Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pintails, Widgeon, Gadwall and Teal

Gander Mountain

The weather snapped cold with driving winds from the north and a cold front moving south rapidly out of the Dakotas.  It was time for the birds to come south riding the north wind ahead of and with the frontal passage.

Nineteen hunters in three blinds huddled as they waited patiently for shooting time to begin.  Forty acres of open water was waiting for thirsty birds as they headed south and the club had it all waiting.  The corn was picked in the surrounding fields so the area had it all to offer the tired, thirsty, and hungry ducks.
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As the hunters walked into the blinds, the sky exploded with the ducks off the lake as they were spooked into jumping into the air and heading for some safety.  They always come back after a bit of feeding on that fine Nebraska corn left over in the fields after harvest.  They need water to wash it all down and sand in their gizzards to grind it all up.  The club has it all.

When shooting time came, it was one flock after another that decoyed into the lake.  Not much circling was done.  They just locked up and dropped in, feet extended and back pedaling as they dropped into the water.  This was outstanding duck shooting.  The strong north wind just held them over the water as they dropped down into the lake.  Even if you were a bad shot, you didn't miss today.
RedHead Pothole Combo Duck Decoy Set

Thank goodness someone was taking a steady count of what was taking place, as by 10 AM it was all over.  A limit of ducks was harvested for each of the nineteen hunters.  It cannot get much better than that.  The general feeling was that by the next day with the number of birds piling in, it would be even better.

The bags were totally mixed and to the surprise of everyone, there were some Mallards in the bag.  The hope was that with the fast moving front, it would push some out of the Dakotas.  Two of our club hunters were hunting in North Dakota and reported that the Mallards were pouring in out of Canada.  Now we needed something to push them down to Nebraska.  The bad news was there was plenty of open water, the crops were all out, and there was plenty of feed on the ground to keep them there.  Without snow on the ground we had to wait for the really big gigantic push.

HEVI-Shot HEVI-Metal Waterfowl Shotshells

The next day only 11 hunters showed up for what was to be another day like the day before.  However, it was not to be.  The lake did not hold any birds from the night and that is usually a bad sign.  On the other hand, there was a lot of open water in the Tekamah area, and the fields were open and picked so they could be anywhere.

Shooting time came and a small flock of birds worked the area.  They did not drop in as before but were more cautious.  They had their butts burned yesterday and remembered the sting of the steel shot.  They finally could not resist a drink of water and came within gun range and were promptly dispatched.  With a good north wind we let the dead birds drift down to the south shore.  There was no sense in getting out of the blind and having another group start to work with people out in the lake gathering up ducks.

The second flock repeated the same process.  First they took a look and then they circled a couple of times before dropping into gun range.  Shooting was good and more were harvested.  The flocks were much smaller than yesterday which was an indication they were spread out over the bottoms doing what ducks do, eating corn, drinking water, and eating sand to get the needed grinding for their gizzards.

By 9 AM the wind had really subsided and the flocks now were few and far between.  By 10 AM the wind went totally dead calm and we were staring at a clear blue sky.  This was not good duck hunting weather.  Still everyone went home with some birds.

By 11 AM, it was time to call it quits.  The wind had moved to the south and could not even be called a wind, but a light breeze.  The decoys just sat still in the water with no movement.  It was time to go.  This was still a good morning.  It beats work any day.

Gander Mountain


Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank.


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