Duck hunters saved by duck decoys after boat floods

duck decoy
Duck hunter Kyle Kevelin shows how he tucked the duck decoy under his arms for buoyancy; photo is a screen grab from KARE’s report

Six duck hunters who found themselves swimming in the frigid waters of Ann Lake in Minnesota when their boat began to sink were saved by an unusual floatation device, something duck hunters use to attract waterfowl: duck decoys. KARE 11 in Minneapolis-St. Paul has the unusual story:

Kyle and Mike Kevelin, along with four others, were on their way in after an unproductive day of duck hunting when their boat inexplicably started taking on water Sunday night. All ended up in the water, presumably without life jackets, and were unable to swim to shore. So they searched out their duck decoys.

“I just pretty much took them and stuck them up underneath my arm and just held on,” Kyle Kevelin told KARE. The others followed suit.

Mike Kevelin, who leaves for active duty in Afghanistan soon, was so cold he said he couldn’t feel anything “but just pain inside.”

Fortunately, the Kevelins’ father happened to be on a deck near the lake and yelled out to the men, who called back asking for help.

A call to 911 was made, and the father rowed a small canoe out to the middle of the lake where the men were able to hang on until three Zimmerman Firefighters arrived in a larger boat and pulled them to safety.

The men were treated for minor hypothermia and released at the scene. They had been in the water for 30 minutes and might not have lasted 10 minutes longer.

Thanks to the buoyancy of the duck decoys and a quick rescue, there were no casualties, other than a lost shotgun and a flooded boat.

“You learn a valuable lesson [through this incident],” Kyle Kevelin told KARE.

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