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Thread: i thought i was going to die

  1. #21

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    Learned my lesson hunting alone with my dog a few years ago. Hunted a certain marsh the week before...good bottom (hard) and upto 2 feet deep It was a good hunt. A week passes and there is now about 1-2 inches of ices. Walked out to break up an area to put out a few decoys...late season was only setting out 6. Walk out to start breaking an area went through...little did I know the water had risen 3 feet in the prior week. I'm in and kinda fell backwards. Water up to my shoulders. Go into survival mode...GET UP AND OUT...made it out in less than a minute. No water in my waders but was soaked up to my chest pockets full of water. Grabbed my gear and the dog and walked back to by truck. A lot of thoughts went through my mind walking back, needless to say.

  2. #22
    Senior Member KwickLabs's Avatar
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    KwickLabs, You are 72 and hunting alone?
    Well, yes I do...and after reading all the warnings about old age with respect to hunting alone, I've become a bit irritated or defensive (not sure which) by all the naysayers. So I thought long and hard about my perspectives. I'm sure the idea that an "old guy" is too feeble physically, isn't able to think quickly and/or react correctly can't be valid arguments.

    First of all, I'm in good physical shape. Believe me if some of my younger duck camp residents would loose fifty pounds, they'd be a lot better off. I did....geez walking in the muck is sure a lot easier. As far as strength and being in shape, we have an indoor swimming pool which keeps me in great aerobic shape. I've never smoked a day in my life and haven't had a drink in forty years. Whoops, I'm wrong there. The camp owner brought me a small bottle of Blueberry Beer a month ago. MY guess was someone gave him a six pack and after one he was giving a bottle to five "friends". That brew was "interesting".

    I am still training four dogs...mostly alone. Our house sits on a lot with many oak trees with "tons" of leaves to remove every fall, a lawn to maintain, a yearly garden plot, an active asparagus patch and a long driveway which requires regular snow blowing efforts (northern Illinois). Taking care of all that (alone) is not a problem.....yet. In addition, I'm retired and now raising a 3 year old granddaughter (actually, my wife is doing most of that). In fact, duck hunting is very often much easier.

    As far as listing any health concerns, my type 2 diabetes is under control. I have no cholesterol problems. My blood pressure is excellent. On the other hand, my left knee (the Doc says I should have replaced) has become much less of a problem with proper exercise (pool), less weight and meds. My right elbow has some issues (too many curve balls in Little League and too much tennis in high school). The good thing is my arm doesn't have to be straight to duck hunt. Most of all, I know my physical limitations. I have a mud rig which is physically easy to launch by myself. This allows me access to a vast number of areas to hunt in pool 13 (Illinois and Iowa side). More often than not, this gets me very close to where I want to hunt. When hunting more remote spots, I've learned packing-in is a skill not necessarily requiring brute strength and/or being young. When you get older the word finesse becomes your friend.

    I started using a sled or my Predator blind to float/slide gear to walk-in hunts. The plan is usually one trip in/out and take advantage of any shallow water on the way (or not).






    The key to hunting alone is scouting (not just for the birds), knowing the areas you plan to hunt and experience. I have a buddy that hunts the same pool and we share information (big advantage). I'm on the river an average of 2-4 days per week during hunting season and 1-2 days per week during the summer. Technically, I've morphed into a "river rat". Any new areas (and the river changes every year) are scouted for problems in advance. Since I've hunted waterfowl (mostly alone) in big water ever since I was in my late twenties, experiences (good and bad) are lessons learned. I know what I can physically do, make a check list out before every hunt and have no problem deciding a spot may be too difficult to hunt. Easier is usually better because I'm not out there to bring in a full strap every time (white lie?).

    I have a PFD which I wear when the water temperatures drop. Starting next year a dry box with a complete change of dry clothing will be normal gear. I've got a propane Mr. Buddy heater in by boat with a pop-up blind that makes things nice and toasty (if necessary). I now have a Pelican container for my camera. I ALWAYS wear a kill switch when underway and since my motor is a ProDrive, I don't have to stand up to drive. It is very user friendly and safe. My cell phone is kept in a plastic bag and on me "all the time". And I don't go hunting in thunderstorms or fog.

