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Weird season's start...

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Weird season's start...
Our opening weekend on the Great Lakes indicated we have more mallards than prior years, as well as more marsh courtesy of a near twenty inch drop in water levels. On the other side of that ledgert, I am glad I added the extra quarter inch of epoxy on my stern lifting pad based on the dolomite cobble I had to cross to get within a quarter mile of shore to hand line the boat in further to set decoys. Next year hopefully the outer marsh will have established well enough again to set-up in a Phragmites sp. stand.
Steve shot well from a good hide and decoy set. I, on the other hand spent opening morning trying to sleep a couple hours after a "Norco Night" from an unplanned slip that really aggravated a bulging disc that needs to be addressed this winter, per my MRI results. I did finally get out around 10:00AM, after most of the morning flight, only to luck into the biggest goose I have ever killed. We did end the day with a two man limit of gift birds and the goose. Blacks, mallards, wigeon, wood ducks, and BW teal for the two days of sitting. Good wind, but no cloud cover..on the way back home I stopped at a large dairy farm that butts-up against an arm of the Whitefish River to the south. Steve C. told me he had nothing in grain other than unharvested corn, so he called his neighbor who had 95 acres of cut oats that birds were using. The weather was too warm, but we had a light ground fog which kept things cool. Steve's brother, Clay, joined Josh, Drew and I, giving us three callers and four guns set-up in 117 decoys, mostly my hand painted Big Foots and Avian-X AXPs with some bastard brands. Hardly any wind and the birds thankfully came early!


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RLLigman: Oct 13, 2021, 2:49 PM
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Re: Weird season's start... In reply to
Mark Twain once said that truth was stranger than fiction, because Fiction was required to remain in the realm of possibilites; while Truth was not. That is a good summary of the last three duck hunting outings...3 mallards and four wood ducks on hunts with zero wind and daytime highs in the 70s. Every morning I have been out this year the temperature at shooting time has already climbed into the low sixties. Saturday, after loading my shotgun I stopped and realized how absolutely quiet it was, outside of a good size cluster of geese talking on the three oxbows down to the west, punctuated by some hen mallards and an occasional wood duck squeling. I walked my folding chair down to put it in the canoe sitting in the slot worn through the button bush perimeter on the oxbow I use for access and walked back to the truck, opened the tailgate after unlocking it and took my coat off to cradle my Benelli, unfolded my chair and poured anoth full mug of coffee and turned-off my head lamp to sit and listen to the marsh wake-up. Only birds flying were a small pod of ring necks and a pair of hooded mergansers until the forty or so geese finally decided to lift-off and swing southwest to some alfalfa fields out near Beaver Grove. Eventually, somewhere during that couple hour time interval I unloaded my gun. There are some inherent benefits to huntig solo, particularly on low probability days when watching and listening is as rewarding as hunting. Absolutely still, with no background sounds or evidence of Man's presence. Well worth forgoing a chance at a duck dinner

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RLLigman: Oct 12, 2021, 6:30 AM
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Re: Weird season's start... In reply to
 
RL,

Thank You.

You just wrote about my ideal kind of duck hunting.


It took me a helluva lotta years of suffering in what some consider "Ideal waterfowl hunting conditions" to get there.

Peace comes to all of us, if we just have patience and let it happen.


Button brush...good duck food Smile and becoming scarce in many places I hunt.


Best regards
Vince











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: Weird season's start... In reply to
I admit I am still trying to find the retirement "sweet spot" where time expended and time left are in proper balance.
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Rick, your weird hunts happens to be exactly what I have been doing now ever since moving to New Mexico. I much prefer hunting solo and you did stumble upon some of the reasons why. I took it maybe a step further when I decided to try and sit in the open and not move. I did certain things like make sure my silhouette or outline of my frame was broken in back of me by maybe a couple of wild sunflower plants or maybe just one salt cedar sapling.. I much prefer using a boonie hat verses a billed cap. From above if I moved my head you can see the bill of the cap move if I move my head with a boonie hat you don't see that movement from above. Most importantly a face-mask is the most important thing to wear. If you prefer whiskers and face paint, so be it.

New Mexico has provided me with some phenominal duck hunting and when, at one time, I was seeing hundreds if not thousands of ducks on each hunt, you can experiment to your heart's desire. The only clue I can come up with is solo hunting. My best days duck hunting here are the dreaded ones that most mid-westerners think are their worst days. Basically speaking, no wind at all, severe clear and deathly quiet.

