Culture,  Hunting

Ghostly Tales Of Big Marsh Swamp Pt.2

By Fred Phillips

The rest of 2013 I did not return to this swamp, I frequently made excuses not to go. But November 2014 the ducks got too thick and once more the itch became too strong. One evening I made up my mind I was going back, but this time not by myself. I called my long-time friend Johnathon to go with me. I was careful to not sound desperate for his company, but I had decided if he did not go I sure as black berry bush has thorns, was not going into that hole alone. As I suspected Johnathon agree to go after I told him of the nearly 400 wood ducks and handful of mallards that were roosting in this hole. The morning started normal, my pulse was up slightly as I started in the water, but it was a beautiful, clear cold morning. We made our way to a spot among the cattails without incident as we stood around waiting for the dawn to break. The wood ducks were already talking in amongst themselves preparing for their morning dance out of the swamp, completely oblivious to the two Browning’s, loaded and waiting to cut loose.


The time spent with a good friend waiting for legal shooting light is a sacred time, almost like church. It’s a time I look forward to and cherish. But this morning it quickly went bad like a jar of Duke’s mayonnaise left out at a church homecoming. As Johnathon and I stood in the swamp talking I was watching the reflection of the stars on the water in front of me. I could hear the sound of a distant plane which was not uncommon. But the sound slowly grew louder as the once vocal birds on the water grew quiet. I soon seen a green glow appear on the water with the reflection of the stars. I looked up and saw what appeared to be a large comet overhead traveling south in front of us. I looked at Jonathan and said, “do you see that?” He nodded slowly in agreement as the light from the comet reflected on his face. The once slow object in the sky suddenly sped up before a loud boom and the object split into and sped off. I knew the end of the world was near at this point and voiced this to Johnathon who mutually agreed as we braced for what we expected to be an explosion of brimstone and hellfire straight out of the book of Revelation. But the end never came, for us at least, A few birds that morning were not so lucky. After this incident I retired this hole. I still go sometimes and watch the wood ducks dance across the cotton candy skies as they come into roost. But as the sun sinks low and the last light of day trickles out of the trees, I know to leave the sand ridge. I know that more than ducks haunt its dark waters. As I walk the short trail out of the woods during the twilight hours of darkness, I can hear the familiar squeal of the wood ducks calling. As familiar as the sound of wood ducks is the feeling that I’m not alone.