A Port Bay duck hunt typically begins at around 5:00 a.m., depending on time of first light. The clangorous ringing of a ship’s bell up and down the dormitory halls awakens the hunters. Fifteen minutes later a second bell summons every one to a hot breakfast in the dining room.
After breakfast, coffee, and drawing for blinds, hunters return to their rooms and get themselves outfitted. Guides appear shortly and take guns, ammunition and gear to the waterfront. Bay hunters then drive or walk to the pier and board the launch and small skiffs that take them and their guides to within a short distance of their blinds. Blinds are built in shallow water where ducks like to feed. The larger, deeper draft launch must stay in the Bay’s channels, so hunters and their guides must motor to the blinds in the skiffs, powered by small 7 to 10 hp out-boards. Decoys owned and furnished by the Club are deployed; then boats are shoved into the cover of the blinds to await the first ducks. The rhythm of each morning’s schedule is governed by sunrise.
The object is to be in the blind with decoys out just before legal hunting time – usually 30 minutes before sunrise.
The Club owns 115 acres of prime hunting marshland. If winds on the Bay are high, or tide is too high or low, or often just for pure variety, some hunters prefer to go to “the Marsh”. Depending on the time of season, different kinds of ducks are more likely to be found on the Marsh than in the Bay. Marsh hunters depart after breakfast just as do Bay hunters and travel with their guides to the Marsh in their own or Club vehicles.
Pick up of the skiffs on the Bay by the launch is about 11:00 a.m. The launch tows the chain of small boats back across the Bay to the Club, trailed often by swarms of seagulls attracted by the duck picking. Sometimes playful porpoises join the flotilla. A hearty, hot lunch is served at 12:30. For those hunters who did not get their limits on the morning hunt, the afternoon hunt begins shortly after lunch about 1:30 p.m. Late afternoon pickup on the Bay is about 5:00 p.m. A hot dinner is served at 7:00. In between is time for gun cleaning, hunting stories and cocktail hour. For those lucky hunters who did limit out in the morning, there is a leisurely afternoon for a nap, book, walk, or a trip into Rockport, Corpus Christi, or the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
When the seasons and birds accommodate, afternoon dove hunting is also an option. The Club is usually successful in obtaining access to prime dove hunting land within an hour drive from the Clubhouse.