Numchucks: The Legend Ch. 07byMy Erotic Tail©
Numchucks and I hunted the weekends since work kept us away quite a bit. The planned hunts were almost always with some people wanting to go out with the famous Retriever, Numchucks. My friend Glen from Houston, who became our third leg of the tripod in our weekend outings, was rarely late. In fact he usually had to wake us up to get on the river in time for day break.
Glenn was a character all his own. I always said he should have been a comedian or radio DJ. He was always sarcastic with humor being his delivery. But a delivery driver in Houston was his occupation so weekend get away was his delight. He got to where he would wake me and then go put the boat in the water by lowering the boat slip. Loading and starting the engine to idle and make ready while I sleepily climbed aboard and towards the river we would go.
The morning treks into the jungle became routine. Glen could spot a stump as well as anyone. The "Squawking" of a crane or heron meant we were early and waking the birds. A few hunts had us racing across the river in first light trying to get set up as day broke. But for the most part we got good at making our way around the river in the morning darkness.
"Bulla Bulla," Glen would whisper and we lowered into the boats camo cover. Taking four rods and staking them around the john boat and covering it with camouflage netting. Making the boat a virtual duck blind on wheels, or afloat. Chucks would wait till the blast of the guns were sounded then shoot out his doggie hole made for his entering and exiting. The thought of a missed shot never entered his mind and rarely happened.
And as for his retrieval abilities I can only recall a select few times dove hunting that were challenging to any one that he didn't return with the game. The morning hunt would slip into a mid-afternoon run up wood duck alley. A routine that became a highlight of the days hunt. When the birds had pretty much quit flying in the morning and the day grew brighter. Then the search and find would come into play.
In our exploration we came across a creek that was used mostly for Bass fishermen and a log jam kept every out of a small creek that wound up into the woods for quite a ways. The river was high one day so the log jam was passable. Slowly creeping, paddling, drifting and entering the creeks mysterious oak and moss passageway. Then opening up slightly but still covered with arches of limbs and vines.
It was not uncommon to spook up a resting deer along the shore line. The quiet gliding boat would get with in yards of a deer before it bolted up and ran and we would be gasping for breath, "What the? Wow, LOOK." White tail flared up and snorting the deer would run off a bit then stop and look back at us with disbelief, then run off. Or the bang of the oar against the side in a miss guided draw would send flocks of ducks into the air just around the bend from us.
Wood Duck Alley, got its name for the number of Wood Ducks that found a haven along the banks of the creek gathering acorns off Newtons Branch. A quick set up and finish our limit and then a little stretch of the legs for Chucks. Glen would tape the hunts and in my opinion some of his best movies came from Wood Duck Alley. The setting was tranquil with small pools of water surrounded by woods and wildlife.
"The Dog in Action," videos were always a pleasure to watch year round. Numchucks turned out to be a ham on tape. But his performance was almost always perfect. The Trips up Wood Duck Alley almost always ensured an adventure. The heavy rains would flood the creek and change it constantly along the rolling hill side. Causing more trees to fall and block the way or jam up in a different location from storm to storm. One day we were up in the Alley when a storm came in. The heavy rains had us head for cover and wait it out. The birds flew everywhere and it was an intense down pour. Glen popped off a shot at a Wood Duck and it fell perfectly into the water.
The creek was swift by this time and rising at an alarming rate. Numchucks took to the water like a diver at a meet. The way chucks began paddling franticly told us right away that the current was faster than the surface water and the bend in the river created a whirlpool. Numchucks was relentlessly trying to head for the Duck. The Bird was drifting quickly into the rather large whirlpool, about the size of a baseball diamond.
I panicked and yelled for chucks not to get the bird and come here. But never did I plan or feel the need to train him to stop in the middle of a retrieval. He continued after the duck and both were swept into the raging whirlpool of water. Spinning around and around caught in its circular pattern. Chucks never quit, the whole time he would make a circle on each pass he would paddle closer and closer till he got the bird. Then paddled outward from the center of the pools drawing current.
I was shedding clothes and fixing to jump in when it became apparent on his current pattern he was going to get out of the dangerous center in a few more passes around. The Storm got worse as Chucks finally got free from the pull of the whirlpool and brought Glenn his duck. But the heart and soul of relentless dedication was displayed in Chucks. And the Dangers of the River showed itself every other time we went out.
Our evening hunts were usually across the flats where the sun could be seen till its last sliver of light finally disappears as were heading back from the day. The flats would offer some repetitious shooting that kept Chucks hopping from retrieve after retrieve. Glen and I would walk the marsh islands and the sky would become flooded with whistling wings over our heads. Within yards from our ears teal shot by at thirty miles an hour plus.
Sitting, facing Numchucks would allow for me to see my way and Numchuck's keen eye and slowly focussed head would let me know if one was coming behind me. He would follow with his eyes and his tail would wag. This told me he had one in sight and even which way it was coming from and going to as I readied.
The sound of a birds wings slicing the air in a tranquil setting as a lake is some great soul food. And the conversations of fixing the worlds problems from a Duck Blind is full filling in some way that's hard to explain. Slicing along the rivers winding way in the dark with a deep red sunset disappearing would always signify our journey home.