Featured Guide: GS Outfitting Hunts
By James Hamilton | Wednesday, November 11
Duck Hunting in Deerfield, MA with Eric Gass of GS Outfitting.
My buddy Dave Miller and I recently spent a late October morning hunting with Eric Gass and his chesapeake bay retriever Bailey, of GS Outfitting. Dave and I set out from Boston around 8PM on a Friday, got to the camp site around 10PM and tried our hardest to pass out. It wasn't easy, the anticipation was killing us as Massachusetts duck season had only just opened up one day prior and we had neglected to pick up a case of beer for the campsite. We managed to get a few hours of sleep before waking up promptly at 4AM and throwing on our waders. We met up with Gass and Bailey at a shopping center in Greenfield at 4:30 and caravaned to our first spot - a beautiful secluded pond with boggy sunken timber along the shoreline. Dave and I trekked in while Gass and Bailey canoed out to set up the decoys. We all got set up and waited as the sky slowly began to shift from black to a soft royal blue. It didn't take long after sunrise before Dave and I got our first shots at Wood Duck of the season, and we both missed. I'd love to blame the small window we had between the trees, or say the ducks weren't quite in range, but I know how to accept a miss (turns out it's much easier to forget when you don't have to write about it a few weeks later...) Gass managed to call in a few more birds, but nothing within firing range.
Our next approach was driving through the endless farmland around Deerfield and jumping ducks on small ponds. We managed to flush a few birds, but weren't able to get off a shot. Onward.
To the Deerfield River, where we floated a stretch looking to jump birds and see if anything was flying by. Gass is on the oars, Dave is on the stern, I'm on the bow, and Bailey is whining in anticipation - this dog cannot wait to get in the water. Finally, in what felt like the 25th hour, I managed to get a shot off on a bird and Bailey went to work. The Chessie lept into the water and retrieved the duck just like he was bred to do.
All in all we had a great morning pursuing Ducks around Deerfield, and we are all happy not to get skunked. Personally, I was happy to have a bird to cook for an awesome dinner later that week. GS Outfitting offers a number of guided hunts and fishing trips - learn more here (hunting) and here (fishing).