Every winter my local river floods, but usually after Duck season has finished. As soon as it floods all the flooded margins fill up with ducks.
This year we had a lot of rain before the duck season ended so I headed out to look for some ducks in the flooded margins. Somehow I managed to forget my duck calls, so I ended up having to mouth call.
I’ve never been very good at calling ducks, partly through a lack of confidence, partly because I don’t do enough duck shooting to get any better and partly because I am tone deaf and have no sense of time. I can call Parries without too much trouble, mainly because they seem to react to anything and come in for a look. Mallards I have always struggled with.
One day out pheasant shooting with a mate when we were both out in the open and I was wearing blaze vest. A lone mallard flew over us. My mate mouth called him, and kept mouth calling him while I started watching Bruce who looked like he was after a rooster. All of a sudden there was a bang and a splash and Bruce was off to retrieve the drake.
That made me think that maybe ducks weren’t always that smart and even an average mouth call might work on some ducks. So it proved.
When I got to the flooded margins there were a reasonable number of ducks. The first pair jumped a fair way out without seeing me so started circling. I said “quack, quack, quack” very loud until they turned, and then less loud as they came back around. I shot the drake, and learned that maybe I wasn’t quite as bad at calling as I had thought.
Dave & I went further upstream and walked past four mallards that we flushed on the way back. I shot one, which Dave didn’t retrieve, and while I was swearing at him for being useless I spotted a mob of eight ducks flying up the river. A few very loud “quacks” and the birds turned but were still very high and I lost sight of them so went back to swearing at Dave. I spotted them again and said “Quack” few times and paid a little more attention.
The mob had separated into smaller groups and three ducks came screaming over my head at about tree top height. The lead Drake fell to the first shot and the others were gone. Perhaps I should have waited, but I wasn’t sure they would come back around and the flooded area was at least a kilometre long so they could have dropped in a fair way away. I was just stoked to have mouth called mallards.