Wet ‘n Windy Wister

Heading to Wister after a heavy rain, and without a reservation, I was reluctant. Wister’s mud had taken a $1,200 toll on my wife’s Volvo a couple of seasons before, not counting the $500 for the tow back to civilization and the Volvo dealer. But my son Griff reminded me that sweatlining had yielded some of our best hunts. And this time we had a 4WD truck.

So we went. And with our #26 in the sweatline, we pinned the tail on the Wister blind map donkey and hoped for the best.

The wind began soon after the sun put a faint light in the sky behind the Chocolate Mountains. It was the first day that electronic spinners were allowed, so we placed our freshly dusted off and charged up spinner amid the six mallard decoys we’d carried in. We were hunting light that day, since the roads were too muddy to drive, too muddy even for a cart. Stripped of all the gear I usually drag out to a hunt, with only a couple of tule seats, our guns, and a lunchbox, I felt ill-prepared but also a little unburdened. I did have the snake bite kit in my wader pocket, not knowing if the rain would keep Wister’s plentiful rattlers at home in their holes.

The morning wind produced ducks almost immediately, flying in from what had to be some choppy water in the Salton Sea. Wigeon and gads, and a few pintails, zoomed in, some hovering above our spinner. We know what curiosity did to the cat. Well, it did the same thing to quite a few ducks that day. Between Griff’s wonderful calling and our small but strategic spread, we ended one of our best days on the pond by noon with 12 fine ducks on the strap.

We trudged out the half-mile to Davis Road, exhausted, our feet blocked with mud like a couple of cement-shoed mafia victims. We’d traded a few pounds of ammo and sandwiches for twice as many pounds of duck. What a great day. Now on Monday morning, I’m reminded of it again, as the aroma of marinated and jerky-seasoned duck meat wafts up the stairs from the oven.

~ by zenhunter on December 3, 2007.

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