Like a lot of duck hunters, Adam Bunch looked skyward and lakeward for much of the season and didn’t see many ducks at all.
“There wasn’t much here at all, not even coots,” Adam said.
He and his son AJ shot a few mallards in mid-December. But he said it was either warm or raining for much of the season, the birds weren’t here and it just didn’t work out.
That changed on the very last weekend of the season.
“I was riding around some with my uncle and I noticed a lot more birds were showing up,” Adam said. “The bluebills started showing up, 400 or 500 of them, off the walking trails. I knew some birds were coming down.”
Adam usually hunts a few times every season in Arkansas. But he hadn’t even made a trip there this season.
“The guys at my old club said they were having to hunt specklebelly geese because the ducks weren’t down,” he said. “I even heard some of the guides were lowering their prices because of it.”
Adam particularly enjoys hunting redhead ducks on Guntersville Lake and he rode around and saw some on the very last weekend.
“Really, we’ve never shot a redhead in December,” he said. “It’s always the last few weeks of the season.”
He went to one of his old redhead spots scouting and ran some out of there.
“We went out on the last Friday about 3:30, just looking for something to hunt the next day,” Adam said.
He and Wes Cary ended up putting out some decoys and they killed one redhead.
“We had a big flock of 30 or 40 come over our heads,” he said. “I should have called the shot and tried to get some of them. But to tell the truth, I was just in awe of seeing that many once again.”
They went back on Saturday and saw not only redheads, but other ducks too.
Adam ended up shooting a pintail, a prized duck on Guntersville.
“They were high and they had a lot of white on them,” Adam said. “I thought they were shovelers when we first saw them. They went by and I could tell they were pintails. I started blowing a whistle and one broke off and came in.”
That made it a pretty special hunt in itself, but they also got 3 redheads and bufflehead.
They went back on Sunday and picked up 4 more redheads. So while the season might not have been very good, it ended with a bang for Adam and his hunting partners.
“It was good last weekend,” he said. “It made me wish we had one more weekend to hunt. It just seems like our birds are coming later and later every year.”
He said the season starts on Thanksgiving now and ends the last weekend in January. He’d prefer to see it start in December and go a week into February.
“It was a good finish,” Adam said. “I was happy to get the pintail on Guntersville.”
The first person he thought of when he got the pintail was the late Marty Upton. Marty passed away on January 14 of COVID. He was a lifelong waterfowler, as avid as any who've ever hunted Guntersville.
“Marty took me to Arkansas the first time I went,” Adam said. “I remember telling him, ‘Man, I just want to kill a pintail.’ He put me on my first drake pintail. On the Guntersville hunt the last weekend, I was in an area Marty liked to hunt and he was the first person I thought of when I got the pintail.”
Adam’s son AJ got his first redhead during the final weekend melee so that was good too.