I joined Bill and Glenn Merrick of Duluth for a duck hunt last Friday on Nett Lake near Orr. We were accompanied by guide Gene Boshey, a Nett Lake guide and member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. Hunters must be accompanied by a Nett Lake guide to hunt ducks on the lake.
We drew a calm, sunny day, certainly not conducive to good duck movement. Thousands of ring-necked ducks were rafted in the middle of the lake, and a few came and went. Most stayed put, and the ones that moved weren’t seeking the shelter of a protected shoreline — ours, for instance.
We told a lot of stories and had the occasional opportunity to shoot ducks. We picked up a single ringneck and a hen redhead. But we watched eagles and a red-tailed hawk and trumpeter swans. It is always good to go, even if conditions aren’t going to be perfect for hunting.
Nett Lake is full of wild rice. This year’s crop wasn’t as good as those in some previous years, Boshey said. Up to a quarter-million ring-necked ducks typically stop at the lake in mid-October on their annual migration, drawn by the rice they feed upon before continuing their migration.
I’ll write a story about the lake and our hunt for this Sunday’s Duluth News Tribune outdoors section. Here are a few more images from the hunt: