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Posts Tagged ‘duck hunting’

Passing by one of the duck blinds in the waters of Occoquan Bay this past Saturday, I saw a larger number of decoys set out and realized it was occupied. Consequently I braced myself when I heard the sound of approaching ducks and sure enough shots rang out. A few seconds later, I saw a duck hit the water not far from where I was standing.

I was focusing on the flailing duck with my telephoto lens when suddenly a dog swam into the frame. The dog, which appears to be a Labrador Retriever, approached the duck, circled around it so it would be heading in the right direction, and then swam back to the blind with the duck in its mouth.

I am not a hunter and prefer to do my shooting with a camera. However, I can appreciate the skill of both the hunter and the retriever in securing the duck that will probably make a tasty meal.

 

retriever

retriever

retriever

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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At this time of the year my peaceful pursuit of photos is often punctuated with the sound of shotgun blasts as I walk along the trails parallel to the water at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge—it is duck hunting season. As you might suspect, duck hunting is not permitted on the territory of the wildlife refuge itself, but there is a series of duck blinds not far from the shore.

Some hunters simply take their boats and occupy the blinds, while others take the additional step of putting out duck decoys. In previous years I was fooled into taking photos of the decoys, thinking they were real ducks, but my decoy identification skills seem to have improved.

Here are a couple of photos of one of the blinds to give you an idea of what they look out and how close they are to the shore. I took the final shot of a group of hunters as they slowly motored by me. I don’t know the hunting rules, but I don’t think that they can hunt from a moving boat.

I am not against hunting per se, but I am definitely a bit edgy when I hear shots fired not far from where I am walking and will definitely welcome the eventual end of the hunting season.

duck blind

duck blind

duck hunting

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I think that duck hunting season is finally over at Occoquan Bay. It has been somewhat jarring in recent weeks to have my photography expeditions to the wildlife refuge interrupted by volleys of shotgun fire, sometimes at rather close range. In addition to some fixed blinds in the water that look like tiny cabins on stilts, hunters also use small boats like the one featured in these two images. The two hunters in this boat were so close to the shore that I had to zoom out to about 250mm on my 150-600mm telephoto lens to be able to fit them into the frame.

duck hunting

duck hunting

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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