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  • Writer's pictureMatt Smythe

The slow side of perfect conditions

Hunting the cattail marshes of Upstate NY is one of my favorite things about late fall. I've done it almost every year since I was in my late teens growing up there. Between November 17th and December 3rd I was out in the marsh 5 days. I hunted with my wife Tracey for two of the five days. The decoys are part of my all-wood rig and were carved by the talented craftsman, Cameron Mckintyre.

There was a lot of hard walking, paddling, and hauling of gear to get to the right places. The places the birds like to feed. This was public land and it is always necessary to get far from the areas close to the access sites which have been hunted all season. Most years this would have almost guaranteed at least a dozen fat ducks, mostly mallards, but not this year. The weather was perfect (cold and windy) and the marsh I was hunting was loaded with all the wild duck foods the birds love, but the birds were not there in the numbers I usually see. I can't explain why. None the less, it was great just being out in such a big, empty, wild place in rough weather.

We did harvest a few birds most of those days, and I did a watercolor still life of a particularly handsome pair (see last pic), I've titled “Sometimes Two is Enough"

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