Wisdom From The Woods (10/23/2014)

Oct 31, 2014

It won’t be long before big hunting seasons arrive in Missouri. Waterfowl hunting will begin October 25-26 with the youth hunt. The regular season in the Middle Zone which encompasses Lake Wappapello, Duck Creek, and Otter Slough and the rest of the area around these locations begins November 1 continuing through December 30.

Be sure to check your Waterfowl Hunting Digest you should get when you purchase your license. If you do not have a Waterfowl pamphlet, there is no charge and you can pick one up anywhere they sell hunting or fishing permits.

I was reminded the other afternoon that the Missouri Fish Gigging season is open. I saw a boat rigged with lights heading out Highway 60 toward the “hot spot,” Current River.

I have never gigged fish and at my age probably never will. I did get a taste of fried suckers at Grubbs Hollow a few years ago. It was about as cold as it could be on a late October night and as Charles Grubb had set this fish-fry up well in advance, my wife and I traveled to the location. When we got there they had a giant bonfire going and you didn’t need to stand very close to the fire to stay warm.

A boat was on the river trying for some suckers so we could clean and fry them but they came in empty handed. It didn’t matter as they had plenty ready to fry. I had visualized eating scores of fish bones but the food was good and I almost never found a bone in the mouthfuls that I had.

The fish gigging didn’t turn out good but the fellowship was great. I can still remember that night as it is one of the highlights I enjoyed with good company on the banks of the Current River in late October.

My wife has been assisting me with the pictures that are appearing with the column and asked me, “What about this one?” as she handed me a photo of Herb Piper and me with a bag limit of mallard ducks.

When I went to work at the DAR, Piper was just one of the crew, as Hinkle Wilson was foreman. After Wilson suffered some health problems and retired, Piper was named foreman. I knew he was a fishing addict but little did I realize he liked duck hunting. We even went squirrel hunting once, but he found out his hearing impairment kept him from having any luck.

On this particular duck hunt, we both worked until we got the paper out at noon. Everything was ready. All we had to do was put the outboard motor on the Feathercraft boat and crank it up; less than 10 minutes from Chaonia Landing we were in the blind and waiting.

We didn’t have long to wait as the ducks were flying and ready to decoy. We got a couple bunches to work the decoys and each of us got a pair of mallards from each flock. We were hunting in what was called the millet field. It was called that because the Corps of Engineers planted millet each year and it really did attract the ducks.

Herb Piper and Paul Woods with a bag limit of mallard ducks

Herb Piper and Paul Woods with a bag limit of mallard ducks

Herb was an excellent caller after I gave the highball to get their attention. One group came past us and probably got almost half a mile away and I kept calling and finally they turned around to get a closer look. It took about 30 minutes working them before they decided we were the real deal and came within range.

We had been in the blind for less than two hours and Herb looked at his watch and announced he could get home in time for his son’s football practice; which we did.

I am proud to announce that on Halloween my wife and I will celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary. We met at a Halloween party at church in 1952, and married on Halloween 1954.

I don’t tell her as often as I should how much I love her, but I do. Our kids, Mike and Paula usually throw a party for us but so far I haven’t gotten wind of anything for this year.

We spent our 25th anniversary at Niagara Falls following the tragic accident that took our son Doug (Mud Duck) Woods’ life. We miss him every day.

It is amazing the amount of his friends that come up and ask us from time to time, “Are you Mud Duck’s parents?” They tell us something good he had done for them. It makes us proud we raised him as we did.