Finding open water can be a challenge now, but if any can be found there are sure to be birds there. I went an was looking at a local refuge that has sections open to waterfowl hunting for decoying for the last couple weekends of the season and was amazed by the numbers of birds. Mostly goldeneye but also some large isolated groups of greenheads and widgeon, and a couple canvasbacks. I wasnt planning on doing any hunting as I was mainly going to work the pup in the water getting him familiar with the short ice shelves on the bank to boost his confidence, but ended up chasing birds for the rest of the afternoon. If I could have shot a little straighter I would have been close to a limit of greenheads, but I was still able to bring some birds down. It is alot of fun to gun down those GE's as they are burning down the surface of the water and seeing the shot hit the water to compensate lead for the follow up shots. I can see that I may need to get a diver rig set up for this next season to key in on these birds.
This trip was also one of those light bulb moments for my pup. The first couple retrieves I had to walk him over the ice to the water and lead him in the water to the bird. By the third bird I only had to walk him over the ice and he was off in the river by himself. The last bird to come scooting by was the GE hen and I couldent resist seeing the pup on another retrieve. The cripple hit the water and with the pup still at my side I could see that he marked the bird. I sent him and he ran accros the short ice shelf, powered through the river and came back with the prize. That was what made my day.