Frozen or open?

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Frozen or open?

Postby tredwards » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:30 am

I am from Iowa and have been to NoDak twice, but never during waterfowl season. I am in the process of booking my first waterfowl trip right now, and am slow to pull the trigger on which week. I prefer hunting potholes mainly because I have a nice floater spread but virtually no field spread - there is not much field hunting in Iowa due to all the private land and family first landowners. Breaking ice is not a lot of fun for me nor my chessy, so my question is IF YOU WERE IN MY SHOES, which week would you make the trip, last week of Oct or first week of Nov? Also, if anybody is interested in joining I have a good thing working let me know, thanks!
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Re: Frozen or open?

Postby rddckhtr » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:17 pm

I have hunted the first 2 weeks of November the past several years, we have not been frozen out. We have had snow and ice several years but have been able to hunt open water. Last year was unusual with above average temps and warm weather. Both weeks your looking at should be very good. Just remember mother nature is unpredictable. :beer:
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Re: Frozen or open?

Postby duckhuntingchat.com » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:07 pm

Keep in mind you NEVER KNOW what our weather will be in November. We could get a blizzard/major freezeup at that time.

If you really want to avoid ice at all costs, I advise sooner the better.
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Re: Frozen or open?

Postby grey duck » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:01 pm

NR here. I like the last week of oct or the first of nov. The resident birds have moved on, and the northern mallards show up in good numbers.
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Re: Frozen or open?

Postby tredwards » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:07 am

grey duck wrote:NR here. I like the last week of oct or the first of nov. The resident birds have moved on, and the northern mallards show up in good numbers.


Grey duck, thanks for you input. I am like you in that matter, never been up to fowl in ND but I live in the northern central flyway so I think I have a pretty good idea of when I want to be there. I would like to get into fully ploomed birds that will work decoys. That is 2 things we struggle with in IA. By the time the northern birds show, they are literally gone within a day or two in my area. We don't have a lot of water to hold them, and the water we do have is generally hit hard. Sure we can usually scrape out a few here and there but the real good days are very few, if at all some years. Best of luck to ya, and thanks again.
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Re: Frozen or open?

Postby grey duck » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:47 pm

I have been to Nodak. I like it cold and the big birds. That's why we drive 25 hours. Hunted across the big river from IA a couple of times too. Saw the Miss riv freeze over in 24hours. Cut that trip short.
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Re: Frozen or open?

Postby tredwards » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:36 am

That is exactly what happens here. We are smack dab in the middle of a great flyway with puddlers divers and dark geese but the days they show up in big groups are the days we freeze out for good. Guess thats why they call it hunting though!
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Re: Frozen or open?

Postby slough » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:05 pm

It's a guess. Either week could have a foot of snow on the ground or temps in the 70s. Obviously the later the higher chances of getting frozen out. Probably 75% of the time either week will work fine. I can only remember 1 or 2 years in the last 10+ that it was pretty much game over in the first week of November. If you are flexible, keep an eye on the weather - you can always change the dates of your license.

My experience is that the later it gets however, the puddle ducks don't use the small potholes much even if they aren't frozen and use mostly bigger water (~10 acres or bigger). The main exception would be potholes in fields that the birds are feeding in. Just my experience and certainly not a hard rule.
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Re: Frozen or open?

Postby tredwards » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:51 am

slough wrote:It's a guess. Either week could have a foot of snow on the ground or temps in the 70s. Obviously the later the higher chances of getting frozen out. Probably 75% of the time either week will work fine. I can only remember 1 or 2 years in the last 10+ that it was pretty much game over in the first week of November. If you are flexible, keep an eye on the weather - you can always change the dates of your license.

My experience is that the later it gets however, the puddle ducks don't use the small potholes much even if they aren't frozen and use mostly bigger water (~10 acres or bigger). The main exception would be potholes in fields that the birds are feeding in. Just my experience and certainly not a hard rule.


Slough.... are the larger potholes ~10 acres or more usually wadable? My problem is I live in Iowa and work in the grain industry at a feedmill, so harvest pressure will prevent me from taking any vacation until at least late October, so its either then or never. Either way I think I can pull something outa my slieve regardless of conditions, as you all well know that successful waterfowling requires adaptability, and working for birds. Makes it that much more enjoyable when you have to pull lots of strings and it pays off. Is it too early to already have Duck Fever??
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Re: Frozen or open?

Postby slough » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:32 am

Pretty hard to generalize on wadeability but most of them should allow you to wade out at least a little ways. You can certainly find smaller potholes that will be productive that late, it will probably just take a good amount of scouting. Early in the season you can pretty much set up on just about any pothole and get some shooting, probably not so in the late season with the teal mostly gone and the mallards bunched up.
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