Report based on hunts and observations

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Report based on hunts and observations

Postby lindschesapeake » Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:32 pm

Good to have early season ponded water at the WMA's along the Rio, observed good numbers of birds heading to the north ponds of BErnardo this morning while scotting for quail up on the mesa. As some of you might know with early season water in La Joya and Bernardo along with good water levels in the Rio during the summer, birds coming down from Colorado (early season migrators) will stop and visit for a while instead of heading on down to Bosque. Plus local population is up.

Having the ponded water around the state from the great rains helps keep the birds less concentrated and gives jump shooters additional shots. Now watch the weather for a hard freeze and one would think a new bunch of birds moved in. No, they are small pond birds looking for open water. A good way to tell a far north Mallard migrator is the skin will be nice and yellow with more fat than NM birds.

North NM areas have above average locals and early migrating birds are showing up. This past storm should help push in a few early migrators but it will be short lived because things are going to warm up.

The paper should start printing the bird report in Thursday Journal go section but you can call the NWR's to get an updated report.

So guys lets hear what the shoots have benn like on the WMA's. Don't be afraid since the big game hunters are still chasing their game and will not start getting in the way for another few weeks.

AMF
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Postby randy marci » Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:41 am

you are exactly right wih your observations. i hunted sunday south of bosque del apache and coulda kicked myself in the butt for driving that far. the area down there has non of the birds that are holding farther north. 2 guys had to work really hard for 2 mallard 2 gaddys and 8 teal bye noon. the lack of big birds was scary. thanks for the insight and your reports are top notch :thumbsup:
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Postby ghostingrey » Mon Nov 13, 2006 7:21 pm

I went down to Bernardo on Sunday and thought I would give a report. In brief, don't make the same mistake I did, it was one of the worst hunting experiencs I've ever had. There were good numbers of birds moving about but the number of hunters and the behavior of some of them was appalling. I got there about 5 and there was only one other truck in the lot. I hiked in a good ways, trudged throug some horrible mud and set up in the middle of some flooded salt cedars. Seemed like a good place at the time. I heard the first gun shot a good 10 minutes before leagl shooting hours, you ould barely see the birds let alone determine species. When legal shooting hours started i could hear shotguns going off all around me, some within a couple hundred feet or less. Any bird that was stupid ebnough to come anywhere near got shot at. Some were well over 100 yds up. Birds never had a chance to work the spreads because they got shot at on the first pass. I was ready to pack up and leave after 30 mins but was afraid of getting shot. When the birds finally stopped flying i was able to get out of there. Turns out, one of the groups nearby consisted of two guys, who weren't even wearing camo, simply standing on the levee and shooting birds that were flying by to other peoples spreads. Another group right nest to me was calling like crazy non-stop, even when there were no birds in sight. I was lucky to come out with a single teal that somehow snuck into my spread. I eventually got out of there and headed down to La Joya. There were at least a dozen trucks in the lot when i left Bernardo. There was really no one down at La Joya but i did meet a nice fellow from Wisconson trying to get his 6th bird. He invited me to sit down and hunt with him, which was nice cause i didn't feel like setting up for the third time that morning. We got a chance to work a group of 4 mallards but they wouldn't commit. But at least I got to enjoy some good company and not fear for my life. Sorry for the rant but i had to vent. I don't think I'll ever make the mistake of hunting Bernardo on the weekend again. It's back to the more remote areas for me. I'm planning on heading up to McCallister on Wednesday morning and will be sure to give a report.
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Postby Dirt » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:30 am

Sounds like the same old story down there. I went down there last
season during the week, used to be during the week you had a good
chance of being the only one out there. I drove up at 4am on a wednesday and came upon six trucks. Never again as I've said
many times. Its a shame cuz there can be some good #s of birds
around there. Couple years ago a guy shot four hen pintails one morning.
I know people are shooting pintails now. There is no worries for
poachers and skybusters if they get out of there before 10am. Thats
about the time the wardens roll out of bed.
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Postby hellion » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:59 pm

