Where are the birds?

Waterfowl topics at their best, post here and read others views on Vermont duck hunting

Moderator: yellodog1

Where are the birds?

Postby ronvt » Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:43 am

Has anyone noticed a significant decrease in ducks over the last ten dayes beside me? Last year this time there were literally thousands of ducks. We were picking out greenheads and limitting almost every hunt. It seemed a year ago we were in peak migration this week and next, and there was a gradual decline in puddle ducks but I was still able to find birds all the way till the eand of the season and avoid divers. I enjoy shooting divers but enjoy eating puddle ducks more. The only thing I can think of is that the ducks came and went, or they are not here yet. I hope the answer is b, but I am starting to think the peak is over. I mostly hunt northern Champlain and the first split I saw thousands of birds. The second opener I was still able to yield birds the first week. Thats when the temperature dropped, and the marshes froze. That freeze combined with decrease wild rice leads me to believe the birds came and went. I am still hoping that we will get mallards and black ducks moving down but hope is dwindling. Any thoughts?
ronvt
hunter
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:45 pm
Location: Waterbury, VT


Postby benwa » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:53 am

Talking to my buddy in norther Canada, he says the birds havent moved yet, he still has open water. 50-60 degree temps and no artic fronts will make it a late migration
benwa
hunter
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:13 pm
Location: woodstock, vermont

Postby ronvt » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:30 am

Thanks Ben, you made my day. I was contemplating going back to deer hunting. Now, I will just sit tight until they start moving down.
ronvt
hunter
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:45 pm
Location: Waterbury, VT

Postby Cedar Eater » Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:10 am

There's no question that there are fewer ducks in the area surrounding Missisquoi Bay this year than there has been in the past, but I think the real question is why, and where have they gone???...

Opening season was less than superb although there were plenty of wood ducks to make up for the lack of mallards and blacks...During the season break, there were hundreds if not thousands of puddlers seen working the area right up until the day before the second season...

Rumor here has it that somebody decided that the day before the second opener would be a good time to take an airboat out for a ride and scare every duck out of the area...The opening day of the split was evidence of that and was no better than the worse day of the start of the season...Very few birds would be an understatement and everyone shared equally in the disappointment... The only remaining hope for the season at this point is there are still some birds yet to come through and that the marsh freezes hard...

The refuge was intended to be just that, a place where the birds could go to feel safe, that isn't the case anymore...When there are no birds in the refuge, there are no birds period...Excessive pressure in the refuge spoils the hunting for everyone, the birds don't feel safe and are driven off somewhere else...

That's my understanding as to the why question, the where part I can't answer...

XAWC
Cedar Eater
hunter
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 3:14 pm
Location: Hog Island, VT

Postby ronvt » Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:49 am

Cedar..That's exactly what I am talking about. I hunt the Missisquoi around 2-3 days per week during the season. One day there were thousands and the next they were almost gone. I figured it was due to the cold snap we had that caused the marsh to freeze. I hunted mud creek around 8 days ago, and all the cattails and wild rice were frozen. My dog had to jump through the ice to retrieve birds. We only had five shooting opportunities. Since then it all thawed out. I saw just as many birds the first opener as I did during last years peak, literally thousands. I figured the cold snap made them migrate. Alot of times when the marshes freeze those birds infiltrate the interior zone. With the lack of rain and decrease puddles in corn fields, I have not seen the increase we would normally see. Southern states are reporting increase numbers of birds and migration maps on DU confirm this. I hope Ben is right. If he has a friend that lives in northern Canada and has confirmed the birds are still there than they should be coming down within the next 3 weeks. The only forseeable problem would be if the weather stays warm in Canada and our temperature drops, freezing up the marshes and birds flying south and passing us by. I will be hunting addison on Friday and will post about numbers there. Ron
ronvt
hunter
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:45 pm
Location: Waterbury, VT

Postby Lavman » Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:20 am

Glad I am not the only one scratching their head about this.

Hunted Champlain south of Thompson's Point on Sunday. Arrived at the launch to find we were the ONLY ones there, then hit the marsh and realized the other hunters already knew the ducks were essentially gone. We did paddle around and find two other groups hunting must have come in from the broad lake - not the launch, we saw a total of 7 ducks from first light until 1:30pm when we decided to go home. All the ducks were high fliers, out of range so went home empty handed.
Lavman
hunter
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Weston, VT

Postby yellodog1 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:26 am

Friends of mine were supposed to go on a guided hunt near Sorel Quebec a week and a half ago. The guide called and said not to bother coming up, because there were no ducks up there, and hadn't been any for a few days.
Everyone Ive talked to in Vermont, both in the Northeast Kingdom and over near Champlain has said the same thing, the ducks just aren't around.
I'm not really sure whats going on this year.
Hunt Vermont
yellodog1
State Moderator
 
Posts: 671
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 8:05 pm
Location: The Green Mountain State

Postby goldeneye13 » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:11 pm

My theory guys it hasn't been cold enough up north yet. I spoke whit some guys in Northern Qc normally they already have about 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground but this year it's bearly even freeezing yet. So my guess is the birds aren't down yet.

