I didn’t do much with the reports page this year, mainly because we booked the days we wanted as we only guide 4 days per week as we want to rest our best blinds and better take advantage of the best weather (aka, shuffling days if possible. It’s also because I wanted to cut down on the “cyber scouting.” While there are a lot of folks out there that are great people, there are many others who are just looking for information to abuse. It can be killer when duck hunting. I would much rather have folks email me to ask for advice or bird numbers – I am almost always willing to help. 😀
This year was interesting, much better than last year but lacking in other areas.
We had a good second split – we had early wigeon, a few sprigs and a bumper crop of the prettiest gadwall that I have ever seen. While I only made it out a few times (I rarely guide during the 2nd split but will take down names if people are willing to make a last second trip).
The third split was good – when we had the weather. Puddle Duck numbers were good – lots of gadwall this year, a few wigeon, decent pintails but very few teal. Black Duck numbers seemed to be a little less than the past couple of years, but that is hard to say – how many we decoy is completely arbitrary.
Seaduck numbers were pretty steady, but not excellent – the layout boat was extremely productive, as it always is. The buffleheads were also here in great numbers – providing plenty of opportunities on most days.
What was absent for us, in the areas we hunt, were bluebills – we have not had good numbers in the decoys for a couple of years now. While I do have areas that produce good numbers, the problem is is that we don’t see much else when we hunt them….so it’s usually a better bet to set up in a more mixed-bag location. We did kill a fair number of red heads this year – mostly singles and small flocks. But a redhead is always a real prize down here at the coast!
I didn’t take many pictures this year, but I used the cell phone when need be and did pack out my camera a few times when i new the conditions were good.
Here are some pictures of our best third split hunts – as my clients know, I don’t book hunts to exclusively chase puddle ducks as it is just too difficult to produce day in and day out. BUT if the weather is right and the birds are here…you can do very, very well.
Opening day – 3 man limit of gads, wigeon, 2 greater scaup and 2 sprigs. AMAZING day – weather was perfect and at shooting light we had huge flocks of birds working us. I will remember this day for the rest of my life!
My most memorable bag ever – 2 gads, a big bull wigeon, a pintail and an awesome greenhead (very rare in the salt!)…I’d hope to round it out with a black duck but it didn’t happen. In hindsight, shouldn’t have passed on those gads…
Mike and co came down to do something a little bit different…and while we had TERRIBLE conditions, we did scratch out a few birds. A mixed bag of buffs on day 1 during slick calm conditions and on day 2, some buffs and a gorgeous pair of blacks in the thickest fog (And slick-ass calm conditions) that you can ever see…in fact, with less than 40 yds of visibility at times our farthest decoys (30 yds) were almost obscured. We had hoped to layout hunt that day…but its just too dangerous in such fog.
Andy and Nick – we had crappy weather last year but did much this time around. An awesome bag of gads and a couple wigeon. While day 2 was a little slower, I will always remember you guys for wiffing that pair of sprigs and those five big blacks we jumped! Great to have y’all here!
Decent conditions – wind, cold and some early clouds…several gads and a monster sprig!
Mission accomplished – an amazing red head.
Coldest day of the year (12 degrees at 3am) – shoreline ice like I haven’t seen in years.
LAst day of the season with Stephen and his dad – what an awesome day. Great company and a great shoot – we had a few groups of 20+ gads and wigeon work right out of range but had several pairs and singles come to the dekes. Trust me, we should had a couple more teal and gads in there too 😉 Look forward to seeing y’all next year!