Well yesterday was the first day of duck hunting and as I now have been adopted by a gun dog it was time to go duck hunting. I love water, boats and hunting ducks but always felt you needed a good gun dog if you were chasing ducks. Well off we went at first light with the new Argo cat (not new, but new to me) no problem going down the muddy bank into the river. Kobe dived in for a swim, so as soon as he was aboard I was soaking wet. Turned the engine off, switched on the trolling motor just enought throttle to get steerage, going with the current. Dead calm, The mist was gently rising, spotted the first ducks, cut the motor, loaded the 870 drifted in and as the ducks lifted off I opened fire, missed with my first rd and then dropped one. Life was good, this was the pattern for the morning.
First problem was after 1 1/2 hours I realized that my batteries were fading, the two new large tractor batters were fading fast, I had best save what power was left for retrieving ducks if need be. Question: Would deep cycle marine batteries do better? I have no experance with them. No problem I had all day, the sun was coming up, I wish I had packed a flask of coffee. Kobe was all smiles as he snuggled his wet shoulder against my knee, I pulled out the paddle and just made the occasional stroke to keep us in the main channel. Now it was getting hot, I wish I was wearing shorts but I had never gone duck hunting in shorts.
Second problem: this was serious and I am looking for imput please. My Argo cat couldn't climb out of the river, with no outboard motor she just wouldn,t get a grip on the bank. I passed the best spot and my failing batteries would not keep me going against the current. Oh, I also forgot the mention by this time I was bailing every 20 mins, good job I threw in a pail.
The irony of all of this is that I was never more than 1000 m from my house but completely out of sight. Nearly capsized retrieving a duck as we got tangled in a dead fall, the trolling motor was just about dead and the wheels really didn't cut it against the current.
Found another landing spot, time to try plan B, I jumped ashore with a rope. I disappearing in the mud up to my knees, so much for trying out the winch, Kobe was struggling in the mud! I lost my boots, eventually I dug them out, lept on board, bailed like crazy, got Kobe on board and we drifted away.
The situation was not looking good, Kobe was enjoying himself but now at 1.30 pm I knew Pat would be getting concerned.
My last chance was on the outside of a bend, dam it the current would be strong but I had to get ashore here witha line. I put on my life jacket, not a good sign I thought. Jumped ashore, the Argo got caught in a submerged tree, I couldn't get up the steep bank, Kobe decided to help and got caught in the line, hell, could nothing go right. Eventually I got the line round a large tree, got Kobe untangled and got the nose of the Argo on the bank. I now sank into the mud up to my knees and lost my rubber boots again, to bad. I got the winch cable out round a tree and sucked her out of the river, only just in time, as I winched her up the bank the water inside her was almost ready to run out the back. Some where in there was a fleece, a coffee mug, some shells, some wrenches, a dog leash and my 870. I got to the top of the bank, I was exhausted, what a "fun day" now I would have to walk 2 miles home to get the chain saw so I could reach the road.
Question for any Argo Cat owners what are the best tyres for getting out of deep water up a muddy river bank? And yes I think Iwill purchase a bilge pump.
As I write this we are looking at the bones of two duck, one of the best suppers ever!
I hope you all had as much fun this week end?