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"It was a great hunt that sucked"

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"It was a great hunt that sucked"
is how Thomas put it. For him it was just that, a great hunt that was diminished a bit by cripples.

We hunted this afternoon at a spot that typically does well with gray skies and a front moving in. The ducks must have heard the weathermen reporting 100% chance of snow tonight and tomorrow because they were moving about all afternoon in bunches with a sense of urgency. Decoying shots were frequent. Thomas is shooting a 20 gauge and we brought along Papa Goerge's 16 gauge SxS loaded with Classic Doubles Hevi-Shot for him to use. My 12 has a bit more lethality down range and I was able to finish the day a few hours early. Thomas was on his way to hist first Alabama limit when he knocked down two with picture perfect mechanics with the 16 gauge. However both escaped despite our best attemps to find them. Those with an earlier loss resulted in both of us getting frustrated with cripples! Shortly thereafter he lost another duck, two in the boat 4 MIA, not good!

At that point it became clear to me that Thomas made a mistake many of us make and still do. I bring this up because I think it is one of the biggest causes of lost cripples. The common mistake is going for a double when one duck wasn't positively taken cleanly. The cripple risk factor goes way up when the first duck dropped is at the limit of the guns effectiveness, say 35-40+ yards, and the final shot is used to try and drop another. Should the first duck not be cleanly killed then using the last shell on another duck, possibly another cripple, puts the hunter at risk of losing one maybe two. The reload time, and the need to take your eyes off the crippled duck(s) just adds to the problem, especially on divers who can swim long distances under water without a trace.

Thomas made the comment that he wished the ducks were only coming in single and pairs because it's less confusing and easier to concentrate and pick one out. He's right about that but also I think it's best to stick with one bird until you know it's down hard before swinging on another. Keeping the shots in close makes this a easier task and if the shots are at long range getting greedy often leads to lost birds.

Thomas is feeling better now about the crips just by the fact we saw a bunch of ducks this afternoon and he learned something about doubling up, but this is one lesson that adults need to keep in mind as it doen't just happen to 11 year olds. We all get over zealous at times with our shooting.

Eric
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
It sounds like he is progressing on the learning curve faster than most... and learning proper ethics as well!

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***Phil (Chesapeake Boy) Nowack***

http://www.mapleridgetaxidermy.com
http://www.philnowackphotography.com

Nothing like the north wind pushing snow at your back, a bird in your hand, and chessie with ice on his coat at your side.

Birds brought to you courtesy of Nikon, Benelli, Kodi, and Otter
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
A friend once told me that when you are shooting divers you don't stop shooting until the bird stops moving. It is good advice. It sounds like Thomas has figured it out on his own.

It sounds like you had a great day all the same. A father and son outing is always a good thing and the young man learned something.
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Glad he had a good time and learned a life lesson. I used to burn them all the way to the water until the plug ran dry, then I got a dog. memories like those you got today will never be replaced.
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Tough call.... sometimes we shoot well within range, have that first one drop like a stone only to see the head pop up after we've shot another. One thing is for sure, when you lose a strong cripple, it's disheartening. Neat to see that Thomas counted the cripples in his bag.

When chasing down cripples, one thing I've chafed about on occasion is the reg that the motor must be shut down and "all motion from ceased." Seems that whenever I lose a crip that's swimming & diving strongly, it's in rough, windy conditions on open expanses of the river & a situation where sending the dog might put it at risk.

It's frustrating to get within range and cut power, have that initial finishing shot, then have to shut down completely and wait for the boat to stop moving - only to have a strong crip put itself out of reach again & again. On quite a few occasions I've had this scenario result in a final dive where we never saw the bird again. Beginning to think that there ought to be a red flag with a big "C" on it that we can raise in order to make it legal to shoot while the opportunity first presents itself.