ghostingrey wrote:I went down to Bernardo on Sunday and thought I would give a report. In brief, don't make the same mistake I did, it was one of the worst hunting experiencs I've ever had. There were good numbers of birds moving about but the number of hunters and the behavior of some of them was appalling. I got there about 5 and there was only one other truck in the lot. I hiked in a good ways, trudged throug some horrible mud and set up in the middle of some flooded salt cedars. Seemed like a good place at the time. I heard the first gun shot a good 10 minutes before leagl shooting hours, you ould barely see the birds let alone determine species. When legal shooting hours started i could hear shotguns going off all around me, some within a couple hundred feet or less. Any bird that was stupid ebnough to come anywhere near got shot at. Some were well over 100 yds up. Birds never had a chance to work the spreads because they got shot at on the first pass. I was ready to pack up and leave after 30 mins but was afraid of getting shot. When the birds finally stopped flying i was able to get out of there. Turns out, one of the groups nearby consisted of two guys, who weren't even wearing camo, simply standing on the levee and shooting birds that were flying by to other peoples spreads. Another group right nest to me was calling like crazy non-stop, even when there were no birds in sight. I was lucky to come out with a single teal that somehow snuck into my spread. I eventually got out of there and headed down to La Joya. There were at least a dozen trucks in the lot when i left Bernardo. There was really no one down at La Joya but i did meet a nice fellow from Wisconson trying to get his 6th bird. He invited me to sit down and hunt with him, which was nice cause i didn't feel like setting up for the third time that morning. We got a chance to work a group of 4 mallards but they wouldn't commit. But at least I got to enjoy some good company and not fear for my life. Sorry for the rant but i had to vent. I don't think I'll ever make the mistake of hunting Bernardo on the weekend again. It's back to the more remote areas for me. I'm planning on heading up to McCallister on Wednesday morning and will be sure to give a report.


I was down there both Saturday and Sunday, and I know exactly what you mean. I don't know if it was the holiday weekend or what, but there were just way too many people.

Saturday we went to the east portion of Bernardo, we got there about 1/4 till 5, and there were already 6-8 trucks. Hiking in every pond had two to four hunting parties on every little pond. We split after hour of walking and sitting around seeing if anything would change. Split to check out by the river down there, and there wasn't much over there.

Sunday we got down to the west portion about 5, and set up our spread. We sat around waiting for the day to start and were appalled that two parties, one man and his son setup not even 50 yards from us, and another set up to the north 80 yards at most. We too heard the shots way before legal shooting times, the same group of @****** shooting early were shooting in OUR direction. We were peppered 6 times in 20 minutes. After that we started calling a few different flocks and they would break and start circling, when inevitably one of the groups setup around us would start sky blasting them, and scaring them off. Shortly after this the game wardens came by to check our licenses and guns, in the back of their little truck they had confiscated gun, which I'm pretty sure was the guy who had an autoloader with an 8 round magazine we heard blasting earlier. They also said someone had driven back in there in a little Toyota truck, and were asking if we were the ones driving it. Only one in our party got a duck which some how

The Sunday before that we were down there and it was a good day, only two or three other parties down there, and we nearly limited out. So I dunno if it was the holiday weekend, moon or what but this past weekend sucked. Which was sad, because I had taken my brother in law both days trying to introduce him to the sport and firearms in general, and needless to say his impression of waterfowl hunting is getting up early, sitting around commenting on jackasses, then going home empty handed.

Gonna try Bernardo or La Joya on Thursday, but beyond that I think I'm gonna be looking for a new spot
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Postby ghostingrey » Wed Nov 15, 2006 6:21 pm

Hey helion, you weren't driving a white TRD tacoma were you. I might have talked to you in the parking lot. I was in the black tacoma. I'm glad to hear the wardens confiscated that gun. I was pretty sure i heard some unplugged guns.
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Postby hh60fcf » Thu Nov 16, 2006 5:01 pm

Hay all, first post, but I had to say something too. I (three of us) was down there last Sunday too and couldn't believe it. We were at the north end and was counting about 10 minutes till LEGAL hunt time (think we figured it at 0608 hrs) when we head all the blasting. Guess they were shooting at sounds, cause it sure was still dark. I'm an FNG, but only hunt with seasoned friends (twice now). We couldn't believer all the quacking and blasting, and damn close too, and they wouldn't stop! We got peppered as well. Took one duck with one shot (obvously not me!), but didn't really have any birds commit to our deeks (damn mojo quit working). Left about 0930 after the wardens came by. I asked if folks started too early, and didn't really get a response from them. All the birds that came by were at flight level 2-0-0, way to high to call back, but someone was still shooting at them, which was probibly the reason we couldn't get birds to commit. The Sunday befor we did limit out, not sure if I'm gona go back, but weekends are the only time I can get out, thinking that Sunday mornings would be the best.
This is a great site though, I've enjoyed reading all the posts.
Hunting with respect.
Last edited by hh60fcf on Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby hellion » Thu Nov 16, 2006 5:58 pm

ghostingrey wrote:Hey helion, you weren't driving a white TRD tacoma were you. I might have talked to you in the parking lot. I was in the black tacoma. I'm glad to hear the wardens confiscated that gun. I was pretty sure i heard some unplugged guns.


