Friday, November 11, 2011
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
(click on photos to enlarge)
I am blessed in so many ways. On Wednesday afternoon, I took my 4-year old son Brayden to the river blind. We spent as much time walking around on the sand bars as we did in the blind actually hunting. We did manage to get a couple of fat greenheads so he was able to watch the mallards work the decoys. I think he liked it because he kept saying "Daddy, I love you!"
On Thursday morning I was blessed to have in the blind with me my Dad, Michael; one my great clients and friend, Jeff Meyer, owner of Pathfinder Ranch in Alcova, WY; and my friend Trent Tatum, co-owner of the North Platte Lodge in Alcova. We decoyed many flocks of mallards and had our limit by 9:00 AM.
Jeff Meyer and Sage
Needing just three more mallards for our limit, my Dad and I convinced a flock of 25 mallards to come and visit our spread. They were hovering above the decoys at 15 yards. I reminded everyone that we needed only three. The first volley rang out and two greenheads hit the water. Needing one more, Trent focused on a drake that was trying to make his escape through the trees. Bad decision for duck; good decision for Trent. Trent's yellow lab, Allie, went "into the woods" (Stephen Sondheim reference not intended) and returned with a "once in a lifetime duck"!
It was a magnificent drake mallard/pintail hybrid. The beak was that of a pintail (sprig), head was a mallard on the sides but had the brown crown of a pintail. The neck was long like a pintail but it had the white ring of a mallard; however, the white extended down the throat for an inch. Wings had the green speculum of a pintail but the body shape was that of a mallard. The tail had the triangle shape of a pintail but was colored like a drake mallard. It had the spike tail feather of a sprig but instead of coming out the rear of the tail it was located where a drake mallard would have his curl feathers. A magnificent bird. A trophy of a lifetime!
Drake Mallard/Pintail Hybrid
I have been witness to many mallards being harvested over the years. I have seen only one other mallard/pintail hybrid. My Dad has been hunting mallards for over 50 years. Trust me when I say he has been responsible for thousands of mallards taken over the years (If you have seen the number of duck bands on his call lanyard you know what I mean). Trent's duck is the first hybrid drake he has ever seen.
Thank you to Trent for these wonderful photographs.
I am truly blessed to share my passion for waterfowling with my dad, my son and good friends.
See you on the river.