Yakety Yak by Randy Rowley


On a cool and overcast Saturday in mid-January, three friends and I headed to the marsh between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas for a weekend of duck hunting.  We made it to our launch point at Wilson’s Cut a little after sunrise.

The blasts of several shotguns going off in the distance greeted us as we unloaded the kayaks (yaks) from Greg Souther’s trailer.  Mark Dillow brought two yaks – one for himself and one for Kevin Wall, Greg brought one, and I used one that Mark rented one for me at a Corpus Christi yak shop on our way down.

Yaks have two primary advantages over boats.  They can take you places that you can’t get with other watercraft (except an air boat) and they’re quiet, so they don’t scare away game and fish.  You’ll commune with God’s creation much more in a yak or a canoe and they’re more stable and lower to the water than a canoe.  Their major disadvantage is they don’t hold much.

We put our guns, fast grass, and homemade ground blinds in the yak’s storage compartments.  We then attached a bag of decoys on top of each one with bungee cords and then launched.  The first thing that I discovered is they are not easy to get into, especially when you’re 80 pounds overweight, have on sweats, neoprene waders, a heavy hunting coat, a hunting vest with two boxes of duck shot, and a life vest.  I basically straddled my yak and then just plopped down.  Fortunately the yak stayed upright.

Having some experience with canoes I thought that a yak would be a piece of cake.  Boy was I wrong!  They take a lot of getting used to, especially getting them to go straight.  Just as I was starting to get the hang of it we exited Wilson’s Cut and went into a shallow area where the water was only about 6? deep.  Now instead of paddling we used our paddles as push sticks.  This took a lot more exertion than just padding, which was a workout in itself.  The paddles stuck in the mud with each push and we’d then have to pull them out.  The constant pushing and pulling caused our shoulders to ache.

We headed for the far shore line.  Around 100 ducks took off when we got about 100 yards away.  We hid the yaks and set out the blinds.  Mark, Kevin, and Greg then put out the decoys.  I tried to go help, but sank to mid-calf in the muck with each step.  The exertion of pulling my stuck boot out of the muck would often stick the other one.  Compounding the problem was my feet frequently slipped of my boots when I pulled them out of the muck.  When I bought my waders I bought them 1 1/2 boot sizes too big to allow room for heavy socks.  This was a big mistake!  My friends were done by the time that I made it halfway to them.

We knew that it was going to be a good hunt because redheads started to land in the decoy (deke) spread while my friends were still putting out our dekes!  We got hid and then the redheads started to come in.  They didn’t circle and instead headed straight for the dekes.  Greg nailed the first redhead of the day and by 10:00 AM we had our limit of two redheads each.  We also saw some pintails, but only one group came within range.  We shot at them, but missed.  We decided that it wouldn’t be worthwhile to wait for more pintails or other species of ducks to come in, so we packed up and left.

Paddling back was a lot tougher because the wind had picked up.  Our decoy bags act like sails when the north wind hit them, pushing us towards the other side of the cut.  We had to paddle mostly on the right side of our yaks to go on a straight course.  It was tough sledding and we were pretty pooped when we arrived at Mark’s truck.  We loaded up and headed to Mustang Island State Park to get a campsite.

We got up early on Sunday and headed to the spot that we had hunted the day before.  This time I wore two pair of heavy socks so I was able to help put out the dekes.

It was a completely different day – bright and sunny without a cloud in the sky.  We didn’t even see a redhead.  Four groups of pintails came by, but only three ducks came within range.  Greg and I missed the first one to come in, but nailed the second.  The third one survived because Mark and Kevin never saw them.  By 10:00 AM we decided to call it a day.  We packed up and left.

The wind had picked up again, but now it was from the south.  Our yaks wanted to go away from the Cut.  We had to paddle on the left side of our yaks most of the time in order to go on a straight course.  We were worn out when we finally made it back to Mark’s truck.  We loaded up, went to the State Park, packed up, and headed home.

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Bible Verse of the Day

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.