Duck Hunt 1-3-16
River was at 37, but a bad west wind 5-9 mph predicted for Sunday. So far no cold weather, low last night was 35. Debi and I saw Star Wars Saturday night and on the trip to Newport, I called the Manchester Police to see if the ramp was clear. The officer said no the dock was still in and the ramp was a mess. He said they (the city maintenance force) would pull the dock next week. The movie was the exact same story as the first, I was not impressed. I decided to try Ripley where the bend in the river would protect the Kentucky bank from the west wind. Got up at 7:00 and East on 52 by 8:00. Saw decoy hunters east of Fat Boys floating restaurant as well as my normal guys west of Bull Skin. I honked the horn as I passed. On the trip up 52 I saw a few ducks on the Ohio bank. I have changed my breakfast spot for a while; I now like the 50â€™s dinner when you first come into Ripley. I like it more because there is less people, and you get better service. I was at the ramp by 9:15. The ramp was a mess, full of brush and mud. I looked it over and decided I could get the skiff in, but I would have to clear a path. The main problem is running over the board with a nail in it. I cleared the ramp the best I could, moving all of the big logs and looking for the board with the nail in it (could not find) I put the Chevy in 4 wheel drive and dropped off the skiff. I decided to see how many pulls it would take to start the 2003 mercury. It took one pull, which shows that we have learned a thing or two about outboards since the 1950â€™s. My 1957 10 hp Johnson never started on the first pull. Since I am by myself I put up my side boards on the left side of the skiff, since 1 person does not roll the skiff enough.
I headed across the river. It was semi calm with a wind that was blowing from the Ky bank. I crossed over and headed down at a slow idle, spotting with my binoculars. In many ways floating a low river like todayâ€™s conditions is more fun, you get to spot the ducks before you start floating, which is very cool when you do spot them, and not so good when you miss them and scare them up. I ran down about .5 mile when I noticed white stuff all along the waters edge, I moved in close to the bank to see what it was, I was in 1â€™ of water. It was feathers, I donâ€™t think it was ducks, I think it was dove feathers; perhaps a fox or coyote got breakfast. I raised the merc to shallow position and headed back out; as I was doing this I spotted a drake mallard ahead, just behind a fallen log. I cut the 15 and started paddling. I had more current than I expected. The duck was blocked out by my side board, but I was sure I was right next to him. I dropped the paddle and grabbed my 1100. I looked over and there was a hen and a drake. I sat up and got the drake with the first, and hesitated on the hen. I think I was trying to pump the 1100 like I do with the model 12. She was flying away towards the bank and I dropped her. 2 shots and 2 ducks. I added more feathers to the water. I cranked up the 15 and picked up my 2 ducks, both dead on the water. I pulled into the bank for coffee and a pee. I snapped a picture of the ducks, the river below me and the town of Ripley above and across the river.
I headed down stream and rounded the bend just in front of Dover and I was face to face with a west wind, too much to float. I was hoping the bend above Ripley would protect me. I headed across to the Ohio bank and ran up slow spotting as I went with the binoculars. The Ohio bank was worse with a few whitecaps. I passed the town and headed up above Ripley. Just above Eagle creek I spotted ducks ahead. I started out to the middle of the river, but saw that it was too windy to float. I headed back in and jumped them up. There was about 5 ducks, all mallards. I ran all the way up to below the power plant and headed across to the Ky side. There was no way I could float , the wind was too strong. I spotted to blacks at the mouth of Lawrence creek, but just jumped them up. I could not float with the wind blasting in my face. I spotted two more blacks at Big Beasley and tried to float them, the bend in the river had reduced the wind a bit. The boat was bouncing up and down due to the wind driven waves and the blacks swam out at 100 yards and just kept swimming to the middle of the river. I cranked up the 15 and went down about .5 miles and was able to get out of the wind. I putted down to the area I had hunted that morning and even went past till I was below Ripley. At the bend the wind got too bad and I was done. I headed back upstream and at the ramp by 12:00. The
Ohio game warden from Brown County (Eric) was waiting for me at the ramp. He checked my license. He said he has seen very few ducks this year. He seemed like a nice guy. I was curious if the truck could pull the boat out in 2 wheel drive, sometimes the mud is no problem at all and sometimes it is grease. The truck could not do it in 2 wheel, so I switch to 4 wheel drive. I snapped a picture of the ramp and my boat sitting in front of the shelter where I change back out of my hunting cloths. I headed west on 52 and was home by 1:30. Just in time for a good nap.