About 10 to 12 years ago I was on the phone one evening with one of my old skeet shooting friends who lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

His name is Jim Prall, and he owns and operates one of the best sporting goods stores in that city. We got on the subject of waterfowl hunting, and he mentioned that he knew a guide named Jack Morris who was very successful at bagging lots of ducks and geese in that area of Oklahoma.

My parents on both sides had came to California from there, and I always heard about how good the duck hunting could be. I had thought about making a trip to the midwest for waterfowl, so this sounded like it might be the right time. I contacted Jack, and made arrangements for a hunt that winter for myself and my son, Mark.

When the time came, it was an easy flight right out of Bakersfield to Tulsa. Jack met us at the airport, and said they had been getting some great shoots during the past few days. He booked us into a hotel for the evening, and Mark and I both were anxious for the next morning's hunt. We were picked up early the next day along with two other clients Jack had booked.

Jack said he had a great harvested grain field with a huge pond right in the center. A lot of mallard ducks and Canada geese had been working it, so he was sure we would get some shooting. And he was right.

At first light the ducks started coming in small bunches. And it wasn't long before the big 'honkers' arrived. The boys were shooting out of lay-out blinds, so the birds worked in real close. I was just doing my usual video taping, and got some great film.

We lost the other two guys for the afternoon shoot, so Jack said he would take us to a very special spot for a goose shoot. I could hardly believe it when we drove onto a housing area just outside of the city a few miles. They were ranch properties and looked like they consisted of about 20 acres.

Jack said the geese would come and feed on grain that was left on the ground from feeding cattle and horses. He and Mark set a few decoys out, and then just sat down up against a corral fence. I went into a small barn about 50 yards away, and just sat on a stool looking out through the door.

It wasn't long before a nice bunch of geese locked their wings and glided right into the decoys. The boys bagged five out of the flock, and I once again managed some more terrific camera shots.

The next morning we headed south of town for a few miles to a huge slough. During the night we had a light snowfall, so it really looked like winter.

The mallards began working the spread right at sun-up, and continued for most of the morning. There were three other hunters in the party along with Mark, so they were able to take down quite a few birds. Everything was "in your face" shooting, which made for very few cripples that had to be chased down.

The third day we went back to the same slough for more of the same. Just great hunting and effective gunning from everyone. Mark and I flew home that afternoon having some terrific memories of the hunt and just being able to meet and make new friends. I went back again a few years later.

But, that's another story we will get to down the road.

Ken Barnes is a record setting shooter and longtime outdoorsman from Kern County. Email him at ken.barnes@aol.com with comments or column ideas.

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