The lake had dropped about 5 inches since early October (early season) and it was a very hard leg sucking, mud traverse to my blind area. I was surprised about the water level as it has been raining - but this is a man- made reservoir, so who knows? I put my decoys out from my kayak this time, and I immediately noticed after my mud slog, that one was drifting away. I decided to get the errant decoy later from my kayak. I saw cormorants, herons, and thankfully no other humans. A group of gees flew very high over me but behind over the thick marshy woods so there was no way to recover a shot goose. It slowly stopped raining and warmed up a bit.
View from my makeshift blind - great concealment but no birds. Mud is very difficult to traverse.
After about an 1:30 in my makeshift blind, and nothing I decided to scout other areas of the lake. While trying to get my kayak in area deep enough to launch I became very stuck and my shotgun fell over board as I stabilized my self with the kayak. I clip a safety strap I made on my shotgun every time I stow it, so it was dragging along in about six inches of water but completely covered in mud. I always remove the round from the chamber before stowing and ensure the safety is on. I didn’t really know what to do, but to unload it and wash it off in the water, and scrap it out with leaves. Once it cycled again (but sounding really gritty) I loaded and shoved off.
I traversed an large open area with tons of birds - but mostly seagulls, kingfishers and cormorants. This area was very shallow and I was barely able to traverse it, with my very overloaded Kayak. I noticed 2 skeins of Canada geese flying very high in formation. Goose season generally runs concurrent with duck seasons in Ohio, depending on the region. I had only brought 2-2/3 steel shot #2 shells. I don’t have a goose call, but I will be getting one. The geese were flying around in formation and sure enough the began to fly over where I was. I had a hard time managing keeping the kayak from spinning, aiming and firing the shotgun at the lead goose. When the gun discharged I knew I had misjudged the lead - having never shot at a goose before. I did not feel secure enough in my rapidly spinning & rocking vessel for a rapid follow-up shot. I can see why folks much prefer a Jon boat, or very stable, fishing kayak. I need to figure it out or do a little practice firing in the kayak. I had a hard time managing my paddle & the gun. In any event, My gun had a hard time cycling due to the mud. After I fired, the 2 skeins of geese departed the area.
I continued to slog through the area to get to slightly deeper part of the lake where I could actually paddle with out dragging the keel across the mud … and then scouted a few areas that I can get to from a different boat launch (however a much further kayak in the morning.).
Hard to tell but the shotgun is caked in mud. I took this photo of this less muddy area (but less available concealment) I will try to hunt next time.
I went home, and my 3 year old watched me disassemble and clean out my shotgun. He’s pretty interested In my duck decoys - wants one for Christmas, lol. All in all, some lessons learned, and I always value my time outdoors.