By Chris Henderson
This is the first duck hunting season we have used both the W500 and the W700 as duck hunting boats and they are doing great!
It would be easy to put a blind on it (we have one all designed) but we mostly use the boats for transportation.
The area we hunt is tidal mud flat. So the cover is minimal, actually non-existent. We sit on beach chairs in the mud and pretend to be a log. However, where the Wavewalk’s shine is in getting us to the spot.
We paddle for 1.5miles over water that runs from 6 inches to 20 feet, with lots of logs, mussel beds, and all sorts of things that are a constant danger to motorized boats. In addition once we get to the spot we will be on the move the whole day. For instance yesterday’s tide went from 1.9 feet at 3 am to a 14.4 feet at 9:54 am and then back to 4.9 feet at 4:43 pm. We hunted from 5 am until about 4:00pm. So we saw and moved through most of that. We start on a mud flat, retreat to a log and end up back on the mud flat. It is work intensive hunting!
The Wavewalk makes it possible for a couple of reasons.
One it handles the current and wind with great proficiency. Tidal current is a constant, one direction or the other. In addition, this is the mouth of the Nisqually river, so you have a lot of water coming from there. And it seems there is always a wind and often with accompanying waves. With the Wavewalk you are able to paddle through all of this and feel secure knowing that you can handle it. It is not just a convenience it is a safety issue.
We are paddling in water that has a constant temperature year round of 54 degrees, but the air temperature yesterday started at 24 degrees raising to a balmy 36, and oh yeah we paddle to the spot in the dark. If you get in trouble you are on your own.
Often people ask me why not put a motor on it? For one simple reason; MUD! We move about 200 yards between low and high tides and then back again. During that we are dragging our boats forward and backward with the tide. We drag them in mud that can actually be a danger if you get stuck. The Coast guard had to airlift rescue a duck hunter from this marsh already this year who was stuck in the mud. Dragging 60 or 80 lbs of boat through mud is a challenge, but if you added the weight of a motor it would become impractical.
The second reason the Wavewalks are so perfect for this hunting is the sheer storage. In the W700 I am able to transport 36 decoys, camo blankets for the boat and hunters, shotgun, lawn chair, hunting bucket, thermos, and myself with ease. In fact there is so much room in W700’s it hauls all of the decoys!
Yesterday I was able to take a friend who had never hunted in this way and put him in a Wavewalk for the first time. He is a big fellow so I put him in the W700. With very little effort he was comfortably and efficiently paddling, and we had a great hunt.
These boats are not just for fishing but they make great duck boats as well. So far this duck season the Wavewalks have gotten us 63 ducks, and we still have January to go!
Loving the Wavewalk as a great duck boat! Enjoy a few pictures of the season!