so i have been pounding all big water main river. i am not the type that "needs to go kill something for a successful hunt". i like being out and able to have the right and the challenge of hunting. i talk to other friends who hunt and get stories of hours of seeing not one duck ect and feel fortunate enough to see plenty of birds. i have only been at this for 5 years and am an absolute budget hunter. my buddy jeff can only hunt weekends and he made us some sweet marsh seats. so i have my blind down, now seats (basicly a lean stool) so we dont have to crouch or kneel forever. i have my decoy spread down pat, or so i thought. thought this morning would have been colder and nastier than it was. no biggie. i made a jerk string last night and was reading up on spreads. i have been doing all mallard, with a pin tail, with the mojo, without the mojo, with a couple geese ect. but this article i read said how a mixed spread can do well. i havent taken my black duck decoys with me but put two on the jerk string attatched to the mojo. stinkin awesome! outgoing tide and didnt make the string long enough. none the less i had a couple blacks coming in, we had woodies over head, mallards ect. a big set of geese came over and we should have shot at them but i thought to high. just when things are totally dead and nothing is going on the river can open up. we had two hen hooded mergansers come in and jeff took one and i missed. my dog wouldnt retrieve it though, i didnt have my canoe. we had a wounded bird two weeks ago and i went after it with the canoe and my dog chased me way out into the channel and i let the bird go. i think the big water freaked her out now, she is only 2 and she retrieved my birds last year but she wouldnt mark or even go to retrieve. i ended up trudging at least a half mile till the wind blew the bird into an eddy on a flat and i walked out with a long stick and got the bird. i only did this cause i grew up in the area and know the channel and flats like the back of my hand but none the less still some of the spots you step are 2 ft of silt and can drop to the channel really quick. i was pissed she didnt retrieve but not really at her just the situation. i know she needs more work and with having my 3rd kid last fall she really hasnt gotten the work she needs. then at home she force fetched and retrieved fine this afternoon! oh well bringing a fishing rod next time! and of course when we shot we had 100+ mallards come out the back waters and when i got back from my hike and we reset the dekes and went to blind up we had prob 30 mallards coming in. seems birds are getting close and flaring but its from our mistakes of moving. its all a learning lesson to me since other than talking with people i have had to teach myself almost everything i know. the cold this week hopefully will dump some migrators down our way. as for the dog, she may be better if the tide was up more and there was shallow water on the flat. she just needs more real experience with actual birds i think. cause with the dummy she humps in the water and swims like a fish. things are gonna come together soon for me i will crush the birds on one of the next outings.