A HUNT TO REMEMBER It was a cool fall morning at the Drakes Nest on November 29th when Tim flipped on the lights at 5 a.m. and announced ‘its eleven degrees outside, dress warm.” The four eager hunters didn’t take the words lightly; including myself. I was excited; it had been awhile since I had been on the Platte, in Darr Nebraska. Being from Salt Lake City, the drive doesn’t allow me the luxury of 10 days a season to visit, hunt and rejuvenate my primal senses like many of the other hunters. I savor every moment of my time on the river. I was eager; little did I know what a day in the blind I was about to experience.           As Tim got the mule out of the garage and brought her back to life with the turn of a key, John, David, Greg and I put the final touches on our camo wardrobe, grabbed our guns and gear and headed outside.           Eleven degrees felt like eleven below as we drove toward the blind. The wind was form the northwest, perfect for a day of water fowling. I don’t know how he does it; 74 straight days in the duck blind would do me in, but before we were even up, Tim had been down to the blind and broke up the ice, set up all the decoys and they looked damn good. We were ready! With nine minutes till shooting light, we settled in the blind, loaded the guns and then the best and worst part began; we waited.           It didn’t take long, the storm from the northwest had done its job, the ducks were coming. Three birds came from the south, out of nowhere (I learned later it was Canada) and we fired away! I know at least nine shots were sent their way and not a feather was touched. All I could think was that really sucked!           As I sat there rationalizing all the mechanical reasons that caused me to miss the first three birds, I looked to the southeast and noticed what looked like a swarm of starlings out past the tree line. As the swarm got closer, I began to think if those were in fact smaller birds at that distance, I wouldn’t be able to see them. So I announced “Ducks! A lot of them at 5, damn I mean 11, hell south east over the trees, coming this way!” (Don’t ask about the numbering system, just don’t.) And they kept coming, it seemed the flock had made a decision miles away that they wanted the little place on the Platte known as The Drakes Nest as their own.           Without so much as a flutter, they cupped up and dropped in and I am not talking about the first 10 to 20 birds as usually happens, I mean all of them 500 plus mallards stretched across the southern sky, feet out and committed from east to west 200 yards wide. I had never seen such a thing. The sky went black with ducks. There were birds at 30 feet when the first shots rang out; I have to admit I still didn’t have my gun shouldered and my mouth was wide open when the first duck fell. What shocked me was they kept coming. Funny thoughts go through your mind in the moments before the trigger is pulled. I was wondering if these were crazy ducks when I managed to touch a pair before the flock headed out.           Needless to say, Jack was pumped! He shot out of the box like a cannon had fired him. He went to work and in a short order we had gone form a goose egg of ducks (remember those three we missed) to nine mallards in the box. Now I don’t know who shot suzies, when there were a billion drakes to shoot at, but believe it or not, when there are that many birds in the air it is hard to see individuals, so hell, maybe it was me!           What I do know after 25 minutes in the blind that Wednesday morning, was I had experienced something that I had never even heard of let alone hunted in before. More ducks and even geese dropped to our guns that day, but nothing compared to the flock of 500 that wanted to make the Drakes Nest their own. It was truly a hunt to remember. Thanks - Don
Drakes Nest Hunting Club - Tim Root, Proprietor  42610 Drive 755 - Lexington, NE
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