Upper Valley Ducks

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Upper Valley Ducks

Postby otterbfishin » Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:20 pm

Not a heck of a lot going on up here. River is low, low, low. Been out three times and only seven ducks; six mallards and one hen pintail. Very rare to get a sprig up here. Cool! Responded to the come back call and came in to the deeks with wings cupped at about one hundred miles an hour! So far looks like all local ducks, no northerns yet.
My lab Tula is still haveing a problem bringing a duck back to my hand. She wants to leave it on the shore, or try to sneak off with it? Any ideas for training help? In her favor she made one really great retieve; dropped a mallard in the main current and she bolted for it. Swam almost out of sight and got me very worried, but struggled back up against the current for well over five minutes to bring it in!! Gotta love that!
How are you all doing? Just local birds?
Thanks,
Jesse
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Postby AK Ray » Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:19 am

Just local birds so far, but I have only been out once. A friend did take a fully plumed wigeon on the first week of the season and that bird was fat so he thinks it was a northern bird. Probably a western bird, but those were not plumed out at the time either based on photos over on the 'Fuge from a guy in Bethel.

I am not sure, but it sounds like force fetch training is in Tula's future. It is not hard to do, but can be hard on your soul. I recommend going to the gun dog forum of the Refuge and searching the subject of dropping birds and force fetching.

And here is some info. The 'Fuge guys all seem to support the use of the SmartWorks training books/DVDs for their dogs. I checked out the words "force fetch" and Tula's issue appears to be one of the things cured by FF training systems. Here is a link to the Evan Graham info about his trainging stuff. There is an online piece at the bottom with brief pieces of info.

http://www.gundogsupply.com/evan-graham-smartwork-smartfetch.html

I hunted the opposite corner from where we went last fall and it was alright. There were a lot of birds flying over, but few coming down. It is a hard spot to hunt by yourself since birds come from all directions.
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Postby skybust » Wed Sep 26, 2007 8:34 am

otterbfishing and Ray I sent you both pms. Chris have any of you been out hunting? Chris
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Postby ak_powder_monkey » Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:29 am

saw two plumed out mallards in J town today, make me wonder if I should be hunting ducks instead of chasing silvers and deer tough choices :hammer:
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forced fetch

Postby otterbfishin » Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:56 pm

Wouldn't you know it! Thursday I was out at my local spot at the right time(o-dark thirty) , and although the hairs on my back were tingling because of the very fresh Grizzly sign all over the sand bar, the growing morning was so beautiful that I forgot all about him. Tula, however, who normally concentrates on the decoys and the sky above, would only sit right beside me, touching me, and watch the woods behind us. This great morning wore on with no birds. Bummer! Then a single bluebill came in about 6" above the river and passing by the deeks. I took the shot and dropped him. Tula took off like a shot, taking half my makeshift blind with her for the first few yards, then bolted into the river and stroked toward the duck rapidly going downstream. She makes a great catch and worked hard back to shore. I totally expected to have to get up and go to the shoreline to get the bird, but to my total amazement she delivered the duck to my hand in the blind, thirty yards from the river bank!!!!!!!! So what's up wit that? Think she knew she was about to be forced fetched?? Who knows, but before I go that route I want to try her on more birds. With the ducks gone from the upper valley I'm hoping some of you will invite us down. I've got the deeks, and I can call 'em.
Thanks for the help,

Jesse
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Postby AK Ray » Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:47 am

Jesse, I went out the Leaf Lake on Friday and there was not much out there even though it was a "ducky" day with the wind coming from the east at 20mph or more. I saw the most birds in the slough as I ran out in the morning. There was a huge flock of bluebills on Swan lake but they were too skittish to "skull" up to in my big boat.

It looks like the birds have reached their educated level now and won't be hanging out in the popular spots any more. We need the northern birds too. I am worried that things will stay warm and then freeze solid in a few days and send them all to the coast.

Maybe Tula just needs more practice?
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AkRay

Postby otterbfishin » Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:12 pm

I really don't think it's going to freeze up any earlier than last year. We're going thru a cold period, but have faith. The northern birds will come when it freezes up north. This should start this week. I've been watching the upper valley ponds for them, but very few so far. Then we will have about two weeks before it hits here. I hope this in not just "wishfull thinking". I'll never forget the great time we had at your corner! Very special spot. How's the water depth for your boat?
Jesse
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Postby AK Ray » Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:14 am

With all the rain the last three weeks the lakes are almost up to late summer levels. The huge rock in Mud Lake was exposed about 18 inches in early September. On friday only 8 inches were above water. Once you get back up the creek into Swan there is even more water. It makes retrieving my own birds a little dicy - one of the few times I have wished I was taller.
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