Friday, November 11

Waterfowl Festival and Scouting

Sunday is for Scouting.

 That was one of many hunting mantras of a friend, who managed environmental matters at the Nylon 66 plant where I once worked. As you can't hunt on Sundays, that was the day for scouting. Makes sense, but Sundays are generally loaded with other items on the docket.  So today, it was Friday is for Scouting. Loaded with all sorts of gear and my Muck boots, I drove south of Cambridge, MD in search of walk-in hunting opportunities for ducks and geese. First off, this part of the world is marsh central and I should have worn chest waders.

 They don't call it Blackwater because it sounds tough. I realized this after stepping into an abyss that swallowed my leg to the hip.  Pants dry (note to self: bring extra socks) and it was sunny and in the high 50's. There were some promising areas, but you really need a jon boat, though a canoe would work in many areas. While the water is "skinny" (shallow in the greenhorn vernacular), the bottom is super silty and you may need a winch to pull your boot out. Overall, it was a good day out and I made it home in time for the calling competitions for the Waterfowl Festival.

 Every year, they have the World Championship Goose Calling Contest. They also hold the Mason-Dixon Regional Duck Calling competition, where the winner goes to the World's in Stuttgart (Arkansas, not Germany) I watched many of the entrants for the duck calling and these guys were incredible.  However, there are so many geese on the Eastern Shore that goose calling is the real draw.  While I enjoy competition calling with all the incredible vocal tricks that these guys perform, I find that the live goose competition is much more interesting. As the callers try to imitate live geese, their 90 seconds can be completely different between the callers.  Closing your eyes, you could imagine that these are the sounds that you hear overhead every day, or hear when a gander feeds on the ground. I was just as delighted to hear this as I was to share this with my son and daughter.

As the next two days of the Waterfowl Festival unfold, I hope to talk to a few of the callers to get some tips. Those days I relish where I can get outside, further my knowledge, and be in the company of true experts. What could be better? Buying a new shotgun? Oh I forgot, that was how the day started.

1 comment:

LB @ Bullets And Biscuits said...

We have a friend that turns wood and started making duck and goose calls. It's pretty awesome to sit in his wood shed and try out all the calls ;) We've never been to a calling contest, maybe we need to add it to the bucket list.

Oh yes, those marshes love to laugh at Muck boots or any other boot that comes to the knee...their false bottoms have gotten me plenty! Now I never go out unless I have waders on ;)