First off, thanks to everyone who regularly posts here. I've been lurking on this forum for quite a while and gleaning lot of good information. Pictures of your hunts keep me motivated to figure this stuff out and learn to hunt waterfowl. I've only gotten into bird hunting over the last few years and the learning curve has been steep, but the challenge is part of the fun.
This is my first season with my first bird dog, a female Drahthaar, and she's been doing pretty well. We hunted FB 3-4 times and the Green once and while I wasn't able to shoot any birds for her, she was able to retrieve 4 birds for other people who I came across that were having a hard time locating their birds (but were trying very hard). Since it has cooled down we've mostly been hunting chukar, which has had its own learning curve, but we're both starting to figure that out now.
Now that she's had quite a few experiences with various upland birds, I'm now wishing I would have been able to get her some more waterfowl retrieves. With a few weeks in the season and this frigid weather I understand that waterfowl options are limited, but I think that this weekend or next I'm going to make at least one more waterfowl effort before the season closes, and I'm thinking about attempting to hunt the Great Salt Lake. I've never hunted it or even hiked out to it, so I'm looking for any advice that you might be willing to share. I understand that it will be a long, cold hike, and being my first time in a new area I'm prepared for failure, but that's how you learn right? Here's some specific questions:
1. I'll be dragging a jet sled out there with some decoys, what should I do to conceal myself and my dog? I'm assuming that there is little vegetation, right? How do you hide on a sandy shore with no vegetation?
2. Decoys. Right now I've got 2 dozen mallard decoys. From what I understand I'll mostly likely run into spoonies, goldeneye, and maybe some teal. I've seen some threads showing how you can make diver decoys by painting puddler decoys. Would it be wise to take some of my mallards and paint them black and white? How many of my decoys should I take?
3. Access. I think I have a pretty good idea about where to start hiking near Saltair, but I know that there is a lot of land that is off-limits out there. I'd be grateful if someone could send me a PM just letting me know where the off-limits (nature preserve, state park, etc.) land is, or how I can find out myself.
Also, if anyone is interested in joining me shoot me a PM. I hear its a long walk and it'd probably be safer to go with someone.
Thanks in advance,