Louisiana Ducks

January 29th, 2016

IMG_0486This has been a tremendous bird season for me and some of my friends. Plentiful grouse in Rocky Mountains, one of the best quail numbers in recent memory and so many ducks down on the bayou we could not keep up. The following blog is an account of my best duck hunt yet. What made this more interesting was Louisiana weather in January. My friend’s knowledge of the water, the winds and weather patterns proved crucial to our success. And of course my new Super Scroll combo was to “blame” too.

CZ Super Scroll Combo is a higher end over/under designed for the sporting clays course or the field. The receiver is engraved with beautiful detail and comes with 20 gauge and 28 gauge barrels. Swapping two different set of barrels is as easy as taking an over/under apart and then quickly putting it back together with desired gauge. The reasons for the decision to get this gun were few. A gun with 30 inch barrels does not swing as easy and provides me with much more control.

I have plenty of field guns with 28 inch barrels but this one takes it to another level. I have also shot few guns in the past with nice round Prince of Wales grip and found it very comfortable. The combo gun allows me to travel with one gun to cover all my needs. Turkish walnut stock shows lot of two tone grain and I had some work done again by Pads by Neal for better fit. This gun is beautiful, shoots like a dream and it was a wonderful gift. (From me to me) Bird hunting is my passion and I thought I deserved new nice gun. I am writing this just before I left for another quail hunt in the south west. Super Scroll will be getting another chance to prove itself as a field gun. Daily limit of waterfowl checked. Gambles quail? Bobwhite?

IMG_0501I checked the weather forecast for southern Louisiana before I left. There were getting some heavy rain the day I drove down. We all knew the next morning will be very foggy and we will have to wait in camp until the fogs lifts to safe ride the boat to our blind. As winds picked up the fog started to lift and we were able to get to our blind just in time it for the birds to fly. We were still setting decoys,parking the boat and getting our guns out when the ducks started to come in. They were coming in hot,mostly teals.

The winter in the upper Midwest has been so mild,there were plenty of other ducks still hanging around in northern latitude. Not teals. After shooting the first three just to get into the rhythm of things I started to pick my shots.I waited for drakes or at times just watched them come in,land in the decoys,look around and take off for better place to hang out. The first day’s choice was 20 ga with #6 shot. We had #4s in the bucket in case the big birds showed up. The sky completely cleared up and part of the routine was to do some scouting and built a blind for the next day.

My friend likes to change things up and many times he will let his friends use the previous day’s spot. He might like doing “the homework” almost more than shooting the birds. I understand. When you do something for long time and have success there comes a time to give back to others and share you wisdom. Teaching hockey is very rewarding. I have no desire to play anymore as long as I get to give back. We had a beautiful ride back to the camp. ( Alice I will be sending a video from a boat ride to post if possible). Plenty of hot coffee,good Luisiana breakfast and cleaning of the birds made the morning complete.

IMG_0503The forecast for the next day called for heavy rain in the early morning hours and wind direction change by nine o’clock. The blind was set up with that in mind. We again waited in the camp until it was safe to get in the boat and ride out to the blind. Halfway out the rain started to really let up. We didn’t want it to stop too soon because the birds will fly as soon as conditions are right. We hustled into the blind,got the guns ready and wow. It seems like the ducks were in the air as soon as the last drop of the rainstorm hit the bayou. We found ourselves in a sweet spot again.

I can not emphasize enough the importance of knowing the hunt area as well as my friend does. There are many hunters in the area but none of them have the success each and every day during the duck season he has. I have been told by most I am with the best and duck hunting is not always this much fun. I am well aware of that and I appreciate every chance I have on the bayou with him.

To be in the sweet spot is one thing,getting inaccurate forecast another. The winds were supposed to change by this time of the morning so the birds would be coming to the decoys towards us not away. They like to land into the wind. We are sitting in the boat,in a blind built behind nice little island of trees,tall grass and bushes. We have an excellent view of the north,east and south. The wind is still blowing from the east and the birds are coming from the west. We both decided to shoot 28 ga(my friend is shooting CZ Canvasback 28 ga) today because the duck will be in our lap or should have been.

