I arrived at the check in on opening morning at 5:10 a.m. The first guys in line came down from Johnson County the night before and spent the night in their minivans and shiny Explorers. There were probably 80-100 in front of us in the check in line.
We put in at the boat ramp, and set up near the middle of the marsh, next to an old boat blind. The water level was at 100%, which translated to nearly chest deep on me (6'2") and about 2 feet deeper than last year. It was a good thing that we had made extensions for our Robo Ducks, or they would have been left in the boat. We set up facing west (into the 15 - 20 mph wind), with 6 dozen G&H magnums, a couple of Bigfoot Canada floaters on the south side, and a few dozen teal decoys to the north of the spread.
At first light, a few teal buzzed us (as usual), but it was not yet legal shooting time. About 5 minutes before legal time, some of the Joco's starting skybusting at unidentifiable big ducks that were circling the perimeter.
That set off a panic of woodies from the willows on the west end of the marsh, and all that we could do was listen to the idiots continue to skybust and watch the woodies, teal and later gadwall circle and re-group until legal shooting time.
There were a lot of birds flying from 7:15 - 9:30, but they were panicked from the almost continual barrage from the Jocos lining the edge of the marsh. We would get a few flights working our calls and decoys when more shots would ring out and the ducks would flare. We finally dropped a couple of gadwall drakes and a greenwing teal hen, but they were all relatively long passing shots.
We did see a variety of ducks. The majority were gadwall and teal, but we also saw some blue bill, a few mallards, shovelers and wood ducks. We saw a pintail drake, and a mottled duck as well. We ended up turning the Robos off early, as they seemed to cause the birds to flare.
There was a huge raft of coots in the marsh, probably numbering 3,000 - 4,000. That attracted a lot of the ducks, who simply landed in the middle of the coots throughout the morning. We only saw 2 other groups of hunters knock down 2 birds all morning.
We did see a large flock of white pelicans fly over, and they too were shot at by the Jocos. I guess that they thought they were giant snow geese with big noses and 8 foot wing spans. :laughing: Fortunately, their marksmanship was consistent with their waterfowl identification skills.