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by Frank Richardson

(scroll down to the bottom of the page for the recipe)

As a group of several mallards flew through the gap in the trees and out onto the pond, two big drakes pulled away from the group and started heading right toward the blind. I told my son, Frank, to stay low and hold still to allow them get into range. I instructed him to shoot the drake on the right, adding that I would take the one on the left.

As the big greenheads got within 25 yards, I yelled “Shoot!” Immediately, and simultaneously, both ducks folded up and hit the water following single shots from each of our shotguns.

We both wore mile-wide grins as we turned to look at each other. We were almost excited enough to forget about the freezing temperatures in which we were hunting. While I’d like to tell you we shot that well the rest of the morning, I have to admit I’d be more than stretching the truth. However, for that one moment, we were both shooting perfectly.

With plenty of ducks in the air, Frank and I got the barrels of our Remingtons warm and ended up with a nice bag of mallards to take home. While this sounds like an adventure that would take place somewhere in Arkansas or Louisiana, we were much closer to home – hunting with Craig Hawkins of Hawkins Ridge in southeastern Alabama. Craig has several ponds on his property and offers mallard hunts on his preserve.

After our morning duck hunt, Craig took Frank and I on a tour of part of his 12,000 acres dedicated to hunting. Craig offers more than just excellent duck hunting, he offers deer, quail and exotic animal hunting as well.

We saw numerous food plots and shooting houses, and even took a drive through his exotics area where we saw glimpses of a bull elk, as well as a few fallow deer and rams. All of this was in the beautiful rolling hills of Southeastern Alabama. My only regret was that we were only there for a duck hunt and not staying for a deer hunt! For more information on Hawkins Ridge, visit www.hawkinshunting.com or call Craig at 334-687-6820.

Armed with several packages of mallard breasts, I could finally enjoy this tasty duck recipe that I’ll share with you this month. It will also work on several other species of ducks, including ring necks, wood ducks and teal.

Recipe

Grilled Duck Breasts with Sportsman’s Gold Bourbon Essence

Ingredients:

• 2 duck breast fillets per person (all skin removed)

• Sportsman’s Gold Bourbon Essence

Instructions:

Marinate duck breasts in Sportsman’s Gold Bourbon Essence for one hour. Place duck breasts on grill over low heat and turn frequently to avoid burning. Baste duck breasts with more Bourbon Essence each time you turn them. Grill until medium rare, and let cool slightly before serving.