MLBob

"Art is like an ill-trained Labrador retriever that drags you out into traffic." (Annie Dillard)

....Here's to Joe Wooster, who made me realize that the useful could and should be beautiful; and who firmly believed that decoy carvers were the last free men in America.

https://www.facebook.com/KOOIdecoy?ref=hl

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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Well we got the snow the weatherman were predicting, for a change. Schools are closed as well as the base I work on so he might get another chance today. Wind will be all wrong so I'm less confident he will get the same amount of opportunity as yesterday. In case I didn't mention it we were shooting ringnecks. Anyone whose hunted them a time or two knows they come at you fast and rarely on a straight path. They are hard little rascals to find if they still have their wind and wits.

Bob, the point you bring up about shutting the motor down applied in this case. Don't they relax that rule for seaducks? Goldeneyes and perhaps ringnecks can swim so far underwater it's hard to keep them in range and yet leave the motor off. With puddlers I find the opposite to be true. Shutting the motor off makes them easier to find. I think they can hear your position by the motor. I find them easier to get when going silent.

Eric
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
I have spent 20 minutes chasing old squaws around on Michigan.... motor...no motor... sometimes you can't get close enough to shoot... come in hot.. or creep in .. they dive when 50 yards away... and can be impossible to see again sometimes...

---------------------------------------------------------------------
***Phil (Chesapeake Boy) Nowack***

http://www.mapleridgetaxidermy.com
http://www.philnowackphotography.com

Nothing like the north wind pushing snow at your back, a bird in your hand, and chessie with ice on his coat at your side.

Birds brought to you courtesy of Nikon, Benelli, Kodi, and Otter
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Eric,

Think I passed you going through HC yesterday morning. We were on our way back in, I discovered that 14 to 16 degrees with a wind on the lake is too cold for my 8 year old. We had to pull in early, even the heater in the boat was not doing enough to warm him up.

I went back out in the afternoon and finished out a limit of mallards and wigeon. I think they were looking for food before the storm with the way they were dropping in.
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
I agree Phil. Not many ducks are as frustrating as crippled OS unless it's crippled Scoter. GE's on the other hand, I rarely have a lost cripple and they are the number one duck in my annual bag.


Pete


MOLON LABE [mo 'lon la 've]

Technology has it's place, hunting isn't it.

Life's a blink, never have to say ....... "I should have"!

"That human optimism & goodness that we put our faith in, is in no more danger than the stars in the jaws of the clouds." .................Victor Hugo
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Eric,

Great to have a day with your son like that. You both will remember that day for a long time. Question: How much did the 16 ga contribute to the days events? If Thomas is used to the swing of his 20 ga., adding the extra weight, stock dimensions or swing characteristics of a SxS could screw up even the best shot. Also, another thing to consider, Classic Doubles are VERY slow @ 1150 fps. I know if I shoot slow shells through my 20 ga SxS vs my normal Kent FastSteel @ 1550 I am usually behind the birds and end up butt shooting them - if I hit them at all.


Pete


MOLON LABE [mo 'lon la 've]

Technology has it's place, hunting isn't it.

Life's a blink, never have to say ....... "I should have"!

"That human optimism & goodness that we put our faith in, is in no more danger than the stars in the jaws of the clouds." .................Victor Hugo
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Well, we weren't able to make it back out today. Hwy 72E was one lane and traffic was creeping along. We were looking at a 2 1/2 hour drive with possible black ice on the return. Doubled back and went to a closer walk-in spot but it was frozen. So we came back home and are going sledding. Hopefully the cold front coming through tomorrow will keep the ducks active.

Pete, when he switched to the double he knocked down two, both of which were lost. Not sure of changing guns made a difference or not but he definitely connected. I actually think he wouldn't have connected or hit them as hard with the 20 guage steel. The classic doubles certainly have more knock-down power down range.
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Well, it was just a thought. I haven't shot Classic Doubles but all I shoot any more is a 20 ga. Kent Fasteel and from what I see, there is no reason to shoot anything heavier. But that is just me. You can't discount confidence in what you shoot. I hope he gets his groove back :)


Pete


MOLON LABE [mo 'lon la 've]

Technology has it's place, hunting isn't it.

Life's a blink, never have to say ....... "I should have"!

