Went to a beaver pond for a quick/easy hunt this morning. We were set up and telling stories by 5:30. Just as the sky starts to lighten, we hear people coming. Two guys carrying a canoe. We make our presence known, but they continue to launch the canoe 40 yards from us, paddle RIGHT THRU my decoys and continue out into the open part of the pond. Its now fifteen minutes prior to legal time! The area they are paddling towards is a roosting area. It didn't look like they had decoys or waders, one of them was just in jeans, the canoe was bright green and the shiny paddles flashed light like beacons. They were planning a jump shoot. I don't mind jump shooting... I do it myself. But to knowingly paddle past people that were there before you, with decoys in the water, to go jump shoot the roosted birds the other hunters are set up to hunt???!! Took my heart rate a while to settle, I tell you that much.
Needless to say, most of the birds that left the pond did so in a hurry. There was no calling them back down.
We did have a mallard pair drop in at about 6:25 and we each shot one.
Saw about 40-50 ducks - a mix of mallards and wood ducks - and three "groups" of geese.
The ducks came thru as singles up to flocks of a dozen... but most were flying with a destination in mind OR were getting out of Dodge after being jumped in the bigger part of the pond.
The first geese we saw were two very vocal birds, but they landed at the far end of the pond. The next one we saw was solo and I knew it would decoy. I called lightly and it worked our way. It did a slow circle, and was doing its closer and smaller circle and getting lower. It was keyed in on the decoys and was almost committed... but still at 45 yards. My cousin couldn't wait... Before I could say anything, he had his gun up and was shooting. Emptied his three rounds and the goose flew off none the worse for wear. Few seconds more and that goose would have been feet down and dropping on the decoys. Oh well. Near the end, we saw a "v" of about 30 geese... I tried my best, but couldn't coax any out of the pattern. They looked to be dropping into a nearby field (but weren't there when I left the pond).
My cousin... four shots - one drake mallard. Me... one shot - one hen mallard.
We could have quit at 6:26 with the same amount of meat going in the fridge. But it was fun to see all the birds and try to get something to slow down.
Eventually the guys in the canoe paddled back to us. We had heard them shoot four or five times earlier. I asked how they made out. They said their shooting stunk and they hit nothing. We chatted a bit about all the shooting at the goose - and no dead goose - and one of the guys said "hope we didn't mess up your hunt too bad". Maybe they will think about it before doing it again. Maybe not. I saw no point in arguing about it. What could I really say. I must be getting older. Not that long ago, there would have been some yelling at 6:00 this morning.
I miss the days when I was the only one hunting this place. I was run out of there last year (people purposely shooting into the marsh to scare birds out while I was hunting) and this year looks like it will follow the same route.
Anyways, here are the two birds from the morning.