Thankful Outdoors: River Bottom Hunt

Redhead Teal
Redhead Teal

As I write this week’s column, I was reminded that the best-created plans often get busted and don’t turn out the way you were hoping, though!

Due to my work schedule and a fuel pump going out on the truck, the time I spent hunting so far has been 4 hours on Wednesday evening. I can share that Wednesday brought no turkey, though.

Here is what that evening did offer, though. I applied a slightly different approach to hunting that night; I packed my kayak and floated the river calling for birds along the way. After an hour of floating, I decided to beach the kayak and explore hardwood ridges.


During the float, though, I saw mallards, wood duck, redhead teal, and geese. Watching the various waterfowl was entertaining, and I have made a mental note of potential spots to try duck hunting in the fall.

The walk through the hardwood ridges showed signs that turkey had been in the area earlier; there was scratching all through the leaves as they searched for bugs and green shoots to eat. The amount of feeding sign had brought high hopes that I would see birds come back into the ridges for their evening roost. Those hopes, though, never came true as I watched the sun sink in the sky.

A few whitetail deer wandered through the hardwoods that evening browsing and no care in the world that I was around. It’s as if they knew that they were off-limits to me; come this fall, then they know differently!

water ripples

As the almost 8 pm quitting time approached, I packed up my gear and started a slow walk back to the kayak. A couple of owls hooted in the woods, and I stopped to hear if a turkey would gobble back in response. The turkey were either not in the area or tight-mouthed that evening!

As I got back to the kayak and loaded the gear up, I found a painted turtle shell. As I shared that finding with family, Dad commented, “Do the turtle in Mead shed their shells!”, we chuckled over that comment.

The float back to my original take-out point was peaceful as I listened to the frogs come alive. The only other sound was the water droplets dripping from the paddle. I sat in the kayak as I reached the final destination and hesitated before getting out.

During this moment, I sat and thought even though I didn’t have a turkey on board with me, it was a great evening! The outdoors had let me be part of its world for just a moment and gave me some beautiful sights.

This evening adventure was a success in a way that wasn’t measured by filling a turkey tag. It was measured in the form of enjoying the time away from typical day-to-day life. That river bottom hunt allowed me to hit the reset button on life and remember that tomorrow is a new day.

turtle shell
turtle shell

In closing, I hope you find a way to get into the outdoors, create your adventure and memories, but most importantly, find a way to “Celebrate the Experience.” Go check out for more content and share your “Celebrate the Experience” moment with us!

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Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.