Good thread Ecat. Thanks for sharing mudpack. I'll have to consider the voice recorder.
I check in on the forum every so often and enjoy reading some of the threads. Below is a clip from the teal opener.
This MS Word journal is updated after every outdoor activity (dove, duck, deer, bass, crappie, flathead, pheasant, shed hunting, fly fishing, taxidermy, bands certs, bowfishing, turkey, etc.). I even throw in some game recipes or pretty much anything that I might want to look back on. After 3 years, it is currently 150 pages long broken down into years, starting with dove season and ending with flathead fishing. I even recorded my hunting background (with my dad as a youngster) and back-logged every hunt I could remember, this was fairly easy since I had pictures of most of them and didn't really start to hunt until I was 16 (currently mid-20s). 90% of the logs will contain a picture. The file is then converted to .pdf (to make the file smaller.) and saved to google drive. Which can be opened with the google drive app on the phone. Nobody has read the journal except me. There will come a day for that; possibly 10 or 20 years from now.
Several photos are taken of each activity and filed by type of game and date.
Along with the journal and pictures, I keep an Excel log containing date, location, hunters, # of birds, species of birds. This is only used for waterfowl. It is also saved to google drive and sharred (option on google drive) with a friend. After spring snow goose season the log is also placed into the journal.
Cutting through the air, a group of teal sounds like a jet engine. It is quite possibly my favorite sound. A teal is thought to be one of the fastest ducks; however, they have a typical flight speed of 30mph. Several ducks fly 40-50mph and a red breasted merganser was clocked at 100mph while being pursued by an airplane. Teal may not be the fastest ducks, but they sure are hard to hit. The size of a teal makes them appear to be flying at supersonic speeds and the erratic flight makes it difficult to draw a bead on them.
Joe was setting up the layout blinds and I was setting out the decoy spread when we heard the first group screaming just above our heads. It was barely light enough to see the silhouettes of a large group of teal against the grey sky. We typically do not hunt during teal season for lack of birds, but Joe had spotted 50 teal on _______ pond across the road from us. _______ pond has proven to be a roost, which the birds leave right about legal shooting time to cruise other ponds, including ours. Finally, after waiting 6 months we were water fowlers again. There was excitement in the air as we sunk into the concealment of our blinds. “Two minutes” Joe said, in reference to the legal shooting time for the morning. It was 6:28. I prayed “Dear Lord, we thank you for sharing your glorious nature and abundant wildlife, grant us wisdom and respect in the pursuit and keep us humble in the harvest, amen”. We were setup in the west cove of _______. Looking to the east we could see a group of birds flying against the pale-lit sky. I could hear the clinking of the calls on Joe’s lanyard as he reached for his teal whistle. “Not yet bud” I suggested. They would come in low and we would not be able to see them against the dark hillside in front of us. After a few minutes about 20 birds flew low into the spread. We unloaded! As suspected, we could not see well until the birds broke above the horizon. It was a disappointment. Our first four shells were fired aimlessly through the group and into the darkness of the water and land. Once they climbed, we could single out a bird and we dropped one bird each with our final shell. I immediately looked back to the water searching for one more downed bird. I noticed the water was still rippling around one of my new wigeon decoys. Yep, my new decoy was full of 3 shot. We later had a single come in which Joe took. This was followed by my single and then a pair. We managed to bag 6 birds by 7:30. They were all hen blue-wing teal. Joe and I needed 2 more birds to fill a limit. We talked about trying to pick out 2 nice drakes to finish the morning. After 30 unsuccessful minutes we decided to pack up; in hope that we did not scare every teal in the country. As we headed out the gate we decided to check some of the surrounding ponds. There were still about 50 teal on ______ pond. I glassed the birds and could not find one drake. I was stumped. We headed home and cleaned the birds. I was, later, thinking about the situation when I realized that I have never seen a drake blue-wing until they come back north in the spring. And that is when the light bulb came on. How could I be so ignorant?
After a quick Google search I verified my suspicion. Though we shoot several Green Winged Teal sporting breeding plumage in November and even December, Blue-wing teal migrate through my specific area in September and October. They keep their eclipse plumage until late December or January. By that time they should be in their wintering grounds of Texas or Mexico where they will molt and grow their breeding plumage before traveling back north to the breeding grounds. I went to the shop to inspect the carcasses. Sure enough, half of the birds had a row of white feathers between the blue and green feathers of the wings. These were the drakes. I realized that I would most likely never shoot a Blue Winged Teal in full breeding plumage. Though utterly disappointed, I was glad that the mystery was solved.