IMG_0505It was one of the finest time I’ve had duck hunting without firing a shot. There is dozens and dozens of ducks coming into the decoys from the west and landing away from us. We are not shooting because we can not see them until they are flying very low and fast over our heads or just to the side. Time after time I stand up raised the gun and try to shoot but the group of birds I was aiming at fifteen yards away gets blocked by another group flying so close to us,they seem to be at the end of your barrel.

That is how well hidden our boat and the blind were. We had no idea the ducks were coming and the ducks came in so fast and so low they had no idea we were there.We get couple birds as they’re flying away but decided to give the wind some more time to change direction. And it does. The wind turns around to start blowing in our faces,ducks are coming to the decoys towards us and pair of 28 ga CZ over/under get the job done very quickly. At times it looked like it’s raining ducks. We picked up the decoys,ducks and headed to scout for the last day. Finally the forecast was calling for clear and cold day.

The last morning has no delays caused by weather. We are off to the blind still in the dark. We set up decoys,pull the boat into the blind and get ready. We both brought 20 ga guns (the 20 ga barrels for me) with some #4s again in case it’s windy or we have some longer shots. There was absolutely no need for it. We were ready to shoot before we had enough light to shoot. This was the first clear and calm morning in about a week and ducks were anxious to fly. It is a similar experience when you hunt deer or elk in the mountains. You know they’ll be more animals out early after good snowstorm. Unfortunately we have not had any of those in Wyoming in last couple hunting seasons. We are standing up in the blind with no reason to hide because it’s till fairly dark. You see little daylight on the eastern horizon but not enough to safely shoot. Well,ducks are not waiting. No fog,no rain. They see the decoys just fine.

As I mentioned earlier we are still standing up in the blind and suddenly we see twenty to thirty duck silhouettes coming in. They land in the decoys and few of them stay and hang out. They like the spot so much they don’t mind they are surrounded by plastic friends. More and more and more ducks,mostly silhouettes take turns landing into the decoys. The light is getting better,just few more minutes. We both had our twenty ga guns in our hands but quickly decided to swap for twenty eight. I am not kidding when I say with enough light twelve dead ducks were floating amongst the decoys within ten to fifteen minutes and we were being very picky which one we shoot. I could not finished the hunt any better. Last two was my first double. Two shots from the Super Scroll combo and two ducks fell. This was an incredibly well set up blind. I still can not believe we did not sit or crouch down once as the ducks could care less about us,the boat or anything else except to land in that spot ten to fifteen yards in front of us.

This was one duck hunt to remember. Actually they all are. Great time with friends,great guns performing like they should and plenty of good,organic meat on the table. I have had these Louisiana ducks prepared many different ways but this February I’m getting a treat. My mom is coming for a visit and is planning to make these ducks with red cabbage and potato dumplings. Just like they cooked them many,many years ago when my grandfather brought them home from his hunt.

Bobby Holik

Bobby Holik, Czech American NHL Legend teamed up with CZ-USA in 2011 to promote the CZ line of bolt action rifles, semi-automatic handguns and handcrafted shotguns. The ice hockey center began his U.S. career with the Hartford Whalers, won two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils and went on to plan for New York Rangers and Atlanta Thrashers. In his 1,314 career NHL games, Holik scored 747 points (326 goals, 421 assists) and became of the the most productive Czech born players in the NHL.
Like his grandfather, Bobby treasures our outdoor heritage. At home on his ranch in Wyoming, Bobby understands our responsibility as custodians for the land and wildlife on a first hand basis.

CZ-USA

CZ firearms are imported to United States exclusively by CZ-USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ceska Zbrojovka, a.s. Uhersky Brod (CZUB) of the Czech Republic whose history dates back to 1936. CZ firearms have been available through distribution channels in the US since 1991 through independent importers and in 1997 CZUB recognized the need to control its own destiny and established CZ-USA with its headquarters in Kansas City, KS. All distribution, sales, marketing, warranty and parts support operates from Kansas City location. In 2005 a great opportunity came to CZ-USA by acquiring Dan Wesson Firearms, traditional American manufacturer of premium 1911 style handguns and unique revolvers with interchangeable barrels.