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Blasts from the Past: A season spent hunting with vintage gear brings back treasured memories from the author’s youth

DUCKS.ORG From the Archives – When the Model 12 spoke, the mallards fell silent. Two, anyway.

Most squalled their way up through the falling snow, hightailing it downwind. The first drake had dropped to a snap shot just as it cleared the cattails in the curve of the creek. The second one, thankfully, was late to rise, and I took him after finally remembering to shuck the empty shell and pump a new load into the chamber. That happens when you’re using a pump gun after shooting semiautos for decades. 

On command, Bella piled over the bow of my father’s 1946 Old Town square-ender and made short work of the retrieves, splashing down the sandy, shallow stream to where the birds had fallen. The happy old dog brought the drakes to the happy old hunter with her usual tail-high flair.

I hadn’t planned to jump-shoot the creek that morning. That was plan B. Plan A was laid the evening before, when I had watched a cold front bring waves of diving ducks into the area. By dark, over a thousand bluebills, ringers, and redheads were resting on the lake. I would sneak out before first light, silently set up, and then fall upon them like a heron on a frog.  [full article]

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