Season so far...

A state with an abundant amount of waterfowl. Share with others your New Jersey duck hunting experiences.

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Season so far...

Postby DrakeH2oFowl » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:16 am

Hasn't been terrible but not stellar. Scratching a few here & there. Haven't really goose hunted yet either. Planning on grinding the next month. Then I'll have a solid two weeks to hunt in Arkansas in late January. That should be fun. Enjoy.
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Re: Season so far...

Postby papageno » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:52 am

Looks nice to me… some very interesting mixed bags.

Thanks for posting.
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Re: Season so far...

Postby pvn6616 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:40 am

Work has been getting in the way this year and when I have gotten out the weather hasn't cooperated or I have missed MEATBALL shots because I'm so rusty!! Last week I got out 3 times, we totaled 4 birds, but my partner went out one afternoon w/o me and shot 8 mallards, a black duck a bluebill, and a couple of buffies... I shot one black duck! And rumor has it JerseyWaterfowler got in on some canvasback action on the Shrewsbury!!!! Whats going on in this world??? Papageno is being awfully quiet but I'm sure he's been limiting out every day. And Dutch and FFT have probably been taking so much game that there's none left for all us other guys...but I'm thankful someone's getting some action. :fingerhead:
“The perils of duck hunting are great- especially for the duck” Walter Cronkite
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Re: Season so far...

Postby papageno » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:01 am

I've been up in Maine and posting a bit up there if you want to follow my antics. I made it out last week in NJ and will be hunting here a lot in January. I'll see you in Jan and we'll tear some up with the SZ season extension…. I'm really looking foreword to it.

I think some of the problem with folks not posting this year is the cyber scouting that you noticed earlier… post a good hunt and some folks want to try to follow you around the marsh. If we keep the topics about duck hunting rather than 'where are the ducks', everyone will be happier.
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Re: Season so far...

Postby jerseywaterfowler » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:13 pm

Pete,
You are correct on the Cans. When i waded in to retrieve birds and saw what they were I was very surprised. I had expected Blue Bills from the way the flock flew and looked. When asked what they were I said nuthing to I was back up on land and the look of Chicks face said it all. Cans in the Shrewsbury in December is not something I had previously encountered. Its 50/50 if they show up and when they do its usually the last week of the season. They do show up in large numbers at the pond next to St. Micheals in Long Branch in February and if I am in the area will stop and look. Cool bird on the water. Glassed the river this morning and all signs of birds, including Cans were negative.
Season was a little slow otherwise, a black here a buffie their, but Saturday made the year, any further birds are just gravy.
BTW Brant numbers appear to be way down
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Re: Season so far...

Postby DrakeH2oFowl » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:55 pm

jerseywaterfowler wrote:Pete,
You are correct on the Cans. When i waded in to retrieve birds and saw what they were I was very surprised. I had expected Blue Bills from the way the flock flew and looked. When asked what they were I said nuthing to I was back up on land and the look of Chicks face said it all. Cans in the Shrewsbury in December is not something I had previously encountered. Its 50/50 if they show up and when they do its usually the last week of the season. They do show up in large numbers at the pond next to St. Micheals in Long Branch in February and if I am in the area will stop and look. Cool bird on the water. Glassed the river this morning and all signs of birds, including Cans were negative.
Season was a little slow otherwise, a black here a buffie their, but Saturday made the year, any further birds are just gravy.
BTW Brant numbers appear to be way down


That's because they are way...wayyyyyyy down.

I've just been too occupied with grad school to post as much as I normally would. Nothing about guys trying to cyber scout and what not. I don't pay them any attention to begin with. :biggrin: Kind of funny you mention guys tryin to follow you in etc. We had a group yesterday drive through our decoys at 0530 & set up 100 yards from us. F-ed our day up.
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Re: Season so far...

Postby Quackerbarrel » Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:12 pm

Brant numbers seemed fine in the Navasink a few weeks ago, I sometimes launch outta there and when in the area I glass is and there seemed to be plenty. None in the Shrewberry? Or did they all get outta town?
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Re: Season so far...

Postby papageno » Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:46 pm

Dutch has been counting them for the state…. its a disaster. They had almost no reproduction this year and low numbers coming out of last…. Good chance there won't be a season on them next year (and they probably really shouldn't be shot any more this year).
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Re: Season so far...

Postby jerseywaterfowler » Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:57 pm

I would not say their are none, just significantly down. Saw none last week when I was in the lower Navisink, and saw only a small flock all year on Shrewsbury. Seen more down in the west creek/tuckerton/great bay area, but not like I would expect. Usually they are almost a pest now almost not around. I have seen as many at work in Hoboken as anyplace else.
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Re: Season so far...

Postby pvn6616 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 6:51 pm

Let me say here and now, count or no count, I can tell you from my 45 years of hunting for Brant down here in Atlantic City/ Absecon area that this year is by far the worst showing. The flocks are by far the smallest I have ever seen. The brant showed up in October and I thought at first they were in good shape number wise. But as the weeks passed no more showed and I would have to say that there are less than half the amount as last season if not a quarter of last years numbers. VERY SAD!!! I am not going to target them at all this year and hope that others curtail their brant hunting also. These poor birds breed above the Artic circle and do not mate and reproduce until after their third year, so if we go and shoot the young they don't have a chance.

It is very sad when I watch a flock rise in the distance and remember when a string of Brant would take 5 minutes to pass by us. They have been one of my favorite birds as they stick around my backyard into May/June and return like clockwork in mid October.
“The perils of duck hunting are great- especially for the duck” Walter Cronkite
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Re: Season so far...

