mistake I found the correct safety position and opened fire on my sitting duck.  Big mistake!  As the shot pattern spread all around my target, my Eider dove down deep and swam.  We think he may be surfacing somewhere on the West coast by now.  We never saw him again.  I cussed!  We set back up because that is what hunters do.  We try again!

The next duck to fly by was a hen Eider.  She buzzed our set up and decided she liked what she saw.  As she made the turn to circle back around I found the safety switch and and got ready.  This time would be no doubt.  I swung the gun and down she went with one clean shot.  I had an Eider and we had had enough of the weather.  We packed up and headed in.  I'll let the pictures show the day's success.

After the photo session, we went inside and ate a late lunch.  My luggage arrived and I was finally able to shower and put on some fresh clothes.  What did we do next??
Stay tuned for part three of my Maine adventure!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Official Account! Maine 2012 (Part 1)

The official planning for this trip started in 2010 as I clicked on the blog of The Downeast Duck Hunter.  I knew I liked the Duckman right off the bat.  I was interested in the types of hunting and fishing that he did in a land that I have always wanted to visit.  It started out simply by me leaving comments after his post and he responding.  We quickly moved to rapid fire question and answer sessions on Yahoo and eventually to text messaging each other from the field with pictures of success.  One day I picked up the phone and made a call.  It took us a while to understand each other as those folks up North "tawk" a little funny, but a great friendship developed and we now share each others lives on an almost daily basis.  This trip was bound to happen!

I left home on Thursday morning gearing up for a full day of travel.  I arrived at the Atlanta airport and checked in, making sure to ask the attendant if my bag was checked all the way through to Bar Harbor after my connecting flight in Boston.  He assured me that my bag would be there waiting on me.  I had a bad feeling but I chalked it up to regular nerves.  The flight to Boston was nice and we arrived on time.  The Boston airport sucks needs a lesson in efficiency.  I had to change terminals to connect to my flight on Cape Air.  It was about a half mile walk that carried me through a chilly parking garage. I found my check in desk and got my boarding pass.  I asked about my bag once again and was told that it would be there.  I had to go through security once again, something that you do not have to do for connecting flights in Atlanta, and made my way to the Cape Air gate.  My flight was delayed!!  I waited! I called the Duckman and told him that I would be about an hour late and that I would just meet him at baggage claim. (There is a joke about this to follow)

Once they called for the boarding of the 6 passengers on my flight to Bar Harbor, they gathered us all up at the plane and asked if anyone was interested in sitting in the co-pilot seat.

I think you can see who won that vote.  He wouldn't let me fly the plane, but I had an awesome view as we flew up the East Coast.  As day turned to night, the landscape below us changed as well.  We were flying low enough that you could make out different cities in the distance by the lights glowing on the dark backdrop.  When we were about an hour into our trip I started to try and guess which city we would be landing in.  We were slowing down and getting closer to the ground so I knew we were close, but I still didn't see an airport.  As if on cue, someone turned on the lights and the runway came into clear view.  It was lit up so well I think I could have landed that plane on that strip.  It was official, The Brave Eagle made it to Maine!

We taxied up to the terminal and I started to laugh.  I had told the Duckman that I would meet him at baggage claim not knowing the size of the Bar Harbor airport.  I could see Tony standing inside of the 1,500 square foot building waiving as we parked 20 feet from the front door.  Baggage claim was on the ground next to the plane.

I went inside and shook the hand of my friend for the first time.  We talked about my travel up as we waited for them to get all of the bags unloaded.  As I was watching, I got that sinking feeling.  I did not see my bag.  I didn't see it because it was not there.  Delta did not take my bag to Cape Air for my connecting flight.  I was in Maine with no gear and the next flight was not due to arrive until tomorrow.  Nothing I could do but go to Wal-mart and buy a toothbrush and contact case and hope for the best.  The folks at Cape Air collected all of my information and told me that they would deliver my bag to me the next day.  (It worked out ok as the weather was not too cold the first morning.  I borrowed some boots from Tony's buddy, ski pants to cover my jeans, I had my hunting jacket on board with me, and the Duckman provided the rest.  My bags arrived about 2:00 the next day as promised)

We struck out for Beals Island and the 1 hour trip seemed to take about 5 minutes as the Duckman and I talked the whole way.  The conversation was mostly me asking questions about Maine and the Duckman asking about how it compares to South Georgia.  Tony was worried about the weather and the possibility of rain and high winds the next day, so we tried to make our hunting plans accordingly.  We arrived at my home for the weekend and I was shown to my room by the Duckman's lovely, patient, caring, best cook ever, duck spotting, hostess with the most-est, wife Mrs. Duckman.  I was given the royal treatment by my host and felt right at home.  We stayed up and talked for a while and got ready for the morning hunt.  My hodgepodge of gear was gathered and I went to bed falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow!

