Well, they can’t all be winners. I was contemplating that very notion around 5 p.m. on the third day of the hunt. And then we won.
I was burrowed deep in my layout, doing my best to avoid the 30 mph South Dakota gusts that ripped across the prairie and tore through the seams of the blind. Why we had even returned to the field where a measly 10 birds had been taken in the morning can only be answered with a “why not?” We were here, and we were hunting. End of story.
The call of “Pair. High. 12 o’clock,” brought everyone's eyes to the sky. The pair of snows on a sea of blue sky was an awesome sight, and had they not have been so high, I might have reached for my gun right then and there. Instead I watched with muddled enthusiasm, accepting their inevitable passing out of range, when their halted wingbeats signaled a oh-so-slight chance.
Would they drop?
The term “rapid descent” comes to mind.
They came down fast, but alas, they overshot our position. As they glided lower, I twisted my head in an effort to work out their landing. But they didn’t commit just yet. The same South Dakota wind I had been cursing was about to do us a huge favor. It blew those two bird back into the 12 o’clock position at a mere 15 yards. Hunters rose, guns barked, and two birds fell.
On his 12th and final retrieve of the day, Tank brought us a back a shiny band.
It’s late now. We’ve got the plans for tomorrow; headed back to the pit blind were we shot the big group yesterday. Scouting reports are hot, thousands of birds to the north. We are predicting another slam, and with only two days left of our adventure, it sure would be nice.