Travel Report

From Pintails to Mallards, share your Montana duck hunting stories here in the land of the Big Sky country.

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Travel Report

Postby darcher » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:23 pm

I arrived at Freezeout Tueday afternoon. I talked to two separate duck hunters at the boat ramp and the tally was one hen mallard. The lake had been frozen for a couple of days and the ducks moved out and lots of swans and snow geese arrived. Since I was on a reconnaissance mission, I headed for Eureka Reservoir only to find that it was completely drained. Next I went to Bynum Reservoir to check it out. It was real low and offered no cover. The wind was howling and huge waves were rolling onto the long stretches of muddy shoreline. I headed back to Freezeout, and Wednesday morning I hunted Priest Lake. When Freezeout first ices up, Priest Lake stays open longer and can offer some good shooting, especially for snow geese on the narrow spit of dirt at the other end. I headed for the three culverts by the railroad tracks, as YEARS ago I had success there on a couple of occasions. Nothing. I watched five high flyers and some swans. I went back to the boat ramp around noon and found that two hunters, using a John boat had taken two ducks, both of them hens. I checked my map and headed to Lake Frances.

It too was drawn down and the recent melting snow and rain made it impossible to get near the water. Canada geese and Snow geese were everywhere along the shoreline. I guy with a layout blind rubbed with mud could do well here. (Bring a spray water bottle and keep the mud on the blind wet.) What the hell, I had seen some great country so off I went to Lake Elwell (Tiber). I found the turn-off to the Devon Recreation Area, which was ten miles from the highway on a dirt road. The farm houses are really spread out from each other here. I saw mail boxes with no house in sight. When I crested a rise, I lost my breath. The water of Lake Elwell shimmered down in a rugged canyon a thousand feet below. I was so struck by the view that I missed the last turn-around. Down I went on a somewhat wet muddy trail. Holy crap! How could I have been so careless. I have a ¾ ton truck with a large camper and I was pulling a boat. The road winded around ravines with some sheer drops if the muddy road sent me on a slippery course. I was gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles. Two-thirds of the way down was a BLM outhouse and a turn-around. The road disappeared over another rise down hundreds of feet to the shoreline.

My dog and I both had to take a piss, but I never opened the truck door. It was getting dark and the clouds were looking ominous. I dropped into low 4x4 and inched my way back up the mountain. An hour later I was at the Frontier Bar eating a burger and talking to a young farmer. He said he lives close to the access site and he and his family worry about getting up the road if there is any sign of rain. I said that I was on a wild goose chase and a farmer bought be a drink. I headed back on the highway to Shelby and decided to hunt Priest Lake again the next morning.

When I got to Sims, I thought that I was having my second heart attack so I headed home to Florence. Same chest pain and feeling like I was going to throw up. Now I understand how some men talk themselves out of going to the ER thinking that they have a bad case of heart burn. My heart burn turned out to be compounded by a virus, which caused a lot of pain up under my ribs. I can’t remember having heart burn so bad, but now I know how they can be confusing to a heart attack victim. (The wife is pushing me to get a ekg.)

Well, looks like I will patch up my old, wood pram, load up the oars and head back to Freezeout sometime. I forgot what a great place it is even if it does have a lot of hunters and in my case few birds. It was a great tour of the heartland.
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Re: Travel Report

Postby Force Fetch » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:56 am

That didn't sound like a fun trip.
You must have missed the message I sent about how to approach Tiber from the Conrad/Ledger side, good gravel all the way to the water.
I got a report that Tuesday afternoon the wind howled and Freezeout blew open, but a lot of the birds that where there packed up and left. My wife was there Thrusday afternoon and got caught in a downpour with thunder and lightning so she packed it in early.
We can still expect a big push from the north, but if the wind doesn't blow and I mean blow the hunting can be poor.
Just for peace of mind get the EKG.
Live Well
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Re: Travel Report

Postby darcher » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:06 pm

Wayne, yes, I got your information but left it at home deciding that Tiber was just too far to drive. When I left Frances Lake, I thought, oh, what the hell. I'll just take a peek. Today I hunted Mission Bay on Flathead Lake and fired once. A couple of years ago when I came back to Montana, some hunters on this forum said that the East Bay and Mission Bay have really changed with the introduction of an invasive weed. Because I hit it right for two good shots last year, I thought maybe it wasn't changed too much. Now I can see that it has. I love my new boat and motor, but it looks as though I have only the Flathead River to use it, as the Missouri is just too far of a drive.

I am thinking that next year I will head to Canada early in the season or Hebgen Lake. In the meantime, I am glad that I re-acquainted myself with Freezeout. I have a small pram and a ten-foot layout boat. Tomorrow I will call and see if the Freezeout managers will tell a person if the lake is or is not iced over. I would hate to drive 3.5 hours to find it frozen over. In the meantime, I have some patching on this old pram to complete.
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Re: Travel Report

Postby Force Fetch » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:14 pm

I would find it hard to believe it is frozen, it has been in the 50's at night and is currently 65 in GF. The weather is supposed to change drastically on Thursday, possibly our first real winter storm. I am prepping my kennels and getting out the heated water bowls in case NOAA gets it right. Let us hope for a good snow year and you will be able to launch at any of our praiere lakes next year.
Safe Hunting
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Re: Travel Report

Postby Troutslayer » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:33 pm

I wonder how many ducks you circumnavigated on your turd mission.
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Re: Travel Report

Postby darcher » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:36 pm

Hey, troutslayer, I see you haven't changed any. You're still rude and insulting. What's the matter crybaby, haven't slain any trout lately. Grow up.
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Re: Travel Report

Postby huntfishnv » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:02 pm

:lol3:
Nick Roehl wrote:Everything I say is so damn good you need to quote it for your signiture.


Un-expect the expected
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Re: Travel Report

Postby pmahler » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:01 pm

Nonya?
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Re: Travel Report

Postby montana quackhead » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:31 am

Turd mission... :lol3:
Give me some quack and I'll never work again
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Re: Travel Report

Postby quackpipe » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:14 pm

Troutslayer wrote:I wonder how many ducks you circumnavigated on your turd mission.

Really. Had to be thousands. I got 4 solid turds, two little hen turds, and one soupy one that sent me to the hospital.
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Re: Travel Report

Postby phutch30 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:05 am

Thats cuz your not supposed to eat it....just smoke it
....its like taking x-lax when you have a bad cough. It wont clear up your lungs, but it sure stops you from coughing
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