Vince has already echoed my sentiments, too. The only thing I will include will be my dog. Without my trusty blind companion I would never be able to look at the radar screen. Yup, I just sit there,as still as an owl moving my head ever so slowly and or just my eyes. I must be able to see my dog. Like I have talked about in other columns on this website, part of my dog training is to make sure they absolutely understand what "STAY" means, along with other things that they can do or can't do. Chilie was my first dog that knew exactly what I had in mind and from her, she was able to teach Habanero aka Habi my way of hunting. Habi then taught Enchanted Desert Chipotle aka Chip how to hunt and that is where I am now. My last beacon of hope will be this little guy who is doing just fine now that he is almost 10 weeks old. Coal, hopefully will be able to fill Chip's paw prints in duckhuunting here in New Mexico.

Just so you know, when the squall line is set up and the snow flakes begin to fall, with a wind out of the northwest, as a young man in Minnesota, then moving to Alaska, followed by a stint in Wisconsin, I would make sure I was out duck hunting. Well, down here I quickly found out that ducks just hunker down and don't move much, just waiting for the storm to abate and for the severe clear to return. I in turn, just stay home.

I can't begin to tell you how much I love duck hunting and what it means when someone down here says to you, "If you can find water, they will come!"
Allan

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Re: Weird season's start... In reply to
 
Al,

Ya gave the tip/secret away about the hat. Wink

All one has to do is study the old etchings, and paintings of waterfowlers & marsh hunters to see the proper style of hat. It worked then, as it works now.

May you have a enjoyable season.


Best regards
Vince











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: Weird season's start... In reply to
Weird season turned to ugly on Wednesday. Good wind and much cooler temps. kept the birds moving. I grabbed a zip-loc with some seven year old Hevi Metal fives in it that I had left in the boat over winter a couple of years back. Over the course of the first half of the day I shot five mallards, only killing one outright. I had to anchor the sole hen that decoyed with three more shots prior her swimming into the far shore. Flynn found her in a nasty jackpine blow down about ten yards inland from where I expected to find her. At one point I had three crippled drakes who could fly, but not fly well enough to get out above the trees that surrounded the slough, hopping around in three different directions as we tried to chase them through the leather leaf and arrow root clumps. Since we have not had a hard frost all the emergent vegetation is still up and viable, making seeing and tracking cripples quite a high energy expenditure "event". Kane was able to find three birds on Wednesday. I took Flynn back out Thursday in the rain/sleet squalls and found two more as well as picking-up a chip shot hen wood duck.

I am going to fire some rounds from that bag of shells to see whether they are oxydized together or not. Brass on several is heavily tarnished. All I remember post-puchase is that I wasn't very impressed with how hard they hit when I started shooting the two boxes. So much for using-up old ammunition during this shortage.
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Re: Weird season's start... In reply to
That's sounds like a pretty frustrating morning, glad you were able to find the birds as well as the bonus wood duck.

I had a morning like that about 7 years ago, had a half box of shells that kept misfiring. Thought it was my gun but then pulled out a new box and no more problems.
What was left of the old box went into the trash after a good soaking.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: Weird season's start... In reply to
 When you shoot a bird that is a chip-shot as the group settles into the decoys and they don't even roll over, something is suspicious watching them shudder and then settle to the waterand start swimming away, it gets more than a little frustrating.On the positive side, the dogs got in a boatload of work rooting for cripples. Replaying the events of the day does not have the same effect as counting sheep

I had something interesting happen with a couple boxes of Winchester Blind Side shotshell the first year the were sold. They burned the center of the crimps a little too deep, causing the shot to dribble out the end of the shell. We had a pair of COs pull-in to check us. We had set-up in a little skinny water pocket, waiting for the fusillades on the bay to die-down a birds tried to find cover where hunter weren't set-up. Rather than expend energy to slog through the mud to get back to me he jestured to me to walk to him, adding to my growing anger since they pulled right into the middle of our spread as birds were just starting to work. He aked that I unload my gun, checked my shells with a magnet and then asked for a fourth shell wihich he tried to float in the gun without sucess. When he noticed that the shotshell was dribbling shot, he implied that i had altered the shells. I had dropped several shells in my left pockedt that had lost shot, so I scooped a partial handful out and held it out to him, asking how is this beneficial to kill more ducks? He had me empty the contents of every pocket on my coat, as well as my wader pouch. Still nothing he could right me up for...

SEnt the receipt and remaining shells I didn't shoot or pitch. Winchester sent me back exactly the number of shells I sent in...last purchase I made of their "products".