A Quail Hunting Bonus

Fred Walters had just signed on to a 600 acre quail/dove lease outside of Lockhart, Texas, and in early December, had asked me to join him on a quail hunt, and he reminded me to bring along some heavy shot for, maybe, a passing duck. Following his orders, along with 20, 7-1/2’s for quail, I slipped 5, number 6 shot into my hunting coat pocket.

Having no dog, we had busted into 2 average sized coveys and had reduced their numbers by 4 birds. Luckily we found all 4, and as we looked for the last one, in the brush, some 300 yards ahead, we spotted the damn of a stock tank. Fred said, “While I look for this bird, why don’t you walk on up and see if there are any ducks on the tank? If there are, go ahead and shoot ‘em.”

Changing out the 7-1/2’s in my pump for 6’s and clipping the other 2 between the fingers of my left hand, I quickly, but quietly, walked up behind the damn and eased my eyes over the edge for a look, and to my surprise there was 75 to 100 different varieties of ducks swimming and feeding in the small tank. Quickly ducking back down, my mind racing, I tried to wave for Fred to come up, but he couldn’t see me through the thick stuff, so I decided to tie into them by myself.

Taking a deep breath, I eased over the top of the damn and the surface of the water exploded with ducks taking flight. Not shooting into the bunch, but picking out one and bam, down it went along with several others; switching my aim to another, bam, down it and several other went; my mind still racing, I decided to take only a clean shot at ONE duck and bam, it plopped to the ground. As the ducks caught the wind they swung back over the tank and I quickly stuffed my 2 finger held shells into my pump and bam, bam, and down went 2 more.

At the time, daily bag limit was 5 and possession limit was 10. Counting Fred’s limits we could have 20 ducks, but 20 was a dicey number with no more than 2 Pintail drakes and no more than 2 Mallard hens. As I started to retreived the ducks, I had 11 on the ground and 8 in the pond, Fred walked up and we both began picking up ducks and ‘chunkin’ them out of the water.

As best I remember, we were lucky, the bag included one Mallard hen, 2 Pintail drakes and a mixture of 16, Teal, Widgeon and Gadwalls. We picked, singed and cleaned the ducks, filled our cooler and headed home.

Without “pot shooting” them on the water, 5 shots and 19 ducks was still OK!