We humped down the levy, almost a mile, three rookie public-land walk-in hunters. The groups behind us unwillingly (or maybe unwittingly) peeled off one by one, stopping short of where the birds wanted to be. Blue-wings strafed our decoys, and at shooting light the first birds of the year were on our straps.
It was early teal season in a hot, mosquito-infested marsh. The sweat still dangled from our hat brims when the first flights rushed us. In all, our trio took six blues, a banner morning we later discovered after running into some conservation officers who must’ve watched “Zero Dark Thirty” a few too many times, ambushing us on the death march home.
“We’ve checked a lot of hunters, and you guys are the high total for the day,” one of the men in green said.
Were we lucky? Absolutely. But a good amount of research and preparation put us on those birds, too. And here’s how you can have walk-in success as well.
<h2>Find </h2>Greenhorns need someone to guide them, and I rely on a local <a href="http://www.luckyduck.com/" target="_blank">Lucky Duck</a> and <a href="http://www.dakotadecoy.com/index.htm" target="_blank">Dakota Decoy</a> pro-staffer who has long conquered the Illinois public land we chase birds on. Find a vet and ask questions like these: Where will I have the best opportunity to shoot a few birds? What are the rules of each hunting locale? Where the hell do I park my truck? <p></p> Fortunately, my pro-staff buddy is willing to share this information with me, and as a result we get on some pretty decent hunts. By that I mean we don’t always get skunked.