Opening Day 2018-2019
By The Ole Hedge Creeper
I wrote about my first trip in my first book the chapter is called Teal Time, the books are available from www.reallywildadventures.co.uk and all the money goes to the Young Sports Organisation called Pass It On Young Sports that I head up, the money helps a little to run the taster days and events we run on a purely voluntary basis none of us not even me earns a penny from it, but we do get paid in heart tokens when we see the smiles on the young sports faces.
I kept on nagging my Dad & Pappy to take me wildfowling, they eventually gave in and here I am almost forty seasons later still going out on the first day of the season, its the same now as it was back then, for weeks leading up to the 1st of September I cant sleep, I hear wildfowl everywhere I go, the 31st of August well I might as well just not go to bed as there is no way I can sleep, I am more excited than a normal kid on Christmas Eve, in fact truth be known I was never very exited on Christmas Eve for me my Christmas started on the 31st of August, apart from the year I got my 20b a gun of my own on Christmas morning when my dad proudly handed it to me in front of my Pappy and Uncle Dave both countrymen of the old school, this was was three days before my 11th Birthday, I still have that old gun now and use it for all my pheasant and partridge shooting she is still as sweet as the day I got her with a cleaning kit that I still have too.
For me its all about seeing the sun rise on morning flight and the same on evening flight seeing it set, all the rest is just gravy, I could not sleep counting down the hours until the alarm went off, Nik he slept like a baby but young Alec was just like me he could not sleep either with that wide eyed look of excitement and the twinkle in the eye, we passed each other in my hall way on our way to and from the loo, I said you cant sleep either then kiddo he said no and I keep hearing duck outside, I laughed and said that's the true fowler's excitement son as his ole Dad snored like an old diesel engine.
The alarm went off but we were already awake and dressed with coffee in our fits in record time, Mags my secretary and neighbor banged on the door, I think she was as excited to be out too, so we loaded up the truck with the dogs and guns and headed down to the river, Nik and Alec set up down by the old bridge I went up the far end with Mags and the dogs settled in and watched the sun come up in the East of the ancient hills, 40 seasons later and I never tire of that magnificent sunrise, mere words or pictures just don't do it justice, I sat down with a mug of tea from the flask and enjoyed the spectacle a blessing from god as I thank the Lord for being alive.
We finished morning flight and headed back for a mighty breakfast Mags cooked us all, we then headed out on some fresh cut maize were there were a few pigeon and Crows hitting in on, I thought this would be a great place to get Young Alec shooting with his new gun, Alec watched the flight lines and chose where to put the hide he set the decoys out and the floater and in the hide he and his dad went, I had a lot of paper work to sort out and emails to send so Mags and I sat in the truck and watched, Alec and Nik got in some good shooting for an hour or so then Alec flagged he was falling asleep so he went for lay down in the truck with Mags and I got in the hide with Nik using Alec new gun, a sweet little gun to that had been measured for the lad of course a little short for me so I just extended my forearm to compensate, I telle I dropped some cracking shots with that little gun.
Then I heard it the sound that makes all real wildfowlers hearts race, the sound of the wild ghost riders echoing on the wind, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as my heart raced and my breathing shallowed, the sound of wild geese coming our way, I got on my Canada goose call and laid it on thick, I turned the skein right towards Nik and Alec, I was willing for Nik to take a goose so Alec could hold it and take it home for roast goose, alas the Skein passes left to right 40 yards out from the boys, Nik never fired he did not consider it a good shot that would kill stone dead, now that's the sign of a good wildfowler not wanting to wound a bird, the boys came back Alec was jabbering like an excited ferret all about his experience with the geese/deer and hares, you know I never fired a shot wildfowling that day but to me it matters not we had such an amazing day coaching a young sport in the ways of the Countryman, as the sun set it looked like the entire sky was on fire, a truly magical evening flight.
All in all a magnificent start to the season, I took only 1 duck when I could of taken a bag full, I only needed one for my table, remember don't take more fowl than you need its the true Countryman's way, and remember get out on the first and last day of the season, as an old fowler once told me either use it or lose and he was right.
By The Ole Hedge Creeper