The Best Was Last

Mallards and pintail galore.  Within days of Mississippi duck season’s closure  there were lots of ducks at Willow Break.  Mississippi’s post-season Youth Day provided a solid crack at them.

Not that duck season was uneventful.  It was a great season – a record-setter for Willow Break – but weird.  In the year they started naming winter’s cold fronts, repeated clippers brought ducks but not the massive waves of ducks expected; not mallards and pintails.  Not this far south. It was the day after Christmas that I saw my first flock of shovelers, colloquially referred to as “Ramzillas” for good reason, or even the first sizeable flock of green-wings.   But where there's duck hunting, there's always hope.


"Only a Mallard"

duck hunting trip
I get it: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  But having grown up hunting in the Deep South and despite an exotic waterfowl species totaling about 100 huntable species world-wide, the splendor of decoying greenheads remains one of the most fundamental beauties in waterfowling - a heart-thumper every time. 
A couple of guests from the island-nation of Malta brought fresh perspective to things we might otherwise take for granted.  Malta, for those like me that can't place it on a map without googling, is a small island-nation situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.  Twenty-one by 14 miles in size, its population is nearly a half-million.  Some of the oldest remains of human civilization, pre-dating Stone Henge, are there.  Through time it’s been occupied by nearly everyone in that part of the world.  Land, let alone hunting property, is scarce.  Barbeque ribs, southern baked beans, fried chicken and corn on the cob, I learned, are completely non-existent.  But I’ve never met more zealous wildfowlers, more competent hunters or better shots.

Hunters and bird collectors, GetDucks.com arranged their trip from the middle of the Mediterranean Sea to the middle of the Bering Sea to hunt King Eiders.  They’re the first from their country to have hunted them.  An invitation to join us in Mississippi was quickly accepted because it’s right here in Mississippi that their most-prized species would be hunted.