Friday, December 6, 2013

They Flew South Riding the North Wind

An enormous cold front moved southeast out of Canada and a low pressure rolled out of the southwest carrying a lot of moisture.  Then they collided. This brought inclement weather with powerful winds out of the north and precipitation.  This was duck weather, and the hunters turned out in force.
The decoys are pushed up to the weed line in the calmer water
Besides all the hunters, you get a lot of long underwear showing up.  You have to get to the blind, but after that you are sitting below ground level with padded seating and propane heat.  It is called "gentlemen hunting."  When I was a boy we had to walk into a marsh to get to open water.  We would then put out about 12 to 18 decoys or as much as we wanted to carry.  Then we carved out a blind of weed and still stood in the water.  The clothing was wool and heavy, not anything like the modern fabrics we have today.  However, on this day who cares how much inclement weather we have to put up with.  It is warm inside.  
Heads are down to stay out of the wind.  Three blinds are lined up in a row heading north with 20 acres of water on each side.

It started slow.  The wind switched to the northeast.  While it was still northerly, for good shooting we wanted a northwest blow.  The birds came in small to medium flocks.

They eat really good.
With the wind, they would have to swing over the top of the blinds and then make a hard turn into the wind to land.  These were not the best shots, but with 20+ hunters, meat was dropped.  They locked up and almost fell from the base of the clouds.

Olympic Gold Medal winner for trap shooting.
Traveling with the wind, the flocks would break formation, wings would lock up and it looked like they were falling out of the sky.  Then with a few pumps with the wings to stabilize themselves, the legs would drop down and into the decoys they came. 
Ernie likes Canada Geese

Watching migrating ducks drop out of the sky is a sight to witness.  On this day we were seeing a lot of tired and thirsty birds.
The best part of the day is the dogs in action

While the shooting was outstanding, the best part of any day is the dogs.  With two dogs on hand, they went to work bringing in the dropped birds.  The best part of a well trained dog, is you almost never lose a cripple.  
Here comes Jackson with a nice fat mallard

As a boy we did not hunt with a dog.  I felt it lucky just to have the opportunity to get out and try my hand at shooting and half freezing to death.  We shot lead then, and I do not remember having cripples.  Most of the time they fell dead, but today with the requirement to shoot steel, the parameters change.  Steel does not have the density of lead and loss of energy takes place over the distance to the target.  This is now being changed with different types of non toxic shot, increasing the velocity, and different metals more dense than lead.  The hunters in the club shoot about everything.
Cooking deer sausage.  How much better can it get than that

Limits were easily filled with a few mallards, but we harvested a larger number of smaller ducks on previous hunts. 
A flight of Canada geese setting up and locking up to come into the blinds.
 By mid morning the Canada geese started to decoy.  Again the shooting was excellent.  The day ended early with the decoys being pulled and the ice beaten off to get things ready for the next day.

Another excellent shooter
These are great days and it is what hunting along the Missouri River bottoms is all about.
It is not all fun, there is work to do.

I just bought this book for my Kindle. 

Hammacher Schlemmer

Bass Pro Shops

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank


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