Earlier I commented on the need to be more mobile and to avoid "settling" in on the same spot. True to be succesful hunting fowl in NM you have to be prepared to travel and scout. By succesful I am saying average 4+ birds per hunter per trip. As I don't really care to rack up the numbers anymore, I have started being more selective only shooting green with a splash of Wig, Pintail and Gaddy's now and again. I have only been blanked on 1 hunt this season, while averaging 4+ birds per hunter (mostly greenheads) during the other hunts.
In the interest in sharing details and not making this about good calling or who's willy is biggest, here is what I have learned about NM waterfowling over the course of the last 16 years.
1) Be flexible...........don't settle in on the honey hole
2) Don't call too much
3) Move mid hunt if you have to.......if the birds are working 300 yards away...........move!
4) Learn to shoot, if I were I dog I would consider myself "Finished" or "Master" with shooting but I have my limitations, earlier this year we were having contests to see who could make it out with a limit of green under 10 shells spent. As the season rolled on and the birds started working further out my shooting percentage went down. Know your limits!
5) Take advantage of all situations and be patient. On each of my past two hunts I only had 5 greenheads on one hunt and 6 in the other enter the kill zone, all but the exception of one made it to the soup pot. On each hunt, I waited unti lthe birds were feet down 15 yards out or I didnt shoot...............period. Finishing close increases the chances of doubling up or tripling on decoys ducks. One can go from a poor hunt to limiting out on two groups this way......personal preference of course.
6) Have gone with a less is more philosophy lately...........use top quality decoys placed right.
7) Study the birds, yes some will be found under the overhang, they are feeding on Russian Olives and can be found there in good numbers during the season, but they don't stay there long, most like to loaf on the river and they are trying to conserve energy, they dont want to burn everything they are eating fighting the current use this to your advantage. When I hunt I pack decoys tight......late season is best. for this look at how close the birds sit and where they are sitting.
Anyway, not better or worse off than many of you must a few I have been succesful with the past few years..
With a few pictures to boot-