LATE SEASON DUCK SHOOT

----- Original Message -----From: Wyatt Uhlein

To: Porter Al ; Gregor, David ; Couch Billy

Sent: Saturday, December 15, 2007 4:22 PM

Subject: Late Season Shoot

You should have been there!

It was like the olden days. Clouds of Broadbills high in the sky working back and forth  over Fox. Tom, Jim and Jim could not believe their eyes. I must say I was just as excited and thrilled by the sight as I was over 60 years ago when I first witnessed  the same  spectacle from the same Foot blind in Basin Harbor.

Also, reminiscent of our  past December shoots was the ever unpredictable weather and getting to and from the island in conditions that only a somewhat addled 80 year old would undertake.  I must admit that I almost didn't go; fortunately, my passion for late season duck hunting  easily overrode any semblance of reason or common sense I still might retain.

The deciding factor was the following  exchange of enthusiastic e-mails.

It was madness, sheer madness. Blow wind blow..crack your cheeks. Weather be damned!

E-mail from Jim Smith 12/4

Here's my thoughts for what they're worth:
1) We're going even if we have to swim...I'll just have to get some swimmies at WalMart on the way up 2) I may have to shoot a big buck 3) I believe we'll see huge flights of broadbills - it will be our best shoot ever (even rivaling Wyatt's "old days") - I want a return on my investment for the decoys we bought last year! 4) If I shoot one (broadbill) I'm getting it mounted - Jim C can mount whatever he wants 5) the simplest plan might be to get Wyatt to convince Gregger to let us take his boat over 6) Jim, Jim & Tom will pay for getting Greg's boat set up for the trip over and then to re-winterize it (i.e. re-wrap, etc.) What could all that cost - $500? - a steal if it helps us get our hunt in 7) Martins only has to drop Greg's boat on his or another trailer - take them (Martins) out of the equation-we'll get them a nurse if they cooperate - preferably one with venereal disease 8) once the boat's on a trailer we'll take full responsibility - not Martins - for finding a launch sight and to get over to Grenadier 9) We'll get the caretaker couple (who met us when we came back in last year) to help us shuttle car(s) and pick us up wherever we land back on the mainland on Sunday - we'll throw them a few bucks for their trouble/help - they can pre-scout some landing points if Martins is still frozen in -- Ii bet the ice breaks up though with a little wind and warmer (mid-30's) temps 10) once we get there we'll have the extra boat and engine as back up to get back to the mainland on Sunday 11) If Gregger's boat doesn't make sense we'll make the same arrangement with anyone else with a reasonably dependable boat - Greg's boat should be a breeze to get over in - we just need a little help from Martins - hell - the weather will be nice enough we can probably get Gregger to agree to come out - we'll pick him up in his own boat - no worries! just like theh old days - he'd love it!!!!! 12) If we can get this figured out (with Greg/Martins) then maybe we go up tomorrow afternoon and stay on the mainland - have dinner and a few drinks and get over to Grenadier early Thursday for a big hunt.
We should do this...Jim Crane's come a long way - Wyatt's ready for hanging with the boys and the weather should be perfect for ducks yet reasonably benign to get over and back and not freeze our asses off....remember - we're the boys - we have a reputation to uphold - are you in?
Smitty

-----Original Message----- From: Wyatt Uhlein <uhlein@optonline.net> To: Crane Jim <jcrane11@hotmail.com>; Smith, Jim <jsmith3737@aol.com>; Lantz Tom <tlantz@segmentpromotions.com> Sent: Tue, 4 Dec 2007 5:22 pm Subject: Fw: Late Season ShootWhere there is a will......................

Wyatt

----- Original Message -----From: Graham Atkinson

To: 'Wyatt Uhlein'

Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 3:31 PM

Subject: RE: Late Season Shoot

I am in the same situation. I will keep you informed.

S. Graham Atkinson HR Staffing Solutions, Inc.
Phone 315-449-0500 Fax 315-449-4965 SGA@HRSSInc.com www.HRSSInc.com

From: Wyatt Uhlein [mailto:uhlein@optonline.net]
Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 3:26 PM To: Atkinson, Graham Subject: Late Season Shoot

Graham:

Got any ideas as to how we might get out to Grenadier for a shoot?

We would have to put a boat in at Point in Mud Creek as it is iced in around dock. I have done this in past with your dad and daughters Gay and Anne (ages 12 & 13)

Our small aluminum boats are on Island . To be safe, we would need two. I have two small (9-15 HP) outboards.

Any ideas?

Wyatt

Reading these e-mails again, makes me laugh...now that we are home safe and sound.

