For me, hunting is not limited to just one species. Like many hunters, I've been blessed to grow up with a father who instilled his love for the outdoors in me. Memories of hunting waterfowl with my dad started when I was just 11 years old, a tradition that stands strong today.
Hunting waterfowl in my home state of Colorado is relatively productive, considering the dry climate. However, it's no comparison to the waterfowl mecca of North Dakota. Every year, we make the 12-hour trip from Denver to the family farm in northwestern North Dakota, a farm that was homesteaded by my great grandfather in 1915.
This year, we had our new SItka Waterfowl gear in tow and the anticipation towards our traditional North Dakota waterfowl extravaganza had never been greater. After a long drive North, we caught a few hours of sleep and immediately began crafting a decoy spread in the illuminated stubble.
As in years past, the action had been phenomenal. However, as our hunt progressed, we were able to dial in on the birds even more, and on the last night of the trip we scouted a wheat field that was absolutely teaming with ducks and snow geese. After watching the birds pile in for over an hour, it was apparent that we had to be here for the last morning's hunt. Unfortunately, we weren't the only hunters watching the field.
To make the most of this opportunity, Cody staked our claim on the field by spending the night in the stubble with his truck and decoys. The plan worked, and the field was ours. We were set up no more than a quarter mile from the roost and even before the sun crested the horizon, birds were committing to our spread.
Within no time, legal shooting light was upon us and I was immersed in the best hunt of my life. Our gun barrels were hot and feathers shrouded the wheat all around us. By morning's end, we had a limit of 25 mallards as well as a mixed bag of three other birds. It was an extraordinary hunt and a memory that I will cherish forever.