I've been duck hunting now for 47 years and have never seen the number of mallards we saw this year. It sounded like a train when an eagle would pass overhead and stir them all up. I rarely shoot mallards unless they are the only thing flying and fortunately this year, there were plenty of divers so I didn't shoot but a handful of mallards. We did get an invite to hunt mallards once this year and it was pretty amazing how many birds we saw that day. With such a variety of divers around this year, I just let the mallards swim around in the decoys most of the time. We never saw a single boat on our stretch of the river this year. All of my ducks go into sausage, I love breakfast sausage and eat it several days a week.
Here are a couple of our hunts. My favorite hunt of the year was our 3 generation hunt with my dad. He is 82 and has never been on a diver hunt. When I grew up if you said the word duck, it meant mallard to my dad and that's is the case with a lot of duck hunters today. The ducks never did get as thick as they have in past years, but we still had a good shoot. My dad got his limit with less than a half box of shells and that impressed me since he hasn't duck hunted in about 5 years. He had never understood why we got so excited about diver hunting until this hunt and commented after we finished up that it was the best duck hunt he had ever been on in his life. I think we about froze him to death though, I couldn't get him to take his face mask off and he was wearing my down coat, while none of us were even wearing gloves. He's had 3 different kinds of cancer and is diabetic and told me that would be his last hunt, but he was really thrilled about the day and I think he was especially tickled with the dog work. He had never seen Zip hunt before and Caleb's dog was in his first year, both dogs work well together and didn't miss a beat trading retrieves.
Josh and I did a little recon hunt around Christmas to get things figured out for my dad. We don't get to hunt much until after Christmas each year due to the nature of the decoy business. We are always too busy till then. It did give us a chance to try new things like our hen heavy diver spread with only half drakes, the rest hens and dirty drakes. We saw a lot of immature drakes this year, more than I've seen in a long time which should speak well for next year.