ducks circling for hours???

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ducks circling for hours???

Postby filletfetish » Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:58 pm

I hunted a cornfield today...we spotted the birds mid morning, but suspect they had been there longer. Hundreds of birds would just cirlce, fly off to another part, and come back. We managed a few birds, but I think they wised up quick, and flew over farther in the field. It was like a continuous cyclone of birds until just before sunset.

In the few hours we were there, only a few of the hundreds would drop, and they'd be right back up. At one point, EVERY bird disappeared, but within 5 minutes, they were back up circling again. This was something I've never witnessed, and just wondered if anyone had an insight on what this behavior was about. It was overcast, so it's not uncommon to see birds fly all day, but the back and forth, coupled with the continuous whirlwind of birds in one spot has me stumped.
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Postby patrick.carrington » Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:32 pm

Welcome to duck hunting in a field :biggrin: Almost every time I go for a field duck hunt, that happens with a few of the groups. I found that a ton of noise is what they like with lots of movement. At one point toward the end of the season we had a jerk sting on shells in the snow, they love it. Was pretty funny to watch.
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Postby Skyblaster7 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:26 am

Sounds like they were feeding somewhere else and you weren't using mojos. Were you using mojos? If so, then they seem like pressured birds that are feeding somewhere else.
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Postby filletfetish » Fri Dec 19, 2008 6:45 am

Three mojo's and a dozen FB mallards, even set up a few geese behind us.

I guess the irony to me seemed to be that they had to be using far more energy than need be. Went back and tried to find birds the day after, to no avail. We were where the birds were, but like I said, while getting setup, the cyclone moved a little farther west, but still within view. When a hundred or so birds are flying out, they had very little interest in our spread, because there was a cyclone that held much more attention. The only shooting we did get was when they were flying back, then they were somewhat workable.

I just don't see how flying over an area for at least 6 hours, only to feed for a couple of minutes, was productive......It would be like climbing Mt. Everest every time you got hungry, but only for a hotdog!!
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Postby Timbo4 » Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:03 pm

I have been there and experienced that....although not for 6 hours. We had a mojo going, a couple dozen goose dekes, some mallard dekes. We tried everything, moving the blinds back from the decoys, switching mojo location, repositioning the dekes, re-did our blinds in with more corn stalks. The only thing that worked was the moving the mojo, and that only brought in one bird...which suprised us and I think it escaped unharmed.

Ducks are smarter than most people give them credit for. The best time to blast them is that first flight in the morning when it is still pretty dark out and just before dark in the evening. Although, in early goose season when you can't shoot them, they seem to come right in and land on top of ya.
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Funny Thing

Postby pmahler » Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:39 pm

I have had some similar situations this year.

The Canada birds we hit up in Sask in mid October were finishing early & often...though as the hours went on the birds were less & less prone to finish, multiple circles (2 mojos, 75 to 100 snows & a dozen mallard shells). 345 to 530pm heavy action, the later it got the slower it got.

I had a hunt 2 weeks ago, stubble field, nice south wind, saw a few birds (maybe 50 working this field where i got permission & a couple hundred working the field I didn't get permission further north)..went with 2 Mojos, 2 dozen standups mallards in 2 pockets out front, space to land in between & goose shells helping conceal our blinds...these birds finished like nothing I've ever seen....barely circling once & coming on a bee-line from miles away. Morning hours were the best.

Had a hunt a couple days ago where we spotted THOUSANDS of ducks in a corn field with snow the night prior....good NW wind, light snow, 4 blinds, 3 dozen standups & 2 robo's, some geese mixed in...these birds would NOT finish hard...had a couple that would but out of 28 ducks shot we had only 3 doubles (& we weren't missing - average shot was 30+ yards). It was super strange...middle of the day too. didnt leave a pocket in middle for them to land in.

I agree that mornings are best...I firmly believe in using the mojos...I think that Northerners are more likely to finish, just as hungry ducks are...I believe that the smaller groups you can get out of big flocks are the way to go (maybe you'll get lucky & pull in a 50+ group), dont pass up on finishing birds just cause a big group is behind them, wind is key, geese help I think to conceal your blinds...but mostly I dont have an answer because I've had a surplus of scenarios where certain tactics have worked in one place & others in another...friggin mystery boys, just my two cents
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Postby Skyblaster7 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:34 am

filletfetish wrote:Three mojo's and a dozen FB mallards, even set up a few geese behind us.

I guess the irony to me seemed to be that they had to be using far more energy than need be. Went back and tried to find birds the day after, to no avail. We were where the birds were, but like I said, while getting setup, the cyclone moved a little farther west, but still within view. When a hundred or so birds are flying out, they had very little interest in our spread, because there was a cyclone that held much more attention. The only shooting we did get was when they were flying back, then they were somewhat workable.

I just don't see how flying over an area for at least 6 hours, only to feed for a couple of minutes, was productive......It would be like climbing Mt. Everest every time you got hungry, but only for a hotdog!!


Seemed like they're pressured birds or they've been blasted out of the field you were using. Also, it only takes mallards 20 minutes or so of picking up corn to become "full." Flying isn't very costly, and if the cost of diving right into a spread is getting shot or not finding food, then it could be beneficial to continue flying in the air until you feel safe or are sure there is food on the ground.
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Postby filletfetish » Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:17 pm

Thanks for the input, I just didn't know how many guys have actually seen this type of activity. River's about to be out now, so I'll be in the fields, just standing in water now :rofl:
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Postby 37FOX » Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:50 pm

I have had this happen to me on more than one occassion. Once you lose that first group to another part of the field, its tough getting them to come over to your spread. The way I have handled this in the past (and its usually late season -wary birds) is to remove the mojo's. And hook some fishing line jerk strings to your full bodies (i use big foot ducks that are on stands). Then I call hard. I mean scream at em' and force them in close enough for a shot. At this point.... you havent much to lose. Especially when you have live birds in the same field. It works a lot of the time but not always. And get snake sh*t low.
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