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Black Ducks and Black Dogs...

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Black Ducks and Black Dogs...
Today started off a little bit different than usual. Usually I leave my house around 2:30 am, but today we didn't like the tides and decided to launch at 11, hunt through the afternoon low tide and come back in late. The weather was ducky, maybe a little on the warm side and wind wasn't quite what was forecast, but a good breeze and solid overcast skies.

We setup on a skinny point where open water met up with a wide creek. Black duck decoys on the other side of the point, Bufflehead and Brant decoys behind us on the open water. Tide was dropping so we were low in the water and well hidden.




Today was the day for Black Ducks! They were moving most of the afternoon and decoyed better than I've ever seen. Shadow loved every minute of it.




We managed to take our 2 man limit, all of which were single ducks that came in all alone. We had numerous singles, pairs, and triples decoy and often land in the decoys for the rest of the afternoon. We did see lots of brant in the distance, plenty of bufflehead, and a handful of Shovelers none of which were interested in our spread.

Shadow marked and retrieved well, but we have some work to do on finishing retrieves. He wants to stop on the edge of the marsh and put the duck down before he gets back in the boat. It will come!





Thanks for looking and I hope everyone had good Saturday!!!

.........................................
Recovering Engineer, Standup Philosopher, Aspiring Pirate, Cooking Enthusiast
"Life is a garden.... Dig It!"
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Re: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
...And, you were "out" . From the perspective of those on this site whose season is overwhile birds still pour through their migration corridors, that is VERY siginificant! Congratulations!
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Re: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
Looks like a great day, HOPEFULLY those were not all "my" black ducks, I need all the easy ones I can get!!! :).

Love hunting the late low tide, makes for an easy day.

Last edited by:

tod osier: Dec 19, 2021, 2:01 PM
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Re: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
Not much better than black dogs and black ducks
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A LOT OF MEMORIES IN A MAN'S STOOL........
Duck hunting without a dog is just shooting
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Re: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
Charles

For a lot of folks that is a bucket list hunt. Congrats on your success and thanks for sharing.

Eric
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Re: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
Eric Patterson wrote:
Charles

For a lot of folks that is a bucket list hunt. Congrats on your success and thanks for sharing.

Eric


Yep, same!


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: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
Funny that you southern New England guys like the lower tides. Our big tides--combined with a long history of half-tide launch sites and habitat that includes extensive low-tide mud flats--means that up here our black duck tides are planned around launching in the early-mid incoming tide, and hoping birds move the upper ends of the mud flat/salt marsh complexes at high tide. If the daylight is right, we sometimes also sit through the slack high tide when bird activity almost always shuts down and hope for moving birds on the early falling tide, too. Very few of my duck hunting friends hunt low tides on the salt.

Interestingly, Merrymeeting Bay, a freshwater tidal estuary with much smaller tidal range, does hunt well at lower tides. There, many of the creeks at low tide are still deep enough for the boat, and make for easy hiding near larger spreads of open water where a few decoys can be set.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
RLLingman, yes, the weather has played havoc on a lot of peoples seasons this year! I do feel for anyone who's seasons are closed already.

Todd, a lot of the black ducks in this area are locals. We've gotten a handful of bands over the years and they are usually banded locally as juveniles. I also don't think too many ducks have moved south so far.

Eric and Carl, I guess where you live/hunt can dictate what your bucket list hunt would be. I love hunting black ducks, they can be really tough to decoy and often don't offer more that a 30-40yd flaring pass. My bucket list though would be a limit of drake mallards on a prairie pothole, we just don't see Mallard numbers here and our limit is 2.

Jeff, we used to rush down to hunt the first light flights, but as you know the tide influences the bird activity as much or more than sunrise. A falling tide is great because many areas go dry, limiting where the birds can be and the forcing them to relocate. Also the marsh grasses here are very low and offer very little in the way of cover for a boat. Falling/low tide can make concealment much easier, but as we all know means you may be stuck until the tide comes back up.

.........................................
Recovering Engineer, Standup Philosopher, Aspiring Pirate, Cooking Enthusiast
"Life is a garden.... Dig It!"
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Re: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
Yep, bucket list species varies by location!