You do not have to be up at sunrise to shoot sea ducks, but I was.  The view from Tony's kitchen table is breath taking as the sun comes up over the harbor.  I was enjoying some bacon and eggs and my second cup of coffee when Mrs. Duckman spotted some black ducks landing in the water just in front of the house.  We jumped up and threw on a jacket and boots, loaded the guns and stalked out to the water's edge keeping some brush between the Black ducks and ourselves.  We waited for them to swim our way, but luck was not working with us.  We backed up and regrouped.  They had gone the other way and so did we.  We crept along the shoreline and I crawled over a small group of rocks and took a peak over.  I spotted the ducks feeding in a little group tucked in next to a pier.  I told the Duckman that they were about ten yards too far for a shot from where we were.  The only problem is that we had run out of shoreline cover and therefore could not stalk any further for a closer shot.  I told the Duckman to get ready and follow me.  I jumped up and ran towards the little group.  By the time they figured out what was going on I had closed the distance.  As they started to rise from the water, my trigger finger was ready and with a boom over the morning harbor, my Black duck was down.  Tony had a follow up shot on a passing hen and the day's limit of Black ducks was met before breakfast was over.  This Maine duck hunting thing is pretty easy so far!

This was the start to a great weekend of hunting!  I'll fill you in on the rest on the next post1  Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

This may win an academy award!!

Talk about a great time!  This video says it all!  The hits, the misses, and the memories!!!

Thanks Duckman!!  And Mrs. Duckman too!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Oh yeah! There is video!!

While I was gunning down all that flies in Downeast Maine, The Duckman was running the camera.  Here is a little teaser of today's action!

This was the day's end result!

The Brave Eagle has struck!!

Talk about a quick strike attack!  I had to put down my bacon as the sun was rising in the Duckman's backyard.  Black ducks were spotted on the water and a quick Turkey like stalking was in order.  Final results are two black ducks down!

Good start to a great weekend in Maine, even without my luggage!  Hopefully I will have some gear by this afternoon!!!!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stay Tuned........

The blogging world is about to get very interesting as I prepare for the trip that everyone has been waiting for.  I fly out for the far reaches of the North in the morning to meet up with The Downeast Duck Hunter in the great state of Maine!  I can almost hear the ducks quivering where they sit knowing that the Brave Eagle will be bringing his trigger finger north of the Mason Dixon line.  My bags are packed, tickets and licences are ready, and the plans have been made.  Now all we have to do is go and make those hunting memories that last a lifetime and hopefully give you some blog worthy moments to read about!

Duckman, I'll see you tomorrow!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Clean Sweep!

It was the night we had all been waiting for.  The First Baptist Church of Fitzgerald, GA was host to the open Pinewood Derby racing event of the century.  Crowds gathered from all over Ben Hill County to witness the streaking bolts of lightning burning down the church's new metal race track.  The racing contestants were made up of current RA racers, past RA racers, racers of the "sugar and spice" variety and one old man (me)!

The Luckie Race Shop has been open for weeks designing new cars and tweaking old cars to prepare for the bulls-eye that was on the team's chest.  Everyone was gunning to knock off the Luckie Team from their lofty perch earned last racing season by the legendary "Under Armour" car captained by Reid.  Little sister would also be joining the act this year with a racer of her on.  The "My Little Pony" Mustang has a little something under the hood as well and was built for speed and cuteness!

My Little Pony is ready to strut her stuff!!

The Under Armour car is ready to start its engine!

The only car in the adult division!  They fear me!!

The races began with the boys division and The Under Armour Car did not disappoint.  It breezed through the competition on its way to the title to keep its FBC unbeaten streak alive.

The girls were up next and the My Little Pony Car was put to the test early.  We had never raced this car before, so we had no idea what to expect.  Mia was all smiles as she won each race and moved into the finals.  She won hands down and the Luckie Race team collected its second ribbon of the night!

We took the top 4 finishers from each division and had a combined race.  It didn't take long for The Under Armour and My Little Pony to square off side by side on the track.  My Little Pony got out of the gate strong and even had the lead at the turn, but the Under Armour used a late push to win by the slimmest of margins.  Little Sister was not happy!  My Little Pony fought back through the losers bracket to once again face off against Big Brother.  I would love to tell you she pulled it off, but the Under Armour was just too strong.  Reid won again!

The last race of the night and the biggest fan draw of the evening pitted Father against Son and Daughter.  The Georgia Southern Car was placed on the track in three wide fashion to take on the winner of the boys division and the winner of the girls division.  It just so happens that all three cars call the Luckie Race shop headquarters.  As the cars were set in motion I admit that I was torn between my own competitive nature and the desire to see my kids succeed.  It didn't last long!  I smoked 'em!!!  Dad is still the king!!

We had a great time and I can't wait for our RA race this winter.  Reid has already claimed the Georgia Southern car for our next race.  It should be fun as the bulls-eye just got a little bit bigger!!