I guess it's the end of season for me. Went out this morning and hiked into the slough that I hunted yesterday. Nada, zip. Well, one small flight that was heading for the jet stream going south. The upper valley is almost devoid of birds. This last storm pushed the lagers out.
Yesterday at the same spot I had a flight of five come in to the dekes right at shooting time, but they flared at the last moment and landed about 65 yards up the slough. Tula suddenly broke and bolted for them, ignoring my shouts of stay! She jumped them up and they flew out over the river and downstream. I finally called her back while fumbling for my duck call. I couldn't get it under my mask so just blew some feeble calls through the cloth, and to my utter surprise they turned and came right back into the dekes. I got a nice double but couldn't get my third shot off before they were out of range. Tula retrieved the first duck, but didn't see the second one, now drifting fast downstream into the river. At the bank I told her to drop! She did. I quickly called her to my side and lined her out on the fast drifting bird. She made a great, long, downstream retrieve! Made me proud of her, even though I was still disappointed about her bolting from the blind. First time she ever did that. Always something to work on with her. She really just doesn’t get enough time hunting to be a great dog, but at least I’m not wading or swimming after my kills anymore!
Sounds like you guys in the flats are still filling your limits and even getting a few geese. I’m envious. Going out for late fall rainbows and grayling tomorrow morning. Probably only a couple more of those trips before the line freezes in the guides and the fat lady sings for the year.
It’s been a good season though. I didn’t kill allot of ducks, but had a couple of really good hunts. One with AKRay out of Mud Lake and beyond was particularly memorable. His fine boat got us into really skinny water and also into some good birds.
Mostly I hunted by myself. Got my little aluminum skiff camo’d out and tried the hunt that Ray and I did. I didn’t get any birds, but left the landing late to do the whole thing in the light instead of the dark. If you’re not there set up at shooting time, it’s not likely you will fill your duck strap. The 10’ skiff was a marginal hunting vehicle. Not real seaworthy with all of the load that duck hunting requires. OK on quiet waters.
Here’s hoping that next year will bring a better harvest in the upper valley. Good luck and safety to all of you that are still able to chase the birds.