Rate this Season

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Rate this Season

Postby luie b » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:31 pm

On a scale of 1-10, rate this season. Then you can say why. I just want to hear what everyone thinks. It seems like the duck hunting was spotty this year where some areas did great and other areas were in a "duck drought."

I'd give this year a 6 and last year a 4. For me it was like this. First week of central zone opener was unreal for opening weekend for me, had mallards all over and plenty of big groups of wood ducks migrating through. It stunk because a cold front came through before season and all our local wood ducks who had been using my holes had all left. After the first week it got warm again and I had a couple weeks of slowness where I only killed maybe 2 ducks. Had spotted cold fronts through the month of November but not enough cold weather to get steady ducks through. Early December sucked for me and had really warm weather and even went through a week or two where I never even SAW a duck. But then like they flipped a switch the first snowstorm of the year and freeze up lit up the field hunting for me and i would see thousands of ducks and we killed some ducks and geese but had troubles getting hidden enough to get birds committing. So far goose season hasn't been all that great recently because of birds moving around so much but until a few days ago we had thousands of geese and maybe I'll get onto some more before season closes.
**2014-2015 Illinois Waterfowl Season**
Blue-winged teal - 16
Green-winged teal - 4
Wood Ducks - 1
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Re: Rate this Season

Postby redleggs » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:47 pm

This season was a 10. I would rank it as one of the best if not the best in my 43 years of duck hunting. I personally bagged 160 ducks in 45 days hunting. Our group of three hunters hunted public ground in the SC zone. We bagged approximately 475 ducks. Most of the days we hunted two to group as one partner quit duck hunting when fur bearer season came in and then the second partner began to hunt. We did hunt with guests on some occasions. Most hunts were on public ground after daylight. The migration peaked the week before SC zone youth hunt with over 100k around for the main opener. I bagged four mallards on only one occasion - the last day of season, although, I would estimate mallards made over 50% of my bag. I bagged 26 bull sprigs. We had great numbers of bonus ducks around all season with two weeks of exclusive diver hunting during the big freeze. Pintails, gadwall, shovelers and green wing teal were around in great numbers all season long. We hunted out of kayaks except during the freeze when we hunted big water out of jon boat blinds. I would estimate the mallard migration was only 1/3 to 1/2 completed by season end. The balance showed up within days after the season closed. Weather was more favorable than not with good winds moderate temps and a lot of sun. The initial push of birds hung around until the end of December and became very stale. The migration came in three phases about 20 days apart.This was a good thing as it decreased hunting pressure and the quality of hunting actually increased if you knew what to do and when to do it. All in all it was a most rewarding season.
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Re: Rate this Season

Postby luie b » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:54 pm

redleggs wrote:This season was a 10. I would rank it as one of the best if not the best in my 43 years of duck hunting. I personally bagged 160 ducks in 45 days hunting. Our group of three hunters hunted public ground in the SC zone. We bagged approximately 475 ducks. Most of the days we hunted two to group as one partner quit duck hunting when fur bearer season came in and then the second partner began to hunt. We did hunt with guests on some occasions. Most hunts were on public ground after daylight. The migration peaked the week before SC zone youth hunt with over 100k around for the main opener. I bagged four mallards on only one occasion - the last day of season, although, I would estimate mallards made over 50% of my bag. I bagged 26 bull sprigs. We had great numbers of bonus ducks around all season with two weeks of exclusive diver hunting during the big freeze. Pintails, gadwall, shovelers and green wing teal were around in great numbers all season long. We hunted out of kayaks except during the freeze when we hunted big water out of jon boat blinds. I would estimate the mallard migration was only 1/3 to 1/2 completed by season end. The balance showed up within days after the season closed. Weather was more favorable than not with good winds moderate temps and a lot of sun. The initial push of birds hung around until the end of December and became very stale. The migration came in three phases about 20 days apart.This was a good thing as it decreased hunting pressure and the quality of hunting actually increased if you knew what to do and when to do it. All in all it was a most rewarding season.

Yea you're guys's season opener was probably right on the money as far as dates go. Central zone kind of gets screwed over. So you said you killed all those ducks from kayaks? I just bought myself a fishing kayak this year and am planning on using it a bunch next year, how big of water did you use those on?
**2014-2015 Illinois Waterfowl Season**
Blue-winged teal - 16
Green-winged teal - 4
Wood Ducks - 1
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luie b
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Posts: 1091
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:42 pm
Location: Western Illinois (Hancock County)

Re: Rate this Season

Postby gearhead80 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:33 am

I would rate my season a 9. First off I got to get out and hunt a lot this year. All the work I put into the boat this summer gave me the ability to hunt more places better. The duck season as far as the birds wasn't the greatest but always managed to scratch a few with a couple limits here and there. With all the time being out I learned a great deal this year about where to go when as far as wind direction and weather. As far as late goose season goes, I got out and drove up and down the river trying to scout the birds and boy did it pay off!! I have never seen the action like we had from NYE to the end in the northern zone. We ended up with several 3 and 4 man limits, 2 6 man limits and even a 7 man limit on the last weekend usually being done shooting by no later than 11am. It was unreal having 20-60 geese working the decoys like mallards then coming in trying to land 20 yards from the boat. I also got to introduce 5 of my friends to waterfowl hunting this season, and they are hooked. I still have a lot of work to do with my 1st season dog, but she was still fun to have in the boat with us. Hopefully next season will be just as good or maybe even better. :beer:
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Re: Rate this Season

Postby redleggs » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:36 pm

The kayak I used was an AQUAPOD Sport. It has a 4 foot beam and is 10 feet long. We hunt in an area that is wadable for the most part unless you travel on the river which we did some days to get to our destination. We do not hunt out of the kayaks unless there is no other option and we are in very shallow water with no cover to hide. Shooting from a KAYAK is not comparable to hunting a lay out blind. It is much more restrictive. The birds pretty well have to be in your face. We use them for transport primarily and have folding panel blinds we use to hunt on corn edges , buck brush etc. Some are brushed for corn and some darker for smart weed. When hunting corn I carry some clipped smart weed AVERY KILLER WEED to clip to the panels if the need to be darkened up. We use 2-4 dozen decoys of which about half are ALWAYS bull sprigs. Mojos were used bout 75% of time but they were on intermittent timers. Used jerk cords a lot also when wind was less than favorable.
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