goldeneyes

Duck hunting for diver species like Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ringnecks, Eiders, Goldeneye and other diver ducks.

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goldeneyes

Postby woodduck31 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:40 am

Diver hunting was really slow this year. Almost no migration at all due to the lack of snow and warm temps north of us in alberta this season. We still put in a few good days, but nothing like years past. It's always interesting to me how different decoying strategies are from region to region. I hear about guys hunting with hundreds of decoys and usually we are hunting with 3-5 decoys.

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My son shot this young drake while hunting puddlers in a flooded pasture, very strange year.
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We shot this group of eyes with just two decoys. Generally there are huge rafts of several thousand ducks up stream and down stream from us. We can't hope to compete with numbers, so we set up between with a minimal spread of a half dozen or less and pull in about 30% of the birds we see . The best part is picking up the decoys, it's nice to just take one trip and pick them all up in one hand.
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Re: goldeneyes

Postby dankoustas » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:55 am

Wow, nice pics. Good looking decoys too.
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Re: goldeneyes

Postby eagles2069 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:19 am

Looks like you had some pretty good hunts. Your decoys always look so amazing. I spend hours looking at your website hoping one day one of my decoys look even half that good.
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Re: goldeneyes

Postby Mr.Pymatuning » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:05 pm

Don, I love the look of that hen goldeneye, I need to get some of your decoys, I dont know if I could hunt them though lol
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Re: goldeneyes

Postby mallard_ded » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:49 pm

VERY very nice decoys!! I too like the hen.... incredible positioning.... nothing like you see anywhere!!!!
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Re: goldeneyes

Postby woodduck31 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:52 pm

I've used that hen pose late season for a few years and honestly I've never really felt like it made any significant difference the times we've used it. I've tried a lot of different things from motion decoys, variety of poses, and a variety of species, all of which did improve our decoying success rate, but nothing compares to how much difference flocking the decoys has made. We are hunting the swift snake river and getting birds in range is not enough most of the time, especially when it comes to these hard headed hard to kill goldeneye. We really need the decoying birds within 18 yards in order to have a reasonable chance to get the birds retrieved. It's not quite a back eddy, but it slows way down and the dog has no problem getting 3 and 4 birds picked up out of a single volley as long as we drop them in the slack water. Anything outside of 25 yards is going to mean I'm following the dog down the bank for 300 yards. what that all means is I've got to get the birds in tight, no swing passes, but right in the decoys. A nice thing about using only a few decoys, you pretty much know where the birds are going to go and we always set the decoys upstream about 20 feet above the dog to give additional retrieving time since I won't send the dog until we are sure the birds are d e a d dead. We shoot a lot of species over the goldeneye decoys, I think 13 different ones so far including canada geese. Regardless of what I'm targeting, I'll always have a few goldeneye out most years. There is just something about goldeneye, they are a feast for the eyes and the ears. How many times have you been in the truck on the way home and still hear the whistle? When you shoot mallards, they fall, when you shoot goldeneye they skip three times before coming to a stop. I get talking about diver hunting and I just about can't stop.

sometimes you even get a special prize.
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Re: goldeneyes

Postby mallard_ded » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:08 pm

Another thing about goldeneye hunting I really enjoy is when you fire on them.....you think you drop them ALL!!!!! They all dive under the water.....and come out flying....if you time it right.....you have time to reload and get ready for them to come up flying. A few years back while hunting the Mississippi river near st. Louis...... we had the fortune to actually bag a banded drake common goldeneye that was banded in Bemiji Minnesota...
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Re: goldeneyes

Postby woodduck31 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:25 pm

yep, diving and then flying right out of the water, they absolutely do that, I've seen it many times. We had one a couple of years ago that really got us good. We had dropped two nice drakes and after the dog brought me the first one I headed back up the bank to deposit the bird in the pile and old Zip brought the one he got and dropped it in the pile himself. I noticed it's pupil was still a pinpoint and how it was different than the one I had put in the pile. It never occurred to me why until we had headed back for a sandwich and when we came back saw the bird slide off the bank, dive and not come up for 50 yards. That bird was laying motionless on it's back in the pile of ducks until we walked away. This is a photo of my son and one of his college baseball teammates, we had taken this newby on his first diver hunt after he had shot a limit of mallards on his first duck hunt the day before. We thought he really needed to give him a real sense of what diver hunting was all about. I think he actually shot two ducks on this hunt.