How could I refuse such enthusiasm. Bad habits run deep.

We drove up from Connecticut in two cars and spent the night in an Econolodge just outside Watertown;( $60 for two which included a continental breakfast. Not bad.)

We were up at 6:30 AM and drove to Jack & Janet Carroll's house which, as you know, is on the Lake shore just opposite Grenadier. As we drove down the dirt road to Jack's house, dawn was just breaking and the  waves (driven by a 10-15 mph Southwest wind ) could be plainly seen breaking ominously on the shore just a few yards in front of the house.

We all changed into our hunting gear in Jack & Janet's house and stepped outside into the cold biting wind. One look at  Jack's neighbor's 16' aluminum boat which was to be our transportation across and I knew there was no way four of us with a dog and all our gear could ever safely get  to Grenadier  in one boat. It was decided that Tom, Jim and Smitty would launch the boat in the surf in front of Jack's house and go across with an extra motor 9 HP and come back in  two  other boats we had on the Island.

Just take a look at the  boats we entrusted our lives to. However, I had done this several times 60 years ago so why not now!! After all, we did have life preservers.

 

So off the boys went with the "old timer " and Bullet watching safely from inside a warm house sitting in front of a wood fire with cell phone in hand to give directions if needed and call the Coast Guard if required. Jack later told me that neither the Coast Guard or Volunteer Fire Department were  equipped for such a rescue and told him that " we were on our own ".

By the time the boys (49 to 55) wrestled the boat off the trailer into the surf, paddled out into deeper water and got the motor down and running it was 9 AM.  I anxiously watched them slowly work their way through the breaking waves toward Grenadier  heading up into the bigger waves to prevent swamping. They later told me that the boat had six inches of water over it's floor boards by the time they reached  shore on Grenadier.

 

It took the boys about 25 minutes to make the crossing. What a relief when I saw them pull the boat up on the shore just a few yards West of the moat. They then walked a few yards to where the two other aluminum boats had been turned over and left for the Winter. My cell phone rang! They could not find the drain plugs for either boat as well as the keys to an ATV in the barn to run up to our house to get my ATV. I suggested that they look carefully under each boat as the plugs may have fallen out on the ground when they turned the boats right side up. Voila' They found both plugs and dragged both boats across the snowy ground to the shore by the moat. Basin Harbor was frozen over out from the dock about thirty yards or they would have put the boats in there. The cell phone rang again!! Tom and Smitty had concluded that they should not return to the shore in front of Jack's house but to the dock by the Barrack's Club at the mouth of Mud Creek. From where they were standing on the Island it seemed closer and from the back side of the waves looked much calmer. I advised against it and told them the most treacherous part of the crossing was always the mouth of Mud Creek where the water was quite shallow and the wave were always the steepest. In the meantime, I checked out the Marina just up the shore from Jack's (Nebia's) and found it to have a decent lee and a dock behind a breakwater where we they could land and load the two boats. I advised them of this but they set out towards the Barrack's Club dock running one boat behind the other. Again, I told them on the cell phone that they should come in at Nebia's. With some concern, I watched them work their way across. About 2/3 of the way over they changed course and headed for Nebia's. Phew!! What a relief.

They arrived at Nebia's without incident and we quickly loaded up the boats and headed back to Al's dock. A few waves came over the bow but nothing serious. For the record, the most seaworthy of the boats was our old Grumman.

We arrived at Al's dock an anxiuous twenty minutes later. I must say it was a relief to be safe and sound on the Island. Now the fun would begin.

( Note the icy conditions of the dock)

 

By this time it was 1:30 PM. It had been decided that I would go the house get the ATVs in operation(Tom got his going) start a fire and get the generator going. Smitty would go to the Foot and set decoys there, Tom and Jim Crane would set out decoys on the outside  of the Lagoon under Willow trees(Lagoon was frozen out to duck blind).

I had little trouble getting a fire going in the wood stove  and was ready to head up to the Clavicle on the Bombardier with both my duck gun and 30.06 by 3:15 PM.

I always enjoy the ride up and took my time enjoying all the familiar scenary along the way: the open fields, the Lagoon in the distance, the Carbide house, the stone walls along the road. All these scenes which are so familiar to each of us

 

 

As I rode along the road  the past the Carbide House, I saw two deer run across the field to my right North towards the Lake and began to wonder if I would see the big Buck I had seen in September at the Head. I checked my rifle in the gun rack in front of me to make sure it was ready. Last year, I had been surprised when a Buck jumped out in front of me and I failed to get a shot off as he ran by not thirty yard away. Tom had had the same experience the year before.

TO BE CONTINUED