I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I sat in the swivel chair on the 4-by-12 platform of the sprangling,
old osage-orange tree to watch wave after wave of a duke’s mixture of waterfowl--both
ducks and Canada honkers--circle and dive beyond the hill that blocked
my view of the farm pond that I knew so well.
I knew where they were going. I also knew that I couldn’t hunt them--at
least not until I had my annual supply of venison in the freezer.
Still, I drooled as I watched them pile into the pond each morning at
8:15 a.m., and again at 4:30 p.m. They were as regular as Big Ben.
After two or three days of ogling these winged aerial circuses (not
to mention a dearth of deer action), I moved to a ladder stand at the top
of the hill that hid my view of the farm pond. The birds still came with
stunning regularity. With binoculars, I could watch as the top layer of
the pond’s water (the ducks and geese) spilled onto the pond’s banks and
walked into the surrounding picked cornfields to feed.
Then I got lucky. A nice buck tried to slip past me, and the venison
situation took a decided upturn. After that, it was only a matter of changing
barrels on the Remington 1100, finding the steel shot, and hiding in the
large bed of cattails at the shallow end of the pond (in a lawn chair,
It was the best of all worlds, yet it happens every year in Hoosierland
for those who avail themselves of the luxury of mixing and matching the
outdoor pleasures that combine with waterfowl like bacon and eggs.
In short, this experience from yesteryear is another way of saying that
the firearms deer season remains open through Sunday (Nov. 27), and the
seasons for waterfowl hunting (ducks and geese) opens lengthy runs
Friday (Nov. 25). That translates into three days of deer/duck hunting
The waterfowl season of the state’s North
Zone (roughly the northern third of the state) opened Oct. 22 and will
continue through Dec. 17. The seasons of the South Zone (roughly the central
two-thirds of the state) will continue through Jan. 20 for ducks, Jan.
30 for geese), and the Ohio River Zone waterfowl seasons will open on Thanksgiving
Day and continue through Jan. 20 for ducks, ands Jan. 30 for geese. The
Ohio River Zone is a thin strip along the Indiana shore of the Ohio River.
Although our weather of the last month or so has kept the number of
migrating ducks and geese at modest levels, it has helped keep some wood
ducks here longer than usual. This, of course, translates into the fact
that some woodies still will be available for jump shooting on smaller
rivers and streams. Lower air temperatures could push more of the woodies
out of the state because this species does not like below freezing temperatures.
The weather also has helped to make the Monroe Reservoir waterfowl hunting
picture somewhat brighter. A month ago, reservoir officials feared a drawdown
for construction work would curtail waterfowling some in the second part
of the split seasons. But Monroe’s Stillwater Marsh and other man-made
marshlands of the North Fork area are flooded now and the hunting should
be good if cooler air temperatures push more birds into the central part
of the state.
On five days of the South Zone season, the first 10 blind selections
at Monroe will be reserved, but even on these days there will be 10 to
12 blinds available for walk-on hunters.
Monroe has a calendar available to help potential hunters decide when
they should make the trip with waterfowling in mind. It is available by
calling the Monroe Reservoir office (812-837-9546, not a toll-free call).
Rex Watters, Monroe wildlife biologist, suggests that those planning hunts
at Monroe this year should call the Monroe office before they go to hunt.