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Wags And The Dead Duck…The Surprise Quack.

Story ID:8215
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Dillon Montana USA
Year:2012
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Wags And The Dead Duck…The Surprise Quack.
By Chuck Dishno

When I was about 15 in my hometown of Bly, Oregon I lived for duck season. It was a 70 day season and I rarely missed a day. Bly was located in the heart of the Sprague River Valley and with the many grain fields around it was a natural for ducks and geese to stop there on their migratory flight.

I could walk out from my house and in 15 minutes be waiting for the morning or afternoon “fly-by”. I usually had my faithful dog, Wags with me and even though he wasn’t a retriever, he loved the outing and wasn’t afraid of the shotgun blast.

When my Pop returned for the winter from his logging job in California, he and I would spend many enjoyable days hunting those birds.

Bly was located a few miles from the boundary of the Klamath Indian Reservation where white man wasn’t allowed to hunt. On the reservation there were many hot springs that would attract the fowl for the night since the water was warm, but in the early morning or late evening they would come and go from the grain fields to warm their bottoms in the hot springs. These were wily old birds and knew to fly high enough to be out of range of those old 12 gauge shotguns.

There was one place though that we found where the ranchers fence went up a hill and up against the reservation boundary. Pop, Wags and I would sit at the top of the hill and wait for the birds to fly over where they would be low enough to get in a few shots and drop a couple of Mallards or Canadian Honkers.

One balmy afternoon, we were sitting in our usual spot eating Velveeta cheese sandwiches and hoping the birds would fly our way. We had already shot a couple of Mallards and they were laying on the ground in front of us as we rested against a couple of fence posts. Wags was asleep in the classic dog fashion with his head stretched out one way and his back legs stretched out behind. Right in front of him was one of those ducks. Wags opened his eyes and stared right into the ducks eyes. Apparently he didn’t like what he saw and carefully raised up and began to scoop dirt over the ducks head with his nose. When he had it covered he lay back down and resumed his sleep.

Wags went into a deep doggie sleep and began to snore when I grabbed the duck’s back legs and gave them a twist while making a loud quacking sound with my mouth. When I did, the ducks head popped out and stared right into Wag’s eyes. Wags immediately woke up and took off down the hill on a dead run, apparently thinking that duck had come to life. The last thing we saw of him, he tearing across the field heading for home.

Pop and I really got a kick out of his antics and since it was getting late and the birds apparently weren’t coming, we decided to head home. When we got there and drive up into the yard, there was Wags sitting on the porch with his upper lip curled up slightly giving us his famous “doggie grin”. I think he was ashamed of being so chicken and running away, leaving us with that wild bird that had suddenly come back to life. He wouldn’t even come near us as we picked and cleaned the day’s booty.

I hope to catch up with Wags someday in that great beyond and ask him what he was dreaming about when that dratted duck suddenly came to life. Perhaps it was about one of the lady dogs he was dating the night before. After all, lady Bly dogs are beautiful and worth fighting over.