BASIN HARBOR SHOOT 1958

Friday , Nov 20th , 1959 : Bill Couch invited me to come to Watertown , and then to Grenadier Island to hunt ducks . Wyatt Uhlein had purchhased the foot property on the island , and was talking about setting it up as a "duck club." This is where we would hunt . In order to get to Watertown Friday evening without leaving my office in NJ early , I had booked a flight from Newark airport to Watertown on Mohawk Airlines .

The terminal at Newark is a dinky affair , looks like an old Railway station , but the flight boarded on time . It was a trusty , old , DC 3 , no telling how many miles it had flown . As we approached Watertown the plane started to shimmy and shake , and when the landing lights came on , all I could see was millions of white snow flakes whirling by . The pilot told us to buckle up , and he pulled flaps and dropped wheels a couple of times , trying to see the runway . Lots of white knuckles until he came on the speaker , and told us he was unable to land , and we were going on to Ogdensburg , where the snow was not so heavy . So we were sent back to Watertown by taxi , and there was something like a foot of snow in Bill's driveway when I arrived .

Saturday , Nov 21stv , 1958 : Up and at 'em , with the storm over , but we put chains on the car , and drove to Pond's , where we were borrowing David Stabin's boat for the trip to the island . This is a wooden Lyman I think , with a good sized outboard on the transom , which started right up , after we cleaned the snow off. The Lake was flat calm , low clouds , and we saw several rafts of ducks , long , smudgy , black lines on the dark grey water , some off toward Dablon Point , others in the "slot" between Fox and Grenadier . We landed in Basin Harbor at the wooden dock beside the "Great House" , AKA "The Rotunda" , and carried our duffle to the detatched kitchen in back , where we would be staying . The decoys were in wicker laundry baskets in the boat house , with the tin boat , behind the sliding doors rolled open , giving us a short trip to the point , where we set out the rig , at least 60 mostly BB's , split into two bunches , with an opening directly in front of the blind , where we hoped the birds would plan on landing . The fact that several singles and pairs "Buzzed" the rig as we were still throwing out decoys inspired us to move quickly .Click to see video of shoot.

The shooting started just about as soon as we sat down in the roomy , comfortable , wooden blind . At the beginning , more small bunches of BB's , but a little later big flocks began to swing to our rig ! At one point two big flocks of BB's were circling together , and we giggled that we needed an "Air Traffic Controller "to avoid mid air collisions ! Shortly after that , a little bunch of Mallards landed into our rig , and we recovered from the surprise by jumping them , and collecting a couple of big Greenheads . About this time we began to realize that we were having "one hell of a shoot" , and we had better slow down , to " avoid an embarassement of riches" ; (Ie: grossly over the limit !) . So we headed back to the kitchen for lunch , and a little fellow from Stebbins next door , nick named "Shorty" , asked if he could just sit in the blind and watch the show while we were away . We said , "Yes" , but I think we heard a shot or two , so maybe he wasn't just watching .

The kitchen was fairly comfortable ; we had brought some coal out with us , and fired up the big range , and there were bunks along the walls .

Sunday , Nov. 22, 1958 : The weather changed , clearing from the NW , with a wind to match . We figured the wind probably cleared the slush ice out of Big Bay on Wolfe Island , plus lots of other areas down river , and the thousands of ducks that had been pushed out to the big Lake filtered back to their prefered spots , or rode the wind off to the South , their eventual destination . Thus the shooting went back to "normal" , which was still pretty damn good . It was great of my old roomie to invite me up for this shoot , and I sure hope Wyatt will ask me to join his duck club , if he does get it set up . Grenadier seems like a great place ! HAP.