Postby pvn6616 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 6:52 pm

Let me say here and now, count or no count, I can tell you from my 45 years of hunting for Brant down here in Atlantic City/ Absecon area that this year is by far the worst showing. The flocks are by far the smallest I have ever seen. The brant showed up in October and I thought at first they were in good shape number wise. But as the weeks passed no more showed and I would have to say that there are less than half the amount as last season if not a quarter of last years numbers. VERY SAD!!! I am not going to target them at all this year and hope that others curtail their brant hunting also. These poor birds breed above the Artic circle and do not mate and reproduce until after their third year, so if we go and shoot the young they don't have a chance.

It is very sad when I watch a flock rise in the distance and remember when a string of Brant would take 5 minutes to pass by us. They have been one of my favorite birds as they stick around my backyard into May/June and return like clockwork in mid October.
“The perils of duck hunting are great- especially for the duck” Walter Cronkite
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Re: Season so far...

Postby duk_hunter155 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:16 am

Finally we are getting posts on here about duck hunting!

Thank you all for the posts find them very interesting. I have been hunting almost 3 days a week since the north zone opened. The opener as always totally awesome incredible couldn't load the gun fast enough all teal but a heck of alot of fun. In a few days after the opener all the birds were gone then just picked off two or three and managed to get skunked a few times in between the latest hunts of last week when it turned totally incredible again! The two little snows and cold weather that froze the sweet water made for great shooting. The first storm brought hundreds of birds into the little compound and we had great shooting whenever the snow let up a bit, had to pack it in at 10 I am sure they would have been flying all day that day. Then the second little snow with the cold weather came it turned out like I have never seen before! There weren't hundreds of birds there were thousands! When we went in, after we had to clear a 8 foot wide hole in the plowed ice bank that the aholes put blocking the launch ramp inorder to launch, the early morning sky was black with every duck imaginable and geese. WE WERE THE ONLY BOAT OUT NOT ANOTHER SINGLE HUNTER WENT OUT. Long story short we had a great shoot but when it snowed hard they just didn't fly with any let up they were flying everywhere.

Then decided to give coastal a try fri and sat. It was incredible we all got great sun tans forgot to bring the sun block but hunting was freakin crap, four guys hunting until 10am one stinkin stiff tail no birds flying and for the first time in my life hunting Gunning River in Dec did not see a single Brant! not one! Went quail hunting late morning the day before the stocking and same result more sun tan. Sat had to be better right? Nope! Hunted 7 bridges road sat morning not much flying did see a pair of bull sprigs go by but nothing again. Now here is the proof about the decimation of the Brant again did not see a single Brant where in past years they would be everywhere. Quail hunted in late morn again after the stock and managed one quail. Not the best harvest results for two days of non stop hunting but then again had the best time with hunting with great guys.

Hunting north zone tomorrow hoping the cold brings em in.

a man walks in to a brothel and asks the madame for a girl, she looks at him and asks how old are you, he says 91, 91 she exclaims YOU'VE HAD IT! oh sorry he says how much do I owe you?
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Re: Season so far...

Postby Basspond » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:51 am

Brant numbers are definitely down. I don't really shoot them much anymore, don't see the need to shoot something you aren't going to eat, but I haven't seen the numbers I would typically be seeing on the northern coast like in the past. Last year they were completely screwed up by Sandy and losing a lot of their food source (sea cabbage). You saw a lot of brant feeding on fields abd grass because of the lack of traditional food and I am still seeing some doing the same this year.

I will also note that typically I shoot a decent amount of wigeon and I have yet to see many this year in the areas I usually shoot them. I am seeing good numbers of black ducks compared to last year though.

The biggest difference I've found compared to years past is that you have to travel in this state if you want to stay on the birds. Years past you could hunt the same general areas and so long as you had weather you'd shoot birds. I find myself traveling more and more each year, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. This state has a lot to offer.

A disclaimer is that I am purely a puddle duck hunter, nothing wrong with shooting divers, etc. as I love a good broadbill shoot but puddlers are just what I do.
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Re: Season so far...

Postby duk_hunter155 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:14 am

Basspond there was a time when I felt like you what good is it to shoot something you can't eat, but we all do. However, I had coonass friends from Louisiana do a hunt with me some years back and they shot the hell out of the Brant, they don't get them down there.I told them I rarely shoot them because you cant eat them. They said why not and cooked em up. I could not tell them from the mallards we shot. Its all how you make em. Fillet the breasts put on a slice of bacon, put cream cheese and Jalapeno slice, roll em up cook in oven for 45 mins. finger licking good.
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Re: Season so far...

Postby Basspond » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:36 am

I think that's the recipe for any less than palatable waterfowl, bacon makes it all better ha ha.

I will make exceptions for brant sometimes.

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Re: Season so far...

Postby DrakeH2oFowl » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:47 pm

Notched another 4 birds today. SWWWWEEEET duckin' weather that's for sure. Once the fog, clouds & rain picked up. Birds errrrywhere.
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Re: Season so far...

Postby FFT » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:26 pm

pvn6616 wrote:And Dutch and FFT have probably been taking so much game that there's none left for all us other guys...but I'm thankful someone's getting some action. :fingerhead:

Can't speak for Dutch but my plow guy had my truck for a week, and I blew the motor on the way home from him. No wheels = no birds. So be it, I'm not one to complain.
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Re: Season so far...

Postby DrakeH2oFowl » Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:53 am

FFT wrote:
pvn6616 wrote:And Dutch and FFT have probably been taking so much game that there's none left for all us other guys...but I'm thankful someone's getting some action. :fingerhead:

Can't speak for Dutch but my plow guy had my truck for a week, and I blew the motor on the way home from him. No wheels = no birds. So be it, I'm not one to complain.


He's in dog house. :yes: I might've made him late for his date on Friday...
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