I keep hearing all this talk about there being no birds at the coast – welp, me and the birds we’ve been shooting this week sure didn’t get that memo! One group I had this week (from Thurs-Sat) killed almost 35 birds in three days between 3 guys! Well, we never limited out but we did average almsot 4 birds per hunter and that’s nothing to complain about!
The group I mentioned was the Hundley group from Georgia – these guys were a blast to be around and were serious shooters. If it flew – they could knock it down….and they made some incredible knock-downs during the time they were here! AWESOME!
Day 1 (1/4) – This was the slowest of all three days. It was slick calm and sunny – we had good bluebill action in the morning and found a few scoters and some pretty red-breasted mergansers (Bob is a very skilled waterfowl taxidermist and was looking for a good mount). The problem we had today was all the clam kickers out in the sound – we had a few fools drop their dredges within 200 yds of our spread. They kept more than a few groups of birds from coming in…but we still ended the day with about 10 birds. Not bad if you ask me!
Day 2 (1/5) – It was supposed to be windy but it was instead slick calm and extremely foggy. The morning started off very good for the first 15 minutes – we pagged a pair of bufflehead (including a HUGE drake), a bluebill and a mature drake bluewing teal (an awesome kill for the third split!). Cody (the youngest in the party) was also surprised by first by 3 goldeneyes and then by 3 black ducks that dropped out of the fog on top of the decoys but flared just before he could react.
However, the kickers decided that they wanted to look for clams in my spread so i decided to move. We hauled the blocks mid-morning and moved to a spot to find some scoters and peace. Well, we found some birds. By lunch time the fog lifted and the wind started to howl and the birds started moving – and we had HOT action between 12 and 3pm! The first bird down was a gorgeous drake Gadwall that Paul is going to have put on the wall. After that, we had single and small groups of scoters coming in every few minutes. We also got busted by several more groups of gadwall (who all wanted to land with my diver decoys??), black ducks, bluebills and other scoters that just gave us looks.
In the end we bagged about 12 birds – 1 blue bill, 2 bufflehead, 1 BW Teal, 1 Gaddie and 7 Scoters. That’s some incredible variety!
Day 3 (1/6) – It was 70 degrees but today we had the WIND (WSW 20+ knots). I dropped cody off at a secluded spot with a few dekes so he could try to bag a black duck….and we went on to look for a mixed bag and some divers. For us, between 6:45 and 10 it was HOT. First thing, we were buzzed at 10 yds by 2 greenwings that took us by surprised, then we had two gadwall cup up and hover for about 2 minutes (they wanted to land with the divers but just wouldnt break 40 yds) so we fired but missed with them right inside 40yds. Then the bluebills came in waves – huge waves with groups working the decoys as i retrieved dead birds, etc. etc. etc. We killed 4 very fast. Then came the bird of the trip – a monster bull black duck cupped up and came straight down into the decoys…one of the best decoying blacks i have ever seen. We came staight in ona string and Bob laid him out at 25 yds! Bob hunts all over the continent for waterfowl (including Alaska this year!) and this was his first black duck in 25 years – and it was a great one at that. This drake was HUGE and old – a serious trophy and is headed for a glass case 😀
After that, I went to pick up cody and when i arrived – he looked at me funny and told me he’d messed up. He had three black ducks circle his little spread for 5 minutes before a single broke off, cupped up and came straight down into the dekes. With the bird at 25 yds, his feet about on the water – this crack shot (who could layout a merganser or bufflehead at 40 yds with the wind at his back) who was so excited by the prospect of bagging the most difficult waterfowl to decoy, missed three times. I know he’ll be dreaming of that bird for a long, long time.
As we rode back to the main spread, I could see Bob’s smile from a mile away. When I was gone – he laid out a DRAKE GOLDENEYE (these guys are not common in NC)!!! Well, while Bob has shot his fair share of Goldeneye’s in his time – he claims this drake was as big and mature as you can ever hope for….you can better believe its headed for the wall and a glass case.
By lunch time, the action slowed – but we still managed another bluebill and a scoter and we could have had a couple of gadwall in the early afternoon when 4 gave us a serious look…these guys just wanted to get all 4 to get in range so they gave up a shot on a close one…. no big deal though, we still ended up with a dozen birds 😀
I have to say that these guys were some seriously skilled hunters and it was incredible sharing a blind with them – I will hopefully see them in the future for some layout boat hunter…and when we have some colder weather.
1/3 – Today I hunted with the Nisbet party – they were great guys and we had a fantastic time. The morning started off good – first bird ws a drake goldeneye that came screaming in and banked at 15 yds and the shooter on the left did not see him in time – but everyone got a good shot at another drake goldeneye a few hours later but we still let him get by 😉 Early, we had more than a few bluebills give us good lucks and GW and Heath each killed a Greater Scaup (aka a blackhead) to start the day. Over the course of the morning we had some great looks and bagged a couple scoters, a bufflehead and a few merganers. We would have had epic bluebill action if it wasn’t for all the clam kickers who would gladly drop their gear within 200 yds of our spread… We also had a good look at 3 pintails who buzzed us when i was out reteiving a scoter. We still ended up with some action and had a great day. Good job guys!