12/28 – Today I had the absolute pleasure of hunting with Jim and Todd – while the diver hunts have been the volume hunts lately they wanted to try their best to get a sprig or a black duck (a duck jim has pursued for over 5 years with no success).
Things started out early – two black ducks screamed in between 35 and 40 yds and were gone before we could react. Then a small group of bluebills, some bufflehead and a lone gaddie drake that gave us the slip. The first duck of the day was a gorgeous drake gaddie that Jim dropped stone cold in the dekes…and it issued a few moments of pandemonium. As we were getting ready to wade out to the bird, I looked up and saw a half-dozen pintails locked up at 70 yds and coming straight in…but as we were all over the place, they flared before we could react. As Jim was getting his bird out of the dekes, we all looked left and saw a sight to behold – 12+ pintails coming in from the side and locked up at 30 yds. Everyone froze but it was too late – the opportunity had passed. In hind-sight, Jim should have shot from his position but that’s duck hunting – you never know what the birds are going to do.
We picked away at the buffies, bagged a pair of black scoters and were busted by several groups of puddlers during the day. Then, in the afternoon, I saw two birds coming straight for us at full speed and very low on the water. At 30 yds they banked straight up like fight jets and Jim connected twice with the right bird…and she coasted out into the bay for an easy retreive. He was so happy I thought I saw tears coming from his eyes! That’s why I love my job!
I also have to give it to Todd – he is so passionate about ducks and conservation that he told us he didn’t want to shoot a black duck as he already has one mounted. He even turned down the last bird of the day – a drake gadwall that coasted through the dekes at 25 yds because he thought it was a black duck. Now that’s a waterfowl hunter to admire!
We didn’t kill a ton of birds today but we accomplished several major goals and got three birds for the wall – now that’s a great day, if you ask me!
Jim’s first Black Duck
Todd’s drake black scoter – headed for the wall.
Jim with his first Gaddie!
12/29 + 12/30
Another two great days with three great people. Mark, Chad and Derrick xcame up from SC to do the coastal thing for a couple of days, for the first time and despite poor conditions (sun, little wind and warm temps) we had two great hunts.
The first day we set up for divers and did very well – besides passing on a group of bluebills that came in early, the boys put the hammer down slamming a bunch of scoters and bufflehead. The only problem was that we couldn’t seem to knock down the drakes – and several got by unscathed. 😉 The dissapointing thing was that with the mediocre conditions – the bluebills weren’t flying well today.
The second day was the more exciting day, in terms of good birds, and we’ll have to look back at the day as “the day that could have been.” We decided to pass on divers and set up for mainly puddlers. Early we had two pintail drake scream through and while everyone was still and looking at the bird working the outside of the spread…I was the only person staring at the lone drake that was cupped up right over our heads. Before anyone saw him, he was out of range. An hour later – the same thing happened.
As the day passed we had a group of 8 black ducks come screaming in, full speed a ndbank for the stars, just like the day prior – and i don’t care who you are…that’s an extremely hard shot. As I was retreiving a hen scoter, right at lunch time in high sun, four wigeon came right over the spread and were calling like mad but just simply would not commit…and would not come within 50 yds. Had I not been in the water at the time – who knows. Ducks always seem to come at the most worst time!
At the end of the day, Derrick made a tough shot and tagged a BIG drake black duck that was determined to stay away from us. Despite being hit hard, the bird coasted and landed in some of the absolute thickest marsh grass you can imagine…an extensive search yielded nothing and as derrick was preparing to look elsewear, the bird flushed behind him and landed in even thicker grass. We look for over two hours and didn’t find it – we were all heart-broken and I am sure Derrick will be seeing that bird in his dream for quite a while.
Again – it was a great hunt with great guys. I look forward to hopefully having you back in the future.
For Divers, puddlers, lay-out boat hunting – and great mixed bag hunting…give us a call!![/b]