    There are "rules" for getting out of the boat 1) scout the area in the summer and regularly before hunting, 2) always have a walking stick, 3) make sure getting "out and into" the boat is done properly (anchored, correct side, same routine) and 4) my large, safe boat has a fold down "step up and in" ladder for easy entry if necessary. This year I learned a new rule.....don't expect your dog to always do the right thing when you are setting up or tearing down.

    Most of all, when doing something that has higher risk factors, always be thinking of what can happen in the moment. Awareness is something that you work at 24/7. Avoiding mistakes is a lifestyle, but it doesn't mean you have to “walk on eggs”.

    In a way I have always had a knack for avoiding problems or quickly recovering from the few that have cropped up. I've never had a car accident in over fifty years of driving and my one and only moving violation ticket was 49 years ago. It was on lower Wacker Drive in Chicago. There was this very small sign (among many) that read "No Right Turn 3:30 -5:30 pm Mon-Fri"

    My favorite comment in this thread was the one about "if it's in your blood, you're going to go." One might say I've lived a charmed life.....then again, why haven't I won the lottery?
    Last edited by KwickLabs; 12-26-2012 at 09:21 PM.
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  3. #23
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    God bless you and Merry Christmas. Bruce

  4. #24
    Senior Member gdgnyc's Avatar
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    KwickLabs

    I meant to sound surprised, not critical. I am envious and judging from your post you have your hunting down pat.

    I was also in great shape physically. I did a little boxing in college and I owned my own karate school and worked out 5 days a week minimum since 1968. This was in addition to my professional career. I stopped working out in earnest rather recently. My pinched nerve and arthritic hands probably resulted from my training and full contact fighting. Suffering from my hobbies.

    You seem to have covered all bases for yourself and that is good. I view my own duckhunting as maybe being slightly different. I gun Great South Bay. My day starts with a 14 mile ride to the boat ramp which is in a crumby neighborhood. I launch my boat, travel 3-4 miles to my spot and set out 12-18 oversize decoys (18"-21", not easy to handle) and put 12 silhouette decoys on the meadow. There is a 6' tidal range, the meadows have hidden mosquito ditches that I have discovered by falling into them, what was 6' of water becomes an exposed mud flat at low tide, and I don't see anyone else gun where I gun. Alone for me means I am truly alone and miles from humans. My hunting is not more dangerous than your hunting, it's just a different dangerous. Any problem that I encounter will thus be handled by myself. I alone am responsible for the outcome of any emergency that arises.

    I certainly can hunt by myself but just because I can does not mean it is the wise thing for me to do. I also am a certified hunter safety instructor. We tell our students not to hunt alone. OK, I will hunt pheasants alone and I will walk the edge of a freshwater pond to jump shoot ducks but alone out in the bay is now in my past.
    "I love the rod and gun and where they take me."

    "Do not judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins."

  5. #25
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    I'm pretty sure Jim "QuickLabs" hunts the Mississippi river quite often as well. That is a very difficult and dangerous river if you don't understnd it.
    "Force fetch isn't about retrieving as much as it is conditioning a dog to handle pressure, in a very controlled environment. It's about putting a dog in the position of having to figure out how to turn off pressure by finding the correct response. This translates into numerous areas in training." Sharon Potter.

  6. #26
    Senior Member gdgnyc's Avatar
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    I have heard that it can be quite dangerous. Jim is obviously skillful.
    "I love the rod and gun and where they take me."

    "Do not judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins."

  7. #27
    Senior Member suepuff's Avatar
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    Glad you are safe! Scary story!

    And Jim Boyer? I want to be you when I grow up!!

    Sue Puff
    Sue Puffenbarger
    Wirtz, VA
    www.boynelabradors.com

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