It’s just before sunrise as we look out at our spread of diver decoys. The whistlers, bluebills, and buffleheads bounce enticingly in the one-foot chop. Sitting in the comfortable shore blind, I tell my hunting partners that I should get the first shot. After all, I’ve just had eye surgery. They both laugh and agree that this morning I deserve the first chance. Within a few minutes, a large single bluebill sights our spread and comes directly in. At 25 yards, I shoot and miss. My hunting partner drops the bird and starts to laugh at my misfortune. Frank Dunlop walks out with his 100-pound yellow Lab, Gillie, and retrieves the bird.
I’m hunting the first week in December on the Bay of Quinte with Frank Dunlop and his wife Tanya, who own County Outfitters and guide for turkey, field mallards, Canada geese, and divers. Today we are after big water diving ducks, including redheads, bluebills, bufflehead, goldeneye, and longtails. The second bird, a single goldeneye, comes in quickly, and this time I don’t miss. The action continues throughout the morning and we wind up with a mixed bag of whistlers and scaup. Unfortunately, we have to leave by 11 am, before we have rounded out a two-man limit.