Catching up with an old friend on a duck hunt

Text and Photography by Ryan Coughlin

Reach out and make the connection

I was looking forward to this morning for few reasons. I haven't seen Justin (childhood friend who grew up a few doors down from me) in years and I have never been on a duck hunt before.

Rewind a week ago, I got in touch with Justin about going on a hunt with him. New Years day, 5:30am at a local estuary marsh land.

Plan was set.

Missing: 12g Benelli

Headlights off at 5:30am, pack in, setup, and wait for first light

Buy it

A tote that does it (stands up) right

YETI Camino Carryall Tote Bag does it all and does it well. It stays up empty, a breeze to clean and rugged bottom to keep your stuff dry

Splish splash ducks taking a bath

Decoys moving slowly with the tide and the sun scratching the horizon. Meanwhile, ducks calling in the distance.

Cabela's mini blind, lightweight and perfect for this location

Wait, wait, and wait

About ~1.5 hours into the morning with no potential shots. Nothing but distant calls and ducks hunkeredd down in a tiny cove off in the distance.

Few flybys with 2-4 ducks in a flock, far out of range. All the birds in range were Seagulls and a tiny shorebird that couldn't not be more than 10 yards from the edge of the marsh.

Stretch and regroup

We take :30 to reset the decoys as the tide starts to go back out, stretch our legs, and wait for another wave to come our way.

Getting more and more eager to have a wave of ducks come into range. We'll see what happens when we settle back in.

Soak it in, this was the only shot we had! No ducks to retrieve