It’s always fun to hunt a new species for the first time ever. My first duck hunt ever was with a good friend of mine, Josh Poling. We hunted public land, on a little island in the river, and wound up getting a lot of shooting in, even hit some too! I shot my first mallard ever, and got it on video!
I was hooked on waterfowl hunting after that. It can be very addicting. Recently, I’ve had to chance to share that “first hunt” experience with a several people in the field. We took some new guys hunting last week. They had heard great things about waterfowl hunting and had contacted me about getting into the sport. I took them to a new Wildlife Management Area that we had hunted before, along with several of the guys I normally hunt with.
Part of the reason I like waterfowl hunting so much is for the camaraderie that comes with waking up at 4 am to meet your friends, walking out with large quantities of decoys/guns/cameras/shells in the dark, picking a spot and creating a set to hunt over. You get pretty close with friends that you do this with...otherwise, you just wouldn’t do it. Oh, and the stories that fly in a duck blind when the ducks aren’t flying – priceless.
These guys fit right in. They had no trouble with the wake up call or packing gear into the woods. They even had some funny stories to tell before shooting light. We split up into two groups and made our set, and when shooting light came, so did the wood ducks. We were taken by surprise a few times and didn’t even get eyes on the stealth flyers until it was too late. Finally, we got (and made) some good shots, harvesting several woodies over the course of the morning. They were stoked, and hooked, just like I was after my first hunt. I was happy to be a part of that. My friend’s dog, Coal, also got his first water retrieve that morning. He’s not even a year old!
I encourage everyone to participate in a new hunt this year. Whether it’s hunting something new for yourself, or taking a newbie out for his or her first time, I promise, the experience you have will be worth it. I particularly encourage the latter, get involved with a local organization or kids group and take a youngin out for their first hunt. Take a friend, take a stranger, just be safe out there. The outdoors are a special place, share them with someone new!