The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Other Sports

October 6, 2013

An incredible day for a duck hunt

BECKLEY — I was really looking forward to this opening day. Don’t get me wrong, every hunting season opener is special — especially when you get older and realize just how fragile they can be. For sportsmen, the anticipation and planning for the opener of a particular season has caused many daydreams to come true and the year-long hard work to pay off.

This past week, I enjoyed the opening day of duck season with a friend of mine who is also cursed with the waterfowl-hunting plague. We only see each other few times a year but we have managed to keep a date on both of our calendars for several years marked with the words, “Wood Duck Hunt.”  That day has quickly become one of my favorite openers of the year.

Although we had planned on a scouting and maintenance day before the season opened, our schedules of work and life never released enough time for the pre-season chores.  Without revamping our blind or scouting the swamp in search of perhaps a better location, we had no choice but to hunt the blind as we left it a little over 350 days ago.  I was worried that perhaps nature had engulfed it and we would be forced to go it alone without the comforts a blind and a couple of ratty chairs offer.

We stepped out of the truck into the cool blackness of the pre-dawn hours. When the dome lights of the truck dimmed, they revealed a dark sky full of bright autumn stars. With no clouds anywhere to be found in the sky, we hurriedly gathered our gear and headed towards the swamp knowing that sunlight would soon be filtering through the trees.   

We clumsily made our way through a patch of woods towards the wetland. Walking in the woods donning chest waders, with a heavy bag of decoys slung over one shoulder and a shotgun case slung over the other, is no easy task. By no means is it quiet either. Our idea of getting to the duck blind early enough to let things calm down seemed to make much more sense as we huffed and puffed the damp swamp air into our hard-working lungs.   

After searching several places we thought the blind should be, our flashlights finally revealed a waterlogged and muddy plywood platform surrounded by tired old sticks. It wasn’t pretty, but it was better than standing in waist-deep water by a long shot. As my friend sloshed around in the muck slinging out plastic duck decoys, I scurried to find some fresh greenery to decorate our new home for the special occasion.

With decoys placed strategically out in front of the blind ensuring a nifty little pothole for the ducks to land, we made our way to our hideout among the reeds and the bushes to sit quietly until sunrise.  There’s something about the sunrise of an opening day — the long hours of anticipation for the moment to finally arrive and the feeling like it was only yesterday since you saw last year’s opening day sunrise.  It’s in that brief moment in time just before the sky gives up the darkness and the sun’s rays begin to stir the sleeping world, my thoughts tend to flow towards reflections of time gone by.  

A high-sounding “jeeeeee,” followed by several “oo-eek” calls made by wood ducks down the creek, startled me back to the task at hand. A pair of fast-flying woodies darted into the scene from left to right, and with the swing of my shotgun and the slap of the trigger, my first duck of the season splashed into the misty water before me.  

This past week, I watched a new day arise on the opening day of duck season and for that, I give thanks.

The first segment of the three-way split duck season in West Virginia is open Oct. 1-Oct. 12.

Text Only
Other Sports
  • RH 080114saints1.jpg Intensity reaches new level at Saints training camp

    Following their first day off from training camp on Wednesday, the New Orleans Saints reported to their new $30 million practice facility at The Greenbrier Thursday full of energy and with an edge that hadn’t been seen through the first five practices.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • New Orleans practices bring back memories for Haas

    Bob Haas stood back away from the field Thursday, watching the action at the New Orleans Saints Greenbrier training camp intently but avoiding getting too close.

    August 1, 2014

  • West Virginia beats Danville Dans 5-1

    The West Virginia Miners may have their backs against the wall, but they aren’t throwing in the towel yet.

    July 31, 2014

  • Passions are high for the Big Four

    When it comes to the English Premier League, there are clubs and there are kings. 


    July 31, 2014

  • YMCA fall soccer registration underway
    Fall is just around the corner and registration is now open for youth soccer at the YMCA of Southern West Virginia.

    July 31, 2014

  • UBB memorial race Saturday in Princeton

    Princeton Speedway will host the 4th Annual Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial Race Saturday at 7 p.m. 

    July 31, 2014

  • Johnnie Ferri tourney set this weekend

    The 12th annual Johnnie Ferri Softball Tournament will be held Saturday, Aug. 2 and Sunday, Aug. 3 at Collins Park.

    July 31, 2014

  • bush Bush making Saints look good

    For his first four seasons, Rafael Bush was simply looking to land on a roster — any roster.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Practice, not temps, heats up for Saints
    The temperatures may have only been in the low 70s Tuesday afternoon at the Saints new practice facility at The Greenbrier, but now a third of the way into the 15 practices, it’s clear that the heat has turned up with playing time and positions on the line.

    July 30, 2014

  • Bowles has a support system
    Colin Bowles, the 14-year-old little brother of Corey, is coming into his own as a successful athlete. The younger Bowles competed last week at the U.S. Junior Amateur in The Woodlands, Texas, making the cut before bowing out in match play. Right there beside Colin, as he has been his entire life, was older brother Corey,

    July 30, 2014

Saints Training Camp

AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide