Taking a couple of young men on their first duck hunt does wonders for an old waterfowler's soul.
I had high hopes of introducing Hunter Goforth and Kyle McPherson, both 21 of Oklahoma City, to a classic duck hunting experience when they joined me at a small farm pond in western Oklahoma.
Our game plan included decoys, calling, good dog work and successful concealment. We constructed a natural blind out of willows and tumbleweeds.
Shooting time, which starts 30 minutes before sunrise, came with a hush. After an extended period of time without seeing a feather, I wondered how disappointed they would be if we never saw a duck this morning.
Suddenly, we heard the rush of wings as 20 mallards glided over our decoy spread, but the ducks didn't respond to may calling and they disappeared over the horizon. I got pensive glares from my companions like I just missed a field goal in a championship game.
Fortunately, I had a chance to redeem myself as a group of pintails approached. Unlike mallards that respond to a variety of quacks, pintails speak a language of whistles.
I immediately produced a series of whistles from my pintail call and they circled several times until they cupped their wings and dropped into the decoys.
Both of my hunting companions folded a drake pintail and flashed grins broader than a Cheshire cat.
The morning rocked along with splendid results. My lab, William Wallace — aka Will, was worn slick retrieving ducks. Hunter remarked, “It does not get any better than this.”
Just as he spoke those words we heard a group of Canada geese behind us. We froze like statues as they sailed past.
Although improbable, they descended like falling elm leaves. When they were telephone pole high I called, “Take them!”
On this crisp morning we were definitely lucky, harvesting both ducks and geese on a day that two young men were introduced to the sport of waterfowling.