Every year in December and January the bed of my truck transforms into a mix of feathers, coolers, waders, and empty shell casings… It’s duck season in Tennessee!
For 40 years my father and I have been going to Davey Crockett hunting club in West Tennessee to hunt waterfowl in the confluence of the Middle Fork of the Onion River. Located on a parcel of land roughly 900 + acres with a mixture of flooded corn and timber; this place is very special. The members gather in the clubhouse each morning to draw a blind; each day of the season an old bingo cage filled with cork balls is spun by hand and blinds are selected in consecutive order from lowest bingo number to highest. The blinds (14 of them) face various directions which makes it important to know the wind and the direction each blind faces before making a selection. When I was a kid the pre-draw time was filled with members loading the boats with gear, warming up the motors, and lighting the charcoal stoves to carry for a sliver of heat. Following the draw everyone piles into their John boats and motors through the cleanly cut network of trails to arrive at their blind for the day. At the first sign of light the shooting usually began in the woods (wood ducks would usually be active then). Many of the blinds are in locations established in the 40’s when the river used to flood the timber naturally and hunters would motor through the currents among flooded timber then float the eddies to hunt.
Sometime in the 60’s the river was dredged and levies were erected to ensure the habitat remained intact for the ducks that the property holds each year. The hunting is great, the camaraderie is outstanding and the banter is plentiful. They love to poke at each other and have a ton of fun each winter when they all come together in the clubhouse. After a full days hunt or once you have gotten your limit, there is a picking room where you can drop off the ducks that you shot to be cleaned and picked for you.