Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mallard City

It is mallard city, almost.  The next day after the big weather push, members in the club hit the blinds again ready for a big shoot.  They were not disappointed.  The mallards were coming, but what was interesting, the birds were very young.  The traditional green head did not have a mature green head, but only partial and this is the sign of a young bird. 

Still the boys had a great shoot and bagged seventeen mallards by 10 AM.  And now the rest of the day's story.  My friend John and his dog were out in the lake picking up a cripple and here they came.  I was not there, but I have verified the story from two people.  In the middle of the lake was John and his fine dog, Junior.  Here came twenty giant Canada Geese all locked up and ready to land in the water.  What do the hunters do.  Nothing of course because there is nothing to do but wait to see how it unfolds. 

John grabbed Junior and stood still.  The birds hooked to the southwest and came back right over the top of the blind.  One hunter had a safe shot and took it, dropping the bird right near the blind.  The nineteen then went on their way.  It never fails.  You can wait and wait with a clear sky, but if you get out of the blind, the birds will show up.  I have hunted since I was a boy, and this always held true. 

Junior bringing in a drake
The next morning the weather had totally moved out, and the wind was forcasted out of the west.  This was not the best conditions, but if you have time to go hunting, go.  A person should always remember that a bad day of hunting is better than a great day at work.

There were just two of us in the blind.  This man is one of my favorite people, and we had a lot to talk about in the blind.  There is nothing like great company whenever you hunt or fish.

As we walked up the path to the blind, geese on both sides of the walkway were startled and took off.  Farther up the walkway small groups of ducks were startled and headed to the north. We were in the blind well before daylight. We could just make out the shadows of the birds as they flew over the blind.  The wind was not from the west but more to the north. We did not have to move a decoy or re-set the wing decoys.

It was not long after shooting time when a group of birds started circling high above us.  We could hear the hens quack as they started to lock up and glide down toward the blind.  We did not call or make one bit of noise.  The plan was to be patient and wait to see if they would end up in front of us locked up and ready to land.  They would start from the south heading north and lock up. Then just before they were in gun range, they pumped up into the dark sky and circled overhead.  This happened several times, but the plan was to wait.  It was worth it.  Once they had flown north and and south of the blind without flaring, they locked up.  Meat was on the table.  This was a beautiful shot and demonstrated the patience of letting the birds be birds.  We never called one time. 

Five nice young mallards

Once the ducks leave Canada, all they hear are duck calls and shotgun shells going off.  Several more groups of ducks worked the blind, but stayed high.  The feeling was they were local birds and their butts had been burned before at the club blind.  

Then two Canadas came to the blind and they were really big.  It was as if they were blocking out the sun.  We harvested both of them. Each one must have been at least twelve pounds.

These are really nice big birds
While we were picking up the Canadas, here came three mallards.  We dropped down on our knees, the birds went behind us, and then came up from the south.  The locked up just south of the decoys and when in gun range, we dropped all three. 

 The drakes we picked up were not fully mature and could have been a late hatch. They also must have left their nesting ground early. This had been the consistent pattern with all the mallards shot since the first of November.

It was 9:30 AM, and the two of us had experienced a great morning.  We folded up by 10 AM. 

This is as good as it can get.

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Good hunting, good fishing and good luck.  Hank

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