Fred
goldeneye13
hunter
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:31 pm
Location: Montreal and Alburg (VT)

Postby Lavman » Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:49 am

Saw a clip on Channel 3 news the other night where Sharon Myer was "duck watching" with her outdoor expert and they were at Dead Creek, seemed to be quite a ducks in there at the time. Any reason not to check out DC this weekend?
Lavman
hunter
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Weston, VT

Postby duckin-A » Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:51 am

thanks for sharing the insightful info!! I hunted around Benson on Monday and yesterday.............no birds hardly at all except for saw bills.
" I spent all my money on Liquor & Women,
and the rest I just wasted"!!!
User avatar
duckin-A
hunter
 
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:12 pm
Location: vermont

Postby pdub » Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:30 am

I was in the Missisquoi on Nov 5th and saw tons of ducks. I would estimate at least 1000. It was the kind of day you dream about. On the 9th we saw 2. I was out again this past Wednesday and saw a good 200. They seem to be very shy and hard to decoy which leads me to believe that these birds have been here for a while. I've noticed that wind seems to be playing a bigger factor this year than it seemed to last year. The days that have been good for me, there has been a 10 mph wind, or better, out of the north. I also think that the interior has been better this year than last, but there has been more pressure in the areas I hunt in the interior so birds are running scared. Again, I think these birds have also been around the area for a while. I've also heard reports from Canada that there are no birds. I'll be on Champlain Sunday and give another report.
pdub
hunter
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:40 am
Location: burlington

Postby ronvt » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:41 pm

Went to the missisquoi this morning. Had one bird land in my decoys. Flushed it, and then missed it. That was the only bird in shooting range. This was only my second lifetime skunk at the missisquoi. My buddy hunted a different blind and shot one ring neck, which dove, and the dog could not get it. There were high flyers, 300-400 yards which showed not interest. Left at 9:30 am dissapointed. I will wait at least a week before trying the refuge again. As for the interior zone (central VT) there are very little birds. I saw a dozen on Thursday and that was the first flock I saw all year. I have only taken 4 birds in the interior zone this season. Lastly, hunted dead creek lottery yesterday. Zero birds taken, and no one else shot any birds. I found it interesting that the numbers posted for the season are what I would consider down. 78 snow geese and only 12 ducks taken all season. If I knew that I probably would not have gone. Blind 15 took around 38 geese for the year. I was lucky enough to get a good draw and chose 15 not knowing it was a 300 yard walk through a freshly plowed corn field. I have had missisqoui hunts easier than this. We did not have time to set up all our decoys. The bottom line is that by the time we left the check in, it was 5:00 a.m. Seventy minutes is not enough time to set up by shooting light so we only set up half our decoys. I saw thousands of snows, just not interested in the field we were in. The biologists came out with a tractor to take our blind down since yesterday was the last day, fortunately they took some of our decoys back in the tractor...Thank You Dave. I now will hunt deer for the first time in several years, that is until the birds return, or if they do.
ronvt
hunter
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:45 pm
Location: Waterbury, VT

Postby HuntsCTRiver » Sat Nov 15, 2008 7:19 pm

I don't know if you care but over here we haven't got our birds yet either. right after that cold snap back in Oct we had a bunch of fresh birds show up but nothing since. I looked at my journal from last year and I actually took more ducks in the first 10 days of Dec than Oct or Nov. I know your season closes before ours but keep your chin up.
I am really sorry to hear you have to take to the woods with all the deer hunters.
User avatar
HuntsCTRiver
hunter
 
Posts: 828
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 9:51 pm
Location: Claremont, NH

Postby yellodog1 » Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:13 am

Ive pretty much given up on duck hunting this year. Its been the worst year I have had. I went out a number of times where I didn't get any shooting. It gets frustrating. Ill concentrate on deer hunting now, and hope next year is better.
Last edited by yellodog1 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Hunt Vermont
yellodog1
State Moderator
 
Posts: 671
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 8:05 pm
Location: The Green Mountain State

may be getting better

Postby SwampdonkeyVT » Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:22 pm

Hey guys,

We have been singing the blues too... today was better. shot 8 between two of us, missed some other opportunities. We hunted our blind outside the mouth of the otter creek and there were more birds around and they were decoying, We have an open view of the lake so we usually see migrating groups but they hadn't decoyed for a while. Mallards and divers, no blacks that we saw. Shitloads of mergansers, seems like more than I remember?

Hopefully this is the beginning of a big push of birds! Get out there and shoot them up.

