A mallard … finally!

Mallard

It took almost two years of hunting ducks in Texas to shoot my first greenhead.

And it took the final hunt of the second year to do it. I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen.

I hunt mostly in East and Central Texas where wood ducks and teal dominated the bags early this season before gadwalls and wigeon began showing up in numbers.

On a coastal hunt, redheads and pintails were abundant for an earl-season hunt.

I even harvested my first canvasback earlier this year on a pond in McLennan County.

But Mr. Mallard had eluded me until Tuesday morning, when I snuck out of my East Dallas home and drove 30 minute south to Kaufman County. I met friend and guide Reed Foster with Cut ’em Down Outfitters.

We arrived at the pond and quickly laid out two layout blinds and about a dozen decoys. Reed likes to employ fewer and fewer decoys as the season progresses and the birds become more wary.

As shooting time approached, ducks began landing in the pond … on the exact opposite side. A quick change of plans and we abandoned the decoy spread altogether and moved our blinds to where the birds wanted to be. Layout blinds are great in this regard when hunters need to be mobile.

The move saved the hunt.

Ten minutes after legal shooting time, a lone mallard circled overhead before cupping his wings and dropping in front of us. The shot was true and the big greenhead fell close to the blind. He was a beautiful bird, with a bright green head, reddish-brown plumage on his back, bright blue wings and tail feathers that curled in three directions; A great trophy.

Reed and I ended the morning with nine ducks, but the next eight were just icing on the cake. I had finally taken a Texas mallard.

What a great way to end the season.

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