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We do a lot of combinations with goldeneye and geese. Here in our region they tend to gravitate to each other quite a bit. Goldeneye will land with geese a lot around here, so we will put a few goose decoys out on occasion.

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Re: goldeneyes

Postby BGipson » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:44 pm

Those deeks are awesome! I'm planning to do some repaints on some old Flambeau's I have. I'm really excited to be gettin out and diver hunting in this area because I am fairly new to both the area and divers. Have you ever hunted Crane Creek Reservoir or Lake Cascade? Just want to know if either location is worth my time. You can PM me if ya prefer
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Re: goldeneyes

Postby mallard_ded » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:04 pm

That's funny that you should mention the goose decoys while hunting goldeneyes..... we have actually blown goose calls at them and had way more success than trying to simulate any diver sound....they just don't seem to care about calling too much.
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Re: goldeneyes

Postby mallard_ded » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:16 pm

WOW>>>>>>>> now these decoys you made are really cool....
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Re: goldeneyes

Postby woodduck31 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:45 pm

BGipson, the photo with Caleb and the geese is about 30 minutes from you. I've never hunted Cascade, but most guys hunt that early season, I haven't hunted crane creek res either. I'm almost always on the river somewhere between Oregon and twin falls, depending on where the birds are.

One other thing I've noticed about goldeneye is they love serious activity. We use a jerk cord a lot for motion, I don't use a spinner ever anymore except on the rare occasion that we are hunting mallards in a field. I don't think you can put too much motion on the water for a goldeneye, we make our jerk cord decoys thrash and splash for them and they seem to love it.
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goldeneyes

Postby jehler » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:55 am

Nice pix wood, our season was light also, started off with a bang and then the birds figured out it wasn't getting any colder and it just kind of trickled out.

Many of the places we hunt any more than 8 to 10 goldeneye blocks and the birds don't commit. We own somewhere in the 20's dozen decoys but rarely run more than a 150 at a time. When the buffies and eyes are thick less is usually more. Bills and redheads like a lot of company though
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goldeneyes

Postby jehler » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:58 am

A jerk cord for golden eye huh?

I'm gonna try it next season, and if it doesn't work an your just putting this out there to see how many of us dummies go out and try it I will be sending a strongly worded thread in your direction lol!
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Re: goldeneyes

Postby eGrant51 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:38 am

I have a very old book on duck hunting and in it the writer suggests using very small rigs for Goldeneyes. I can remember when I was in college watching great flocks of them on Lake Onterio, out on the ice, moving from one opening to the next. That ice is not safe but the shooting would have been something. eGrant
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Re: goldeneyes

Postby woodduck31 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:51 am

the biggest hassle with the jerk cord is getting one of my boys to work it. Since we are hunting a river, I'm always set up down stream of the decoys to work the dog. You need to set things up with the jerk string to keep the dog clear on retrieves, so we always have it on the upstream side. For those of you who hunt rivers, you know how big of a deal timing is when it comes to retrieving birds. Just about everything we do is set up for retrieving. Most of the time we are hunting on foot and I don't like to lose birds and it's rare that we do, but we are selective with our shots, nothing long and nothing tall. We have a name for the shooting style we have, "the snake river effect", that is when you continue to shoot even as the bird is falling and when it hits the water every gun is on the bird until it is established that it's dead. If a bird dives it looks like a firing squad on the bank waiting for the bird to come up and the dog is not sent until we know all the birds are at least what appears to be done. My dog has picked up a habit that may not sit well with retriever trial guys, but I'm not going to discourage it, if two birds are within 10 feet of each other he will retrieve both of them. It really helps when dealing with 4 shooters and multiple birds down in river current. I just wished I could find a vest that is bigger than a 3X, he just barely fits in this one that we got at Cabelas. The first double retrieve he made was a pair of teal and when he got back I could only see one in his mouth, but when he dropped the birds in front of me there were two, he's pretty sizeable, part lab, part chessie and part hereford I think. :lol3:

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