I havent had much luck this early season. I didn't get drawn for any hunts at Lake Mattamuskeet, which is the most overrated hunt in North Carolina by the way. I did however get drawn for hunting at Currituck National Wildlife Refuge. I did see some ducks when I hunted yesterday, but I didn't shoot any. I was however fortunate enough to share themarsh with an good hunting buddy and a future hunting buddy. Even though she was a female, the bugs, alligators, absence of a bathroom, or the strange animal noises in the marsh didn't deter her. She didn't even complain. My only grip about the woman...she had her camp hat monogrammed.
Anyway, back to Currituck. First off, let me be clear. This is not a "dream" hunt for all you Raleigh Riff Raffers out there. But then again, the only place in the whole state that is owned by the NCWRC that I wuld recommend is the Futch Impoundment. However, that recommendation is made by everyone, and it's now an impossible draw and it's awarded to the skybusting and duckcall squealing crowd whose looking to employ their new-found "expertise" to work at a place where "there's ducks"... anyway, the place is unhuntable come youth day because of the clowns that hunt the draw dates. Managing a property is one thing, but if you don't manage it's hunters, then it's a waste of the former and an injustice to the latter.
Anyway, back to Currituck. Currituck is as historic as it gets. I'm sure the blind I was drawn for has had a blind or some semblance of one for almost 2 centuries. Some of the spartina grasses out there have seen the days when canvasbacks, redheads, and blackheads screamed over in sun-darkening numbers. I'm sure the yaupon bushes there have seen tons of corn floated by them, too. Currituck is cool for what it was, not what it is. I just want one duck. Even if it's a merganser. Amen.
The coolest part in my mind - and consider the fact that I have an almost insatiable lust for old North Carolina decoys and waterfowl history - is that I'm gonna hunt in waters that have been paddled and motored by folks like Joseph Knapp, Lee Dudley, Bob Morse, Grover Cleveland, and countless and nameless dignitaries of yesteryear. But the "important" people are less impressive than the several hundred locals that plied the waters to scratch out a very respectable living in the only way they could. They shot ducks and fed the wealthy with them. Today, the job of feeding the wealthy has also been outsourced overseas. Us American's can really get it wrong sometimes. Still, the boys got it wrong then, too.
Currituck is kinda looked at shamefully by some for all of the markethunting slaughter that transpired. Still, if it werent for the hunters that came and noticed the decline in the 20's and 30's, we might have not realized that the resource was limited, and so was the source of the resource - the prairie pothole region. I hate to think that people make the mistake of mistaking history. Waterfowl conservation didn't start in Washington DC. It started in Currituck, North Carolina and on the flats of the Susquehanna River.
I keep rambling. My hunt. So yeah, I've turned over the hunting rig to an all wood reunion of old wooden decoys with re-heads and some contemporary wooden decoys. They're cool. and now I get to put them BACK in to Currituck Sound, where most of them got there first swim a century ago. I'm excited to see those big battery redhead blocks floating out there. In fact, I look forward to lifting the five pound goliaths from the water, especially after they're saturated from the waters of Currituck Sound. I also put foundy weights on all my decoys. Foundry weight were made by the different Iron foundries along the North Carolina and Virginia border. The rust that is found on these very collectible waterfowl artifacts was established from the salinity in the Currituck Sound. I'll get to add a new coat. I'll also get to make the treacherous crossing in the cold of winter. Though, I'll have the luxury of a craft that self propels at 40 miles an hour, it'll still be incredible.
An early season update...Flights of teal are here one day and gone the next along the northern beaches on the soundside. Pintails are using the shoal grasses that are found in the northwest corner of the state. Most downeast North Carolina hunting is all wood ducks for the moment. Nash and Wilson county areas have good numbers of wood ducks, too. Unfortunately, I haven't seen good numbers of localized black ducks, though. The season expires on Saturday at sunset. I'll take off for North Dakota in two weeks. North Dakota got snow today, hopefully delivering new ducks, with more to come. Anyway, go scout.