"That human optimism & goodness that we put our faith in, is in no more danger than the stars in the jaws of the clouds." .................Victor Hugo
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Eric
An interesting post with a learning lesson while having fun. Another reason for that 3rd shell too.
wis boz
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Pete

Thomas is pretty good with his 20 gauge. Here's a video of him :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvOYWCO9mTY
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Eric,

I'll assume that video was shot over your new honey hole. :>) :>) Thomas barely had time to get off a quack on his duck call.

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA. ,,,,,, "As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats." Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Boz

Perhaps that is an argument for a third shot but I still like the fact he's shooting a double. I feel it's safer than a semi-auto in his hands and I know it fits better which was the main reason we bought him that gun. Me on the other hand I'd like to start shooting a double but I have come far too reliant on a third shot. Maybe if I knew I only had two chances I'd be more selective and perhaps more successful. Not sure but I can't bring myself to splurge for a nice double with that doubt in my mind. I do know this, you can reload a double a lot faster on those cripples.

Eric
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Dave

Naw, our private spot is all slush now. We took that video in the north end of Swan Creek WMA. Typical day there. :)

Eric
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
When things are being learned while duck hunting it is never a hunt that sucked. I agree about cripples but if you learn from it, then it is a good thing.
Glad you had some great shooting.
Al
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
alright! glad to hear yall got on some. I had to learn the same lessons several years after I started hunting. However looks like he's got it figured out before he hits 17-18 yrs old like I did. He's got a lot of duck killing years left and crippling one can or goldeneye will probably twist his stomach up more than those 4 gads combined!
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
I thought that way too when I was shooting my SBE - "can't give up that third shot" until I realized that I almost never killed a duck with the third shot. If I didn't get him with the first or second shot the third was just a hail mary any way. Years ago when I was shooting a model 37 pump I had 3 shots of course but since I was going to school - had no money for shells. I would only shoot a second shot if I had already connected on the first shot or it was a "gimme". Made me really pick my shots and voila my number of shells per duck went way down. Not only can you reload a double real fast but I never have to chase down empties floating in the water, just clean out the bottom of the boat at the end of the day.


Pete


MOLON LABE [mo 'lon la 've]

Technology has it's place, hunting isn't it.

Life's a blink, never have to say ....... "I should have"!

"That human optimism & goodness that we put our faith in, is in no more danger than the stars in the jaws of the clouds." .................Victor Hugo
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Pete
I think some of us in our wanning days of duck hunting have gone full circle: starting with a single, then a pump, a semi auto then a classic o/u and ending shooting a 28 gauge s/s over decoys .
wis boz
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Pete-----that was well said. Brought back some memories.
Al
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Pete, I have an old Ithica 37 I payed for with paper route $$$ when I was 12. I love that old gun. It was the only shotgun I owned till they made us go to steel shot. Great old gun!
Life in the fast lane is no place for a tricycle.
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Dennis,

My Model 37 was given to me when I was 12 if I remember correctly - 50 years ago this coming summer. I shot that gun for 35 years with everything from handloaded lead to steel all 2 3/4. When I got my SBE I put the 37 in the closet. About 5-6 years ago I took it out to pop off a couple target loads with bad crimps and couldn't believe how much that sucker kicked haha. That old gun accounted for a lot of ducks in it's time and with it's full choke was deadly with steel.


Pete


MOLON LABE [mo 'lon la 've]

Technology has it's place, hunting isn't it.

Life's a blink, never have to say ....... "I should have"!

"That human optimism & goodness that we put our faith in, is in no more danger than the stars in the jaws of the clouds." .................Victor Hugo
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Re: "It was a great hunt that sucked" In reply to
Hi Jim,

How the heck are you? Did you get out much last fall?

I know what you are saying, the "how I hunt" has become more important than the number in the bag.


Pete


MOLON LABE [mo 'lon la 've]

Technology has it's place, hunting isn't it.

Life's a blink, never have to say ....... "I should have"!

"That human optimism & goodness that we put our faith in, is in no more danger than the stars in the jaws of the clouds." .................Victor Hugo