Last Wednesday I lucked into single-digit lotto # (My first try here) and then was able to get the one blind that had been left open. It turned into a day that reminded me of refuge hunting in the 60's and 70's. If I had been allowed an unlimited amout of shells, I could have shot 2-3 dozen spoonbills and half that many again of teal. But, I was patient and ended up with 2 bull sprig, 4 bull widgeon and the only greenhead I saw all day. I discovered on Sat, (shoot #2) that the blind area average was 2-3 birds short (around 200 birds total) of a perfect 7.0 average that day. The day reminded me of "the ol-days" because after the early AM shoot stopped, the sky opened up, around 11, and the birds started pouring in again for a couple of hours. The numbers of birds in the sky also reminded me of times I thought were gone for good.
The day put a big smile on my face as I am celebrating my 51st year of refuge hunting and my 60th overall this new year.
The hunt on Saturday should have been as rewarding, although it was as far as getting an almost identical limit, but I was reminded, once again, that Weds "hunters" seem to be different than weekend "hunters". I got in with a very low double-digit resi and was able to get an even better blind than Weds. (meaning, to me, among other "secrets" an even shorter walk)
At 8:30 AM, I saw the first 2, out of a total of 5 for the morning, make their walk back to the lot for more shells. It only took a couple of early miracle high wounding shots to set the pattern for the rest of the day which resulted in really cranking-up the "gang-shooting" and high shot competition. There were just as many, and in fact more ducks in the sky than Weds. but they were past rifle-range. Even at that height they would jerk, rise up or turn away at every shot no matter where it came from. But, if you were patient and let the "lower-value" (If I may use that term) work/land in your decoy set the big birds would follow in. Unlike Weds, the most numerous bird in the sky seemed to be widgeon. Mid morning I thought my mini-set of decoys
were not working as good as they should have been, so I collected them all and constructed a real small tight pod. The difference was immediate! Goes to show no matter how many mud-miles you have on your boots, there's always something new to learn or try.
On Weds, the geese were too far north in the refuge, but on Sat they were all in the field(s) next to and west of the blinded area. Out of all those geese only 1 small flock of 12 specks ventured east into the blinded area and, of course, only over my blind @ about 45yds. I screwed the pooch and missed using only 2 shots. I was so damn mad from the #1 miss, and then #2, I figured they deserved a total pass and not end up crippling one only to have it go a few yards back into the closed zone. That being, if for some reason, the #3 shot happened to have a different result. Probably wouldn't have anyway. The only excuse, that I won't use, is: if you're a large person, the tanks ARE a little narrow with the end seats too close to the edge. I know, I know, it sounds pretty weak and why it didn't seem to effect my duck shooting I can't answer
These 2 hunt days are the one's we/I wait for. Nice and warm, zillions of birds, no bugs and lots of "stuff" to watch. Watching a small group of swans fly very low over the blinded area, with about 200 ducks closely, VERY closely following them was just epic.
Even if I don't manage to get out the next 3 hunt days I have had my day(s) in the sun. Literally.