Monday, October 30, 2017

The Hawk Ate My Teal

I had one of the strangest mornings I've ever had while waterfowling.

I was in camp alone, and decided to hunt an area we call "Goose Island."  It is a patch of cattails in fairly shallow water and provides good cover plus the ease of being able to walk around to set most of the decoys.  

The morning started out well, and I was treated to this fabulous sunrise:

The ducks were flying, especially the mallards, and they really seemed to like my set.  I had a number of flocks over my decoys and presenting me with fabulous shots.  Unfortunately, I shot incredibly poorly.  Perhaps it was because I was wearing another full coat over my traditional one and messing up my sight plane, or maybe it was just a funk.  Regardless, I was ice cold.

I finally did eventually connect on a teal on a close shot, which made me feel a little more confident.  Instead of taking the boat and picking up the downed bird right away I opted to stay put for a while.  The birds were flying, and I had a good line on the teal's drift, hence I'd go pick him up later once things slowed down.

About 15 minutes later, the teal had drifted about 50 yards away from me.  As he was bobbing on the water, a hawk suddenly appeared and headed right for my bird.  "That's funny," I thought to myself, "I bet that hawk wishes he had my teal."

The hawk must have felt the same thing because he dove at my teal and extended his talons.  "No way he's picking that up!" I thought.


The hawk did get airborne, flew about 20 yards, then landed on a patch of floating bog and proceeded to make a breakfast of my teal.

Here's a photo of him helping himself to my bird:

In all of my years of hunting and all of my time on the water, I've never seen anything like it.

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