A Cautionary Tale

This probably belongs in the tall tail section but I thought more people would see it here. 

Today was the opener of the western zone duck season and two buddies and I went to our usual spot.  This spot requires the use of either a canoe or a small flat bottom boat.  Just a minute or two before legal shooting time a group of three guys came by in a canoe and pulled up, just around a bend in the creek from us.  They were approximatly 80 yards away and clearly saw us.  We thought that they were awful close but chose not to say anything to them.  When shooting time came we quckly had multiple birds down and Max was out of the blind making the retrieves.  All of a sudden the other group of guys fire and I am hit in the waders.  I don't mean I had shot rain down upon me, but I was actually shot.  My buddy Donny was hit in the temple and the neck.  Fortunetly he was wearing his face mask and his hood.  None of the pellets penetrated either one of us but they sure stung!   We gave the guys a verbal tounge lashing and didn't hear anything further from them. 

 After 4 hours of sitting in the steady rain we figured it was time to go.  The 12' boat had a lot of water in it because of the rain and all the water the dog tracked in after each retrieve.  We figured that we would be alright.  After loading all of our gear my buddy fired up the motor but he gave it to much gas and water was immedietly gushing in over the bow.  I jumped out into 5-6' of water and swam to the nearest shallow area.  When I turned around the boat was upside down, under water.  Quite a sight to see!  We managed to get the boat into the shallows and while my two buddies dragged it to a muskrat hut to empty it I sent Max for our ducks which were floating away. 

 After retrieving all of the ducks I figured I would send him for some of the floating equipment, most importantly my gloves.  He swam past the gloves to the far side of the creek and somehow got himself tangled in some sort of plant that was very similiar to a vine.  He was wearing a vest but that wasnt' the issue.  The issue was that it somehow got wrapped around his neck and he was in water over his head.  Now we had a really serious situation. Max was treading water and couldn't move.  I was on the other side of the creek and contemplating swimming back across when the knuckleheads who shot us showed up.  It was a man and two young boys.  They freed Max and helped me retreive some of our gear.  They also apologized profusely.

 There are certinly lessons to be learned from this:

1. Give people space when duck hunting and if somebody sets up to close to you tell them of it.  I hunt a lot of public land and people are always setting up really close to me.  I never tell them to move, but you can be sure that I will from now on.

 2. Be vigilent when in a small boat.  We should have realized that the excess water was going to cause the boat to plow.  There is no excuse for that. 

3. Keep close eye on your dogs when they are in the water.  If Max had gotten hung up like that while out of sight I would have assumed he was doing a duck search and he would have more than likely drowned. 

 Keep safe and follow through.

 Dan

Glad it worked out

I have had a couple close calls when duck hunting also, so everyone be carefull out there and have a great rest of the season.Larry

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