Last year, Chip VanHouden invited me down to Neosho Waterfowl Area in SE Kansas for my first trip ever there, what a great time. In the state of KS we have so very few public hunting areas that overcrowding is a very common problem for hunters. Most true waterfowlers avoid public places on weekends and holidays unless they have no other choice. So when Chip called and wanted to make the 2 hour trip down on Monday morning I jumped at the offer. Neosho is wonderfully managed and its remote location does offer it some protection from over hunting during the weekdays.
Today we arrive a little later then we wanted to, only 30 minutes before LST. Chip invited along a young man named Dexter and his just learning to duck hunt and he was a little late meeting us. Arriving at the marsh we found we where the second boat to arrive with only 30 minutes till shooting time. Pleasantly surprised we motored out to one of Chip favorite places only to find that they had planted it into corn… This kind of changed our plans and we had to take a few minutes of driving around until we found a spot where we flushed up a bunch of mallards that where roosting on the water. Hoping this spot was good, we stopped there and set up a nice spread of about 4 dozen mallard decoy with a couple of motion decoys and proceeded to stash the boat.
Right away we had mallards in the decoys before legal light causing me to hope this was going to be my first “hot” hunt of the year as mallards quacked in the water all around me. As expect it was about 10 minutes INTO LST no other ducks had landed in our spread, who didn’t see that one come? Finally the group a couple hundred yards away fired a shot in the same pool we were in a flushed a pair of mallards in the grass about 50 yards away. They headed our way and gave me a perfect crossing shot at about 20 yards. I folded the mallard in one shot but as Dakota came back to me what I thought was a drake turned out to be a hen. Crap, first Hen mallard of the year, Oh well. After that Dexter and Chip combed on another mallard that fell winged into some 4 foot tall flooded grass. Dexter didn’t think we were going to find it but all I had to do was tell Dakota “Dead Bird, hunt it up” and within 30 seconds Dakota had the injure bird in my hand. What a great start to the morning. Well shortly after that we realized we were not where the birds wanted to be. We debated on moving but decided to stick it out since no was really burning them and 3 hours later with lots of birds passed by with no shot Dexter finished the day with a Smiling Duck that proved to be a Dakota’s most challenging fetch of the day. She had to swim to the middle of some thick sumac trees and fight here way out.
All in all another great and with this only being my second time at Neosho I am slowly learning this place. Lots of mallards and great habitat.
As a side note, this was one of his first trips out into the marsh Dexter and Rule number one he needs to learn is DON’T SHOW UP 20 MINUTES LATE TO THE MEETING SPOT!! Anyway, Dexter is a good kid; he had lots of questions and did a great job at helping out once when needed. Just remember to take a someone new hunting and teach them the right way to hunt. If they learn early not to sky bust and be considerate to other then we create a whole new generation of waterfowlers that do it the right way.