Duck Hunting Lake Livingston
The second split of duck season is always greeted with eager duck hunting locals of Lake Livingstonâ€™s north end. On Friday December the 8th two friends of mine, Chris Swift and Brian Broadus and I watched over the Jungle and Robbs Lake, two water bodies on the north end of Lake Livingston. The wind blew from north and we literally watched as ducks rode the front and came into the flats and timber. The front was the first serious one of the year and was predicted to have some freezing temperatures along with it. Conditions could not be any better and we all anticipated a colossal hunt the following morning. Back at my house we discussed the up coming hunt over backstrap fajitas, a couple of Hank Williams cdâ€™s, and about 100 poker hands. If you think we didnâ€™t have it all figured out you had better guess again. By six am Saturday morning we were sitting in the blind waiting on shooting time. We had a spread of four dozen mallard and black mallard decoys, two dozen teal decoys, and a dozen sprig decoys. Chris always takes on the job of laying out the spread and always has a plan taking in all the variations. Chris has worked as a guide for some of the outfitters on the coast and also in Alaska and his experience is invaluable for our hunts on the river. By six am Saturday morning we were sitting in the blind waiting on shooting time. We had a spread of four dozen mallard and black mallard decoys, two dozen teal decoys, and a dozen sprig decoys. Swift takes on the job of laying out the spread and always hasa plan taking in all the variations. Swift has worked as a guide for some of the outfitters on the coast and one outfitter in Alaska, his experience is invaluable to us when setting up. The wind was strong out of the north and the temperature was in the lower forties. The cloud cover was overcast with some low rolling clouds. We could see birds in every direction, mostly rafts of teal but also flights of big ducks. Just before shooting time we agreed to try and shoot nine teal and the rest big ducks. Teal were raining into our decoys well before shooting time. When shooting time began there were a couple hundred birds in our spread and they were still raining in. At this point I would have traded my shotgun for a video camera in a second just to have proof of how the river can be at its best. Brian swung on a flight of teal decoying in but backed his gun up to a bigger flight. Swift whispered not to shoot because here comes a flight of greenheads. Brian backed his gun up to the flight of greenheads and Swift joined in on the flight. I got blocked out so I swung on a flight of teal from my side and doubled. Brian and Swift each downed a mallard. Duke, the lab, went to work. Watching a well trained dog work birds is one of the most important parts of a good duck hunt. He retrieved three of the birds and then had to hunt one of my teal that had gone down in the toolies. Duke quickly found the bird and brought it back with a soft mouth. By seven forty five we had eleven teal, two mallard drakes, and two pintail. We sat in the blind watching birds until around nine thirty, it was impressive just to see that many birds. We had never seen anything like this on the river. Killing a limit of birds on the river is common, but we had never seen this many birds in one hunt. We figured, without exaggerrating, that we saw three or four thousand birds and had four to six hundred actually land in our spread. We had good hunts for the next few days with a couple more good limits but the weather warmed up and the majority of the birds headed south. It will be a long time before we ever see the type of hunting we had opening morning of the second split here on the river. Maybe we will be lucky enough to be there again next time when its â€œrightâ€.