We rarely shot mallards where I hunted in Mobile.
Only ever saw one black duck taken, and that was by my buddy after I miffed the shot.
Cans, redheads, greater & lesser scaup, buffies and gadwalls made up 95% of my bag.

Scoters & eiders are high on my bucket list too!


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: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
That black duck is a beautiful bird. It had to be a fun hunt. I am now wondering what a black duck looks like in the mouth of a great looking black lab like you have? What a picture that would be. By the way, Charles, it is fun to shoot a limit of drake mallards. If I think about it for a few seconds, I would much rather shoot a mixed bag of pot hole birds like teal, widgeons, gadwall, pintails and mallards with an occasional Hollywood..
Continued success to you.
Allan
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Re: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
It's way too warm out for this, but we got back after it this week. My Brother hunted 5 days, I was only able to make it twice to meet up with him. Most days were pretty slow, We were fortunate to have my brothers nephew with us who was on leave from the army. He had fun bagging a few Bufflehead Drakes on Wednesday.

Monday was one of the days I got out. It was slow! There were some black ducks flying high, but not interested in us at all. It's been too warm, these ducks are almost all locals and they've seen too many decoy spreads/boats and been shot at too many times. There was one highlight though, my brother got a bucket list bird for him and for his 10 year old Drahthaar, a Drake Pintail. It bombed right in to the 3 pintail decoys we put out as an afterthought. It was our only bird of the day.




Today was also very slow, we had some action from some hen buffleheads that we decided would get a pass for the remainder of the season. We both whiffed on a black duck and connected on Black Duck.




So we'll just keep trying when we can and hope for a cold snap to bring fresh birds. I hope the new year is good to all of you!

.........................................
Recovering Engineer, Standup Philosopher, Aspiring Pirate, Cooking Enthusiast
"Life is a garden.... Dig It!"
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Re: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
I use to hunt PA more than 40 yrs. ago. What areas of the North East do you hunt? We're having a terrible season out here with the drought and warm weather
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Re: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
Was nice talking to your brother the other day, he told me about that pintail but great to see the pic!
________
Coastal NJ
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Re: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
 I should say that the season so far has been terrible here too. We're getting 2-4 ducks on very, very good days, most days we're happy if we get one or two birds to decoy. We could sit on open water and shoot buffleheads, but I don't get a whole lot of excitement out of that. Good for a young hunter, or a young dog to get retrieving work. We much prefer to try and decoy wary Black Ducks or the occasional unusual duck like that pintail.

I rarely if ever duck hunt in Pa. Early season Wood Ducks and Canada geese are the only waterfowl I see regularly in PA, Especially in the Southeastern part where I live. Mallards hang out in parks and retention ponds near housing developments and shopping centers. They fly out to the handful of remaining farms that you can't get permission to hunt or are too close to nearby houses. You could probably hunt any of the larger rivers and see some ducks. The few public land options in the area are heavily pressured for all species. Duck hunting a public area that is also stocked with pheasants is not fun and drives the dog nuts with all the shots being fired. There's also the kayakers and fisherman who will paddle or cast right through your decoys and act like you're doing something wrong for being there.

I really should consider moving. I love to duck hunt and upland hunt with my dog. I probably live in the worst state for those two activities. Grouse are disappearing, Quail are gone, Pheasants are put and take by the PGC. Warehouses are replacing cornfields in the Lehigh Valley. 10 years ago I would have put our goose hunting up against anywhere in the country, now even if bird numbers were better access is disappearing.

.........................................
Recovering Engineer, Standup Philosopher, Aspiring Pirate, Cooking Enthusiast
"Life is a garden.... Dig It!"
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Re: Black Ducks and Black Dogs... In reply to
Craig F, he told me he ran into you, wish I had made it that day. Keep up the good work, I love seeing your stuff on here and Instagram.

.........................................
Recovering Engineer, Standup Philosopher, Aspiring Pirate, Cooking Enthusiast
"Life is a garden.... Dig It!"