Monday, September 14, 2015

The Rocket Duck Arrives

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September 5th was the opener for Teal season in Nebraska.  We even get them well into November, but not in the flocks that you see in early September.  The temperature for the opener was a balmy 80 degrees and warming up to 90 later in the day.  We do not hunt much past 10 AM as the traffic all takes place in the early morning.  The birds then seem to disappear, but they will probably sit down in a pothole or open water area and stay cool.

Hard Core Decoys Blue-Winged Teal Duck Decoys

Hard Core Decoys Blue-Winged Teal Duck Decoys
Click on the link or the picture and buy from Bass Pro.  You will need Teal decoys to bring them to you.

What goes with hunting this time of the year?  It is the mosquito.  In the early morning when it was not windy we had a lot of bugs and did a lot of swatting.  Once a good breeze was up, they seem to disappear.  A lot of repellent was used.  In addition the Thermacell Mosquito Repellent was fired up and kept in the blind.  These units really work and it was a blessing to have them.

ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent with Refill - RedHead Edition

ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent with Refill - RedHead Edition
Click on the link or the picture to buy from Bass Pro.  I highly recommend this product. 

We do not sit down and hide in the blinds. There is not time to stand up and mount a shotgun inside your shoulder as the birds are moving too fast.  The guns are laid out in front of each shooter pointing toward the decoys and that is your space to shoot forward.  There is no swinging as you would be swinging into the person next to you.  When the birds come, we must lead them or let them land and take them as they come off the water.  Trying to Arkansas them on the water is a really bad idea as that is the way to wreck a lot of expensive decoys.  Up and down they fly, swooping up into the air and then diving down low and skimming across the water.  They seem to group up into a ball and then spread out always keeping up the speed.  They come from any direction and the order of the day is not to move around much.  It is not that we are all poking up out of the blinds, it is the movement that will spook them.  We all use number 6 shot or smaller and shoot with an open choke.  We need all the spread we can get.
Blue wing teal in flight. 

Shooting time was around 6:30 AM and it was just getting light enough when they came.  We could hear their wings beating against the air as they swept in above the decoys at their usual high speed.  Then they were gone for a time.  We waited as they hooked around and then came back to the decoy spread at a different angle, always maintaining that high speed.

Two blinds were full for the opener.  Fourteen hunters were all bathed in sweat as the first flock swung in from the north and almost set down in the decoys.  Of twelve birds in the flock, and with all that firepower, we were able to drop six.  It was just barely light, but we could make out each flock as they sped by our position just above the decoys.  With each flock we harvested several birds.  Then they were gone and we waited for the next group to pass by in front of us.

Green wing teal in flight. 

As the sun came up the shooting became considerably less.  The birds did not fly as low and sped by in front of the blinds.  They seemed to maintain a higher altitude before making a commitment.   We did not pick up birds after each harvest but left them in the water as another flock would be right behind them. 
Buck Gardner Calls Teal Call Polycarbonate Duck Call - Clear/Blue
When they are hooking around and not committing, try a Teal call.  This is the one used by a couple of hunters in our group and it really brought them back.  Click on the picture or the link and buy from Bass Pro.
As it became lighter and there were fewer flocks, the dogs were sent out to do their thing and retrieve all the birds. This was probably the best part of the day watching the dogs at work.  After picking up the harvest, we left and were all gone by 10 AM.

These ducks were really small, but they did have a really nice breasts.  With the breasts removed from the ducks and all skinned out, they will make excellent table fare.  

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank


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