Sunday, November 28, 2010

Four days of Ducks Part1

Day 1
It can hardly get much better. The first part of the week, Canda Geese had migrated into the club's lake. This was a good sign that waterfowl was on the move. With almost 40 acres of water, there must have been a thousand Canada geese, and two hunters had their limits shortly after shooting time.

When Friday came, I was ready to go. Up at 4 AM, on the road by 4:30 AM arriving at the Big Chicken in Tekamah for breakfast. There I teamed up with 4 other club members. The wind was really strong from the south. Not good, as we would have preferred a northerly flow. As we walked into the blind, there were no birds in the lake. Then the wind went dead calm. We usually do not like this type of condition, and there was a heavy overcast with limited visibility. As shooting time came visibility improved, but there was nothing working the lake.

To the north three blinds opened up. One volley after another for about 10 minutes and then all went quiet.  Now this group is not happy.  Why are they getting shooting and we are not? Everyone remained very quiet and communication was all with stares of bewilderment. When it is dead calm, you do not talk, you wispher. The birds can hear the noise from the ground. The metal blinds buried in the ground are like an ampliphifers. Then here they came, one flock after another. The ducks just dropped out of the bottom of the overcast and locked up over the blind  With wings cupped followed by a few short quick calls, it was shooting time. With no wind, angles were not the best and I must confess, I have seen better shooting, but we were getting action. This went on over and over again for about 90 minutes with pauses of 15 minutes in between.  Flocks of five to ten birds, mostly mallards dropping in on us. We would be outside picking up birds and they still tried to drop in. Periodically a quick flight of green wing teal streaked by, giving a brief opportunity, and with the quality of shooting, it was only brief. A few gadwall and widgeon went to the freezer, but the mallards made up most of the bag. With the restriced visibility, it was quick and when we came up, the birds pumped skyward like they were on an elevator.  By noon, the low overcast had burned off, and we pulled up with nice limits ducks.  Excitement had ran high, and it was a finish to a great morning.

Day 2

The weather changed again.  The temperature dropped almost to freezing, the humidity spiked upward, and the wind blew strongly from the Northeast.  This is duck and goose weather.  It was obvious migration was taking place and the lake was holding a fair amount of birds as we walked to the blinds in the dark.  There was twelve hunters today, and whenever the weather turns blustry, the club members turn out.  Our pit blinds run north and south and and we face east on a north south penisula. With the wind now switching to the east, the birds would be decoying into the wind and would be coming in from behind us on their final approach.   This makes shooting a little difficult as you have to turn around to shoot.  Also, initially they were staying south of the blinds and then finishing moving east northeast into the wind. The wind was really kicking up, and when we came up, they went up like they were on a rocket.  It was a bone chilling cold with heavy humidity. 

We were getting birds working us about every thirty minutes with small to medium flocks of five to fifteen birds.  We also had Jim James in the blind and when he is with us this changes the whole dimension.  Jim is the former owner of Carlson Calls and 1996 National Grand Champion Duck Caller.  This is an amazing thing to watch and to hear a professional at work.  They just talk right back to him.  Jim Beck, Olympic Gold Medal Winner for Trap Shooting, was also with us.  Wow, does he make a difference.  I have never seen Jim miss a shot.  So if everyone else shot poorly, rest assured the club would have success.

Now for the best part of the day.  A flock of Canada geese started to work us.  There must have been 100 geese in the flock, and it is rarely that we get into that many at once.  They made two passes around the lake, dropping down with each pass. You could tell these birds were tired watching their wings pump. If they had flown any distance, they were thirsty too.  Then strung out in a string, they locked up and floated towards the blind.  The first few birds flew over the blind, but the balance was behind when the shot was called.  You had your choice, shoot to the east on the birds getting ready to land, or take the ones right behind.  It was great. Members began leaving with limits of birds, but the flight of Canadas coming in was the highlight of the day.

The next two days are just as exciting.  Good fishing, good hunting, and good luck. Hank

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