The Sky is the Limit
by Dick Scorzafara
Reprinted out of "Wildfowl Magazine"

   Although each day's hunting was fun and action packed, it was our last hunt of the trip, the one for Redheads out in the bay, that I want to share with you. With 80 percent of the world's Redheads gathering along the vast network of shallow bays, islands, and wetlands along the Gulf Coast of Texas, we were in for an unforgettable treat.

   We set up on a point overlooking many small islands. There were a couple of Redhead and  Bluebill Dekes setup on each side of the point. We settled in our shore line blind for the afternoon. I sat on the far left so Mariah could sit at my side and mark any fallen birds through the blind. It was very slow for the first hour and a half and then the explosion occurred. In the distance we noticed  birds lifting off the water making the sky black. It looked like a twister forming. Thousands of birds were there and they were all Redheads - it was on of those wonderful experiences where you had to be there to really appreciate it because it is impossible to describe. The ducks never came close enough for us to get a shot but just seeing that many Redheads together makes a lasting memory of that day on the coastal marsh.

   Within a few minutes more Redheads were lifting off a little marsh to our left and were flying our way in squadrons of 10 to 100. My eyes were round with astonishment at the sight of Redheads beating their wings across the rising sun - a sight I may never see again.

   A flight of a dozen or so Redheads lifted off the marsh, led by a sparkling drake in his vibrant glory. He got sucked into our spread and brought his trusting followers. Their wings cupped and their legs were straight as if pulling a brake lever. We had tricked them and our guns were up. Everyone picked out a drake and as the guns roared, Kent Impact peppered the sky. Four drakes came tumbling into the water reflecting the fading sunset. My Lab Mariah, had marked all four, and sat trembling with anticipation at my side. She was just barely able to wait for the command to fetch-up those ducks. She did  a great job on that multiple retrieve and our group will not soon, if ever, forget that evening's hunt. We limited out on Redheads in a very short time and spent the remainder of the light, watching them overhead. We saw literally thousands of Redhead that day.

   Those honking calls and quacking sounds meant to attract and communicate with their own kind seem to touch a nerve within waterfowl hunters as well. The camaraderie of the fellow hunters and the companionship and partnership of a good retriever are invaluable. The pleasure of the hunt and the feeling of being outdoors experiencing nature at its best, bring about a sense of accomplishment and contentment few things can.

   All of these things come together to form a special spirit -  something we all come to know as the essence of water-fowling.

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