Posted on September 1, 2023

Stalking Ducks - Gebo's

For several years, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department worked with area farmers to provide public land for bird hunting. It was a great program and provided relatively inexpensive hunting opportunities which my friends and I often took advantage of, sometimes successfully and sometimes not so much.

One of the not-so-successful hunts stands out as both humorous and aggravating. There was a large field with a playa lake that had been designated for public hunting just south of the small town of South Plains, northeast of Plainview. A buddy, Jason, and I were driving by it one evening and noticed that it appeared to have a lot of ducks in the southeast corner of the lake. We quickly turned in to the parking area and started making plans.

While I generally am a klutz, if I have to, I can do a pretty good job of stalking, so it was decided that Jason would run around to the far side of the lake, and I would sneak up on the ducks and then flush them his way. I would probably be able to get off a few shots as they flew away, but Jason certainly would get a chance as they flew towards and over him.

With the plan established, I gave Jason a head start, before I began stalking the ducks. Once he got about halfway around to his spot, I began the painstaking process of sneaking up on what would already be gun shy waterfowl. I swung out wide and with the cover of some mesquites, began working. I stalked, and stalked, and stalked, and then stalked some more.

After several minutes, I finally reached my desired spot slightly south of Jason’s position across the lake. Confident that from that angle I could flush the ducks right at my friend, I took a deep breath, clicked off the safety on my own shotgun, and charged.

I burst out of the brush, ran to the edge of the water. I stopped and raised my shotgun, ready to blaze away, only to discover, much to my dismay, that the “ducks” I had so expertly stalked were not ducks at all. Rather, there was a large pile of garbage and some old tires.

As the rush of adrenaline faded and I came to grips with the fact that I had just spent 15 minutes stalking garbage, my shoulders sagged, I clicked the safety back on and slowly began the long walk back to my pickup. Jason, realizing that something was afoul (pun intended), began walking back, as well. When we both reached the pickup, I sheepishly explained that what we had been so convinced from a distance were ducks had actually been old tires. 

We had a good laugh, and I was even a little proud of the fact that I had been able to stalk to within 15-20 feet of a pile of garbage without flushing it.


By: Richard Porter

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