It’s a day that comes once a year for all of us. If it’s your first opening day or your 40th, the feeling is the same. The excitement, the nerves, the lack of sleep the night before, it’s all part of it, and it all washes away as soon as the sun rises on your decoy spread. But what happens when a flood covers the road to your spot? Do you throw in the towel and tell hunting stories over coffee with your buddies? Or do throw on the waders and make something happen?
For Missouri’s opener, the Higdon crew chose the latter. Our favorite hunting spot with Momarsh founder, Ira McCauley, in Sumner, MO is a special timber hole named “Heaven”. For a duck hunter, there isn’t a more appropriate name for a blind. If you haven’t seen the way birds work down through the trees of flooded timber, you’re missing out. Being able to drive a ranger right to the blind is the icing on the cake.
This year our cake was without icing. There was enough water that we couldn’t drive a truck in and not enough to drive a boat. We pulled up OnX and found a route that would get us close enough to walk. After nearly flipping the ranger a time or two, we threw our gear on our backs, tightened the belts on our waders and started walking.
Our biggest concern was the creek, and that concern became a reality almost immediately. The water was still on the rise, and it was moving FAST. We found a spot where we could have a solid handhold on some trees to make our crossing. When you think of duck hunting, you don’t think of grown men holding hands on their walk to the blind, but when it’s hold hands or go home, you grab your buddy’s hand. One by one we made it across and managed to keep the camera gear dry. OnX took care of the rest and before too long we were in Heaven.
We killed quite a few ducks that morning, but that’s not what any of us will remember. We’ll think back on the difficult walk in. The walk we’ve all taken (if we’re lucky). The walk we’re less likely to take the older we get, but we’re here to tell you. Take the walk. If you can go, go! Throw those battleships over your shoulder and put your “two wheel drive” to work, because you never know which walk will be your last.
WHAT WE USED ON THE HUNT
- 7 dozen battleship mallards
- 3 Mallard Drake XS Pulsators for water motion
- 2 Floating Flashers for motion
Blind: Permanent Blind
- Ira: Power Calls Ignition (cut-down)
- Beau: Power Calls Ignition and Static Whistle
- Kelley: Power Calls Impulse AA
- Brook: Power Calls Prototype
Shot Shells: HEVI-XII #2s