November 09, 2010
Bourjaily's Favorite Ducks
By Phil Bourjaily
As Dave DiBenedetto pointed out last week in the "Man's Best Friend" blog, there are other hunting seasons going on right now besides deer season – not that you would know it to look at this site. For instance, it’s duck season in Iowa. While everyone else is up in a tree I get to play in the mud. The green wing teal have arrived as they do every year in early November. They are, perhaps, my favorite waterfowl species.
I like a fat late season mallard or Canada as much as the next guy but until those northern birds arrive, greenwings are too much fun to hunt. They are plentiful, fast, tasty, nice to look at, and not particularly bright – all good qualities in a duck. Greenwings congregate in very shallow water to feed, often in large numbers. My favorite way to hunt them is to sleep in (all my favorite ways to hunt involve sleeping in), then find a concentration of teal, flush them, and throw out a few decoys. Usually I don’t have to wait long until they start coming back, first in two and threes, then by the flock. More often than not, the first ducks reappear before I’m finished setting up. Then it’s just a question of hiding in the weeds, shooting straight, and hoping I brought enough shells.
By the way, if there was a record book for teal, the drake at the top of the bunch would qualify – it weighed within a few hundredths of an ounce of a full pound, which is gigantic for a green wing, and its plumage is perfec t. If I were the type to mount ducks, it would be at the taxidermist. As it is, we cooked it with the others and it tasted as good as it looked. Since this is a blog about guns I should mention that the Benelli M2 in the picture is the gun I wrote about last year when I picked it up after someone foolishly traded it and another brand new Benelli for a Matthews Reezen at my local sporting goods store. I bought it because it was too good a deal to pass up, and since then it has grown on me. It is light and handy, it doesn’t kick too badly with reasonable loads* it works even if you get mud, blood and feathers all over it and inside it. - Bourjaily