I always say that when you get back to the ramp alive after a nov or dec duck hunt you have had a great day.
SwampdonkeyVT
hunter
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 9:27 pm

Postby vermonster » Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:01 pm

I've also noticed lots of Mergansers this year. I suspect it's because they just haven't pushed out yet -- same as the other ducks up north.

I went out for some scouting yesterday after a very slow outing last weekend (I only saw sawbills). A lot of the small ponds and lakes I frequent are iced over now. Hopefully the cold weather up north will have pushed more birds down, and the cold weather here will concentrate them onto the water that is still open.
User avatar
vermonster
hunter
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:48 am
Location: Green Mountains

Postby chambo32 » Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:46 pm

Hunted Kelly Bay this afternoon two mallards and 3 blues. Scouted all the way up the islands and only saw one raft of whistlers off alburgh west shore. some coves are frozen up. Crap load of Snow geese and lots of hoodies and common sawbills. The big push has not happened yet but 4 times better than last week.
chambo32
hunter
 
Posts: 151
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 4:20 pm
Location: Huntington

Postby ronvt » Sat Nov 22, 2008 5:09 pm

Went out today in Northern Champlain. Two mallards and a goldeneye. The problem was the wind. I hunted from shore with my dog and the first mallard shot got taken by the wind. I tried sending the dog and the wind carried it out around 75 yards. I sent the dog and she was not listening to the commands, I got really frusterated at her. Then I realized I was freezing, she was covered in ice all over her face and neoprene so I decided to sit in the car and warm us both up. After that, I only shot close birds or birds that would not be taken by the wind. Anyway, many more ducks than last week. Mallards everywhere, bluebills, and goldeneyes. Pulled up several times at mergs but decided I did not want to subject the dog for a merg retrieve. I will ntry again tommorrow..probably.
ronvt
hunter
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:45 pm
Location: Waterbury, VT

Postby duckin-A » Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:32 pm

Ronvt......think about getting a small, not too expensive Kayak for these situations.......I dont have a retrieval dog but am quite often pulling my kayak out and can recover the bird. dogs, kayaks, fishing rods, all have their place and we should be ready to do whatever it takes. :wink:
" I spent all my money on Liquor & Women,
and the rest I just wasted"!!!
User avatar
duckin-A
hunter
 
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:12 pm
Location: vermont

Postby duckin-A » Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:35 pm

hunted on central champlain today. 2 of us got 7 mallards and 1 grn wng teal! and some misses! chilly.. breezy..but beautiful day!!
" I spent all my money on Liquor & Women,
and the rest I just wasted"!!!
User avatar
duckin-A
hunter
 
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:12 pm
Location: vermont

Postby ronvt » Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:21 pm

I hunt an area that can be quite treacherous. It is basically the broad lake. I have a sportspal flat bottom canoe that I bring however, really have not needed it since I started hunting with my dog. Kayaks scare me, I know it sounds immature, but I have never used one, and where I hunt cand be 2-3 waves at times. If I had more experience with one I would get one. I do have a 18 foot deep v lund with a 90 that I can use. But I usually don't take that out with wind advisories. You would think that between a dog, canoe, and boat I would not lose a bird. I may need to get a kayak in the summer and practice to over come my fear.
ronvt
hunter
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:45 pm
Location: Waterbury, VT

Postby duckin-A » Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:29 pm

I am thinking of a cold water survival suit with Gillie camo .....then I can get right after them if I need to get in the water!! :thumbsup:
" I spent all my money on Liquor & Women,
and the rest I just wasted"!!!
User avatar
duckin-A
hunter
 
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:12 pm
Location: vermont

Postby HuntsCTRiver » Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:34 pm

duckin-A wrote:I am thinking of a cold water survival suit with Gillie camo .....then I can get right after them if I need to get in the water!! :thumbsup:

LOL... I keep telling my wife that I'm going to get my 4 y/o daughter a dry suit, tie her to a rope and make her fetch my ducks :rofl:
User avatar
HuntsCTRiver
hunter
 
Posts: 828
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 9:51 pm
Location: Claremont, NH

Postby ronvt » Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:57 pm

I am heading out tommorow. Trying a little bigger spread. As for the gillie suit, be careful some are extremely water absorbant. We sometimes hunt with a gillie vest from cabelas. It has a hood and when you kneel down its hard to see you, and they don't absorb water. I will post the hunt results tommorow evening.
ronvt
hunter
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:45 pm
Location: Waterbury, VT

Postby ronvt » Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:15 am

Yesterday's hunt yeilded 1 bluebill, 2 mallards and a solo snow goose. Did not see many birds. The only mallards we saw were the three that came into the spread. Did not see many divers either.
ronvt
hunter
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:45 pm
Location: Waterbury, VT

Next

Return to Vermont Duck Hunting

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests