The height of water levels is not ideal for jump
shooting rivers and streams of the state for waterfowl and squirrels and
other floating combination hunts, but chances are better this week than
last week, and well worth such outdoor efforts.
White Riverís west fork--neither fork for that
matter--didnít get as high as some had anticipated to create ideal conditions
for a duck-squirrel float, but it still would be worth a try.
Water levels are not critical for squirrels (Mr.
Bushytail figures water is water, life goes on), but high water--even water
at flood stage creates ideal conditions for getting close to ducks because
they often spend much time during daylight hours in inundated brush and
weeds of high banks, oblivious of brush and camouflaged boats (carrying
hunters) that come down the river.
If you have never sat the seat of a boat with
a "smoke pole" in your hands while hundreds--even thousands--of waterfowl
jump into frantic flight, one of the outdoors premier events has eluded
But I must say--here and now--that enjoying this
facet of nature entails certain inherent risks of said high water. A small
boat, for example, should never be overloaded not to mention dozens of
other dangers of high and swift water that start with a good floatation
device that will keep a boater above water if he spills. Be careful. It
is dangerous to float; loaded guns compound the safety factor.
Adam Phelps, waterfowl biologist for he Division
of Fish and Wildlife, says a good flight of birds hit the southern part
of the state last Friday as a result of the recent weather. They seem to
be well distributed, he said, adding that the hunting has been good at
Monroe Reservoir and the Stillwater Marsh complex (daily bags have been
ranging above 40 birds).
Glenn McCormick, manager, says there is some
ice up there in the northwestern part of the state, but he says they still
host some 5,000 birds at Kankakee State Fish and Wildlife Area.
So basically there are some ducks almost everywhere
in the state.
The thing that you should remember about doing
a camouflage job on a boat--or building a blind on shore or in shallow
water, is that you merely want to break the lines of the hunters. It is
not important to build a castle. I built such a blind one time years ago
when I was preparing for some wood duck gunning.
It was on a big bend in the Muscatatuck River.
The woodies were using the bend like crazy, and the late Jack Cain, one
of my mentors, and I figured limits for the pot were assured.
There was only one problem. Our castle of logs
and brush were just too imposing--the ducks shunned the bend for some time
like the plague.
Another time we were tummy stalking a bunch of
woodies when Jack rolled over on his side, and jotted on a piece of grocery
sack that we would rise and shoot our limits. When the smoke had cleared,
there wasnít a feather on the water.
Later in the afternoon we would do an instant
replay of the stalk, but this time his scribbled message read that we would
rise and shoot like idiots.