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A blast from the past
Marsh Musings

I’m not sure about our weather, birds, or critters. I was visiting with Brian about the number of pheasant hunters and birds. Fewer present in both categories was his response. Here is a picture of the birds we got in 2009. Seems like there were more of both at that time. I actually haven’t chased a pheasant yet. I have managed to tip over in the marsh chasing snipe. My 410 doesn’t seem as efficient as it used to. The 20 gauge has gotten heavier. Knee high boots really get heavy when they are full of water. There are lots of snipe right now, and they really are delicious!

There have been some big deer harvested already this year with bows and arrows. A couple of my favorite strong young me have taken nice bucks with a long bow. It’s becoming a lost art. I shot a cross bow at a target last week and couldn’t pull the bolts out of the target. Apparently there is a special target to use with those devices. I’m sure it will be a pass through on a deer. If it weren’t for the cranking handle I would never get the beast cocked. It’s not that long until rifle season.

I miss my Labradors. Here is a couple of pictures of my hero dogs when they were prime. There are several new dogs in my circle of friends so I get plenty of exposure. Still seems odd to not have one sleeping by the bed.

There have been a lot more canvasback ducks this year. I have seen more in the bags than I can recall. They should all be down by now. Duane, my buddy in Saskatchewan, says there are no ducks or geese left up there. Of course, it is already below zero a lot so the water is frozen. That makes ducks leave fast. The Covid has him trapped up there and we miss him down here. I hope this passes sooner than later.

My friends from Ohio will be here in a week or so. They have been coming for lots of years and they definitely add a lot of confusion, energy and joy to our lives for the week or 10 days they are here. They run Chesapeake retrievers and it is fun to watch the decisions the dogs make about who is in charge of what. Lots of energy and ideas in those beautiful dogs. Lots of great memories with these guys. They hunt upland game at Quivira and always seem to come home with game. Being stout and eager helps them a lot. They seem to thrive in foul weather.

Snow geese are everywhere. I wonder if their numbers are increasing. It seems to me that they are. They haven’t started working the milo fields where we hunt. The blackbirds sure are! I can remember when Senator Roberts got a big chunk of money for blackbird control in Kansas. Doesn’t seem to have worked very well. I always wondered who got what and what they did to “control” black birds. Another government mystery.

The deer rut is winding down, the geese are settling in Pool 5 where we can’t go, and the ducks are wearing wrist watches to fly just before shooting time. The mood is a bit tense with this Covid situation but it is what it is. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone – seems like we still have an abundance of blessings and live in the best place! Christmas is just around the corner!


Doctor Dan Witt is a retired physician and nature enthusiast.