A sad season

By Larry Dablemont, Contributing Columnist
Posted 2/28/24

All through the fall hunting season, those of us who love to hunt waterfowl prayed for rain.   The one thing you need for great duck hunting is plenty of water, and we just didn’t have it. …

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A sad season


All through the fall hunting season, those of us who love to hunt waterfowl prayed for rain.  The one thing you need for great duck hunting is plenty of water, and we just didn’t have it. So I have decided to go duck hunting in the spring, when the ducks start heading back to the north.  I’m going to hunt them with my camera. Shucks, if you like to watch ducks work the decoys and respond to your call, why do you have to have a shotgun with you?  I can take home a whole flock with my camera, and never miss. Another thing I will do this spring, before the hunting season, is shoot some turkey gobblers… again with a camera. As our wild turkey numbers decline drastically, more of us old-time gobbler getters should turn to that.  You bag more wild turkeys with a camera, and you don’t have to clean one. Then at the local grocery store, a turkey that is ready for the smoker costs a fraction of what a turkey tag does.

All in all, I think I’ll put this last hunting season in the “ones to forget” file.  Outdoor writers who hunt and fish often have wonderful opportunities and, therefore, some very good trips. We write about those trips and very often keep quiet about the others. But we all have outings we’d like to forget, The duck season of 2023-24 was like that for me.

There have been plenty of disastrous hunting trips for me, but it may be, the all-time most embarrassing situation took place 25 years ago when my Uncle Norten and I went duck hunting on the Sac River.  I’ve hunted rivers since I was shorter than my shotgun.  We do that often via a floating blind. We’ve floated hundreds and hundreds of miles in a johnboat concealed with a blind of limbs and camouflage, hunting everything from deer and turkey to ducks and squirrels.

In all those combined years, no Dablemont ever let his boat get away from him until that December.  It happened because we stopped on a gravel bar so my uncle could go up into the timber to visit a man about a dog!

I stayed with the boat, adding some more foliage to the blind. Then I pulled the johnboat up on the bank and sat down against a log to wait, my back to the river. I dozed off a little in the warm sunshine and my uncle returned and called my attention to the fact that our boat was floating out into mid-stream, heading away with the current. We followed down the bank knowing full well it wouldn’t come back, despite my pleading. It drifted into a log on the other side, and sat there with our guns and gear, in water ten feet deep or better.

We were in big trouble. Fortunately there was a farmhouse on a ridge behind us. Getting there in chest waders was something of an ordeal, but I did it and the farmer said he had an old boat and paddle he’d loan me. The ground was frozen, so he drove the boat fairly close to the river in an old farm truck. I used his boat to paddle across to retrieve mine, and an hour later, we headed downstream again. The farmer had a lot of questions, of course, and I answered them in a somewhat deceptive manner in order to make him think I wasn’t some sort of greenhorn, and then I thanked him and told him my name was Joe Smith. He said there was a fellow who wrote a newspaper column who looked a lot like me, and I said I had been told that before.  My uncle accepted full blame. He said he should have never left me in charge of the boat!

Let me remind readers of this column that there are other stories and columns I write each week which you can read on my website, larrydablemontoutdoors, via computer.  I am posting one this week about a father with three children. They need help. They are located in north Arkansas and I can’t tell their story in newspapers.  Please go to that computer spot and read about them. 

The outdoorsman’s swap meet at the Noble Hills church a few miles north of Springfield on Hwy 13, will be Saturday, March 9.  If you want to come and set up a table to sell old fishing and hunting and outdoor gear, call me at 417-777 5227. You can also email me at lightninridge47@gmail.com.