No sir, not me I drive a red 2500HD. I thought I heard some unplugged guns as well, but I defiantly heard at least one autoloader unplugged, the sound was just way too consistent and too fast to be multiple guns, they were coming from what sounded like the north west corner of the pond up there.


Went down today, with my brother in law again. Got there about 4:45, no trucks on the road, and no trucks in the parking lot. About 5:45 we saw some lights and heard a dog. As far as I know they were the only other party to show up. Saw 4 birds too high to shoot, and didn't come back to my calls. Saw another four over the other guys spread one broke and landed, and I think they were up and walking around, don't think they ever saw it. That was the last duck I saw airborne for hours. Started walking around exploring north of there, since there was nothing flying, and saw at least a dozen mixed (mostly coot, some mallards and hens) ducks in the large clearing in the NW corner. Decided not to shoot, so I could get my bro in law his first duck. Double timed it through the ice back to our spread where I finally got his attention, and just about the time he got to me and took his ear plugs out, heard 3 gun shots from over there. When they flew south by us escaping, they were too far for a shot.

Found a small pond in the SE corner with a bunch of coot. We were watching them when I happened to turn around and see a hen (at what appeared to be) dive bombing me. I got her, and bro in law ended up with two coots. Not the best first kills, but at least he got something and wants to go again.

I've never shot a coot before, how worthless is the meat? Breasts were pretty small do they taste horrible?
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Postby lindschesapeake » Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:10 pm

I'm glad to hear that the wardens are showing up. A simple thing the state could do is require that folks sign in at the parking areas. A person would have to leave their name and license plate number. People tend to behave a little better when they know there name is out their.

Another thing that could be done, and I know folks will not like this, is to have a WMA permit. A few states require this mainly to provide ear-marked funds for marinating the WMAs.

To help in the advancement for quality waterfowl hunting in the state, a active group of waterfowl hunters need to form some type of working group in which a proactive relationship could be started with the State Game and Fish and the NEw Mexico Game Commission. This will hopefully get some things started in the right direction.

More to come on this subject, wife calling and I must obey or I'll have my hunting time cut in half.
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Postby ghostingrey » Sun Nov 19, 2006 6:24 pm

Well after hunting two of the WMA's over the weekend i thought i would give a report. Hit up Salt Lake on Saturday. It had been 3 weeks since i had been up there. Most of the ducks that were there a few weeks ago are long gone. All thats left were shovelers and widgeon, maybe a couple hundred now as opposed to a thousand or more a few weeks ago. The ducks also were holding pretty tight. Ther ewas a brief flurry of activity just before sunup and then nothing. Came home with 3 shovelers and a widgeon. Went to La Joya today. Lots of birds and they were working well but i couldn't hit the broad side of the barn. I should have limited out in a couple hours but almost a box of shells and four hours later i left with a couple shovelers and a greenhead. We lost one bird at la joya which always makes me mad, but makes a good point about the state of the WMA's. we spent a half hour with a well trained dog looking for this bird but the cattails were simply to thick in areas. We could barely even walk through them. I'm no expert, but i wonder if a controlled burn of some kind could help clear out the extremely dense cattail growths. amzingly, most of the hunters at la joya were letting the birds work and only one group seemed to be verging on skybusting. Hope everyone else did as well or better this weekend.
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Postby hellion » Sun Nov 19, 2006 11:30 pm

went to Bernardo again today, decent day, kinda disappointed that even after signaling someone they continued to setup next to us, less than 60 yards away. At least they setup their blind facing the other way. The birds were out, and working well, and it was a sort of sick pleasure that they ducks were by passing our new "neighbors" spread to land in ours, even though they had a mojo. There were probably 6-7 parties out, it wasn't as crowded as it has been, but there were several idiots sky blasting and either shooting at nothing or sparrows.

How packed was La Joya?
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Postby ghostingrey » Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:34 am

La Joya wasn't too bad for the first couple hours. We had a group to our north and one to our south. Both were proabalby at least 300 yds away. Around 7:30 or 8 some ***** shows up and sets up about 75 yds from us. He knew we were there too cause he saw me. The guy was an awful caller who wouldn't shut up and even with his two mojo's he couldn't get any ducks to commit. After awhile he started shooting at ducks swinging around our spread. He gave up and left after a couple hours. I'm a pretty bad caller myself, but at least i know it and limit myself to a few contented quacks. I wont even try a feeder call in the field yet. It also sounded like there were a few groups shooting along the river.
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