My Comeback Story

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My Comeback Story

Postby cyoung24 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:12 pm

With all grouchy posts lately and the early freeze up (It's crazy, it's the second week of the SE season and its frozen solid. I'm not complaining about the dates, I actually like this years set up.) it's likely only going to get more bitter around here. I figured I would share my story from this past weekend. The only way I could think to describe it is a comeback story.

I got to my local marsh Saturday at about 10:30am. I really shouldn't have been there because I had been sick for several days and still didn't feel great but I wanted to get the layout boat out again before the freeze (not that it's not gonna thaw but you never know). I motored a long way back into the marsh in an effort to avoid other people. I was set up and nestled in the boat by about noon. Shortly after setting up I shot my first duck of the day, a greenhead. Then it went downhill. Some birds were flying but wouldn't even give me a look. Then a pair of guys walk in and set up about 100yds to my right and did the bucket routine, they sit on buckets in smartweed that is no taller than my knees. The ducks that were flying wanted where they were and would come in to probably 80yds and flare when they saw them. They wouldn't skyblast at them but would wail on their calls at everything including the few that would work me. A little later a group of loudmouthed, skyblasting kids moved in behind all of us. They would shoot at everything that flew over, sending crippled ducks in all directions all while hooping and hollering loud enough for the whole marsh to hear. At this point it's almost 4pm, I'm exhausted, sick of the people and the ducks not working and I just plain don't feel good. So I'm about ready to pick up when a drake pintail drops in out of nowhere and I take him at 10yrds. This starting something that has never happened to me in my years of duck hunting. Everything changed in an instant. I could barely get back in the boat and covered up by the time the next duck was hovering in the decoys. They were dropping in from a mile high on a string as if I were on the "X". I made a bad shot on one that sailed off that I was able to find but as I'm walking back ducks are landing in my spread. I filled my limit in less than and hour and that was with at least a 20 minute search for the cripple. The craziest thing about it was every duck that decoyed was a drake, there was no waiting on drakes or picking and choosing, I didn't have to. I don't know if I was being rewarded for my patience or just luck but someone was blessing me that day.
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Re: My Comeback Story

Postby cluckmeister » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:30 pm

Your comeback was great and I hope all the other idiots didn't fire a shot and don't for the rest of the season
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Re: My Comeback Story

Postby flynfold » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:51 pm

The Duck Gods were smiling on you, for sure. I love when the unexpected happens, Those are the days we live for. Some of the best hunting I have had before thanksgiving in a long time.
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Re: My Comeback Story

Postby EcatMagoo » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:56 pm

I have a some what similar story to tell from this past weekend. I normally do everything I can to hunt in isolated locations. Like I've said on many occasions i'd rather shoot 2 or 3 ducks without another hunter in sight than shoot my limit in a crowded marsh.

Well, the past few weekends my isolated spots have not been producing so my hunting partner and I, after getting some inside information about limits being shot, decided to get up real early and try a marsh where I knew we might have to deal with the type of duck hunting I try to avoid.

The day started out okay. We paddled our lay out boats into the marsh and flushed a ton of ducks on our way in. We set up pretty close to where the ducks had been resting and waited for the sun to rise. There were 4-5 groups of guys around but none of them appeared to be within 200 yards of us. Honestly, I don't like to have a group within 1000 yards of me but if i'm shooting ducks over the decoys I can tolerate it on occasion.

At shooting time we had two mallards hover over the decoys and took them both. After our two birds a pattern started to develop. The birds would circle about 150 yards to our left and then spook and take off. I sat up and realized there were 4 young guys on buckets sitting is smart weed that was no more than 6 inches tall. The birds were trying to decoy on them but their lack of cover was making it impossible for the ducks to decoy in range.

So we waited as flock after flock would fly the same pattern. Looking, seeing the bucket boys, and then fleeing. About 9:30 the group of 4 left and the ducks started to work our spread. We quickly shot 3 more mallards, 1 pintail drake, and 1 green wing teal. The action was really heating up when I turned to my partner and said , "We have this place all to ourselves.. looks like we are going to shoot our limit" Moments later I heard sloshing threw the marsh and it sounded close. I sat up and saw two guys getting ready to set up 100 yards from us. I stood up in my layout and yelled , "We are set up right here!" One of the guys yelled back, "We know!" I replied, "You are setting up too close to us!" I could see him waving his hands and saying something to justify where they were setting up" Like the earlier group these two were on buckets and had a few decoys and a spinner. Their way to deal with the lack of cover was to set their spinner about 45 yards from where they were set up. That way the ducks could decoy on the spinner allowing shots at 45 - 70 yards. To make things worse apparently they had set up on the X because every flock that came in decoyed right in and was either wounded and lost, killed, or scared off.

It was obvious after about 15 minutes the ducks were not going to be decoying on our spread any longer. So we picked up and moved about 250 yards away from the new group. We were able to decoy and shoot one more mallard but soon after our move another group of bucket squatters came from another direction and set up 75 yards from us so we went home.

The most disappointing thing about these high traffic public marshes is that setting up within 100 yards from other groups is the norm not the exception. Its just how these guys hunt. Its become the common etiquette at many public marshes. They set up too close to each other, sky bust ducks and spray cripples all over the marsh. Its common place and its the way things are done. Please don't think I'm saying you guys hunt like this because that's not what i'm trying to say. I understand there are still those of us who refuse to set up close to others no matter how much extra work it takes. And I know i'm not the only one who won't pull the trigger unless the ducks are inside 30 yards.

This type of hunting is not the duck hunting that I love and I just wish there were more of us around who shared similar duck hunting ethics.
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Re: My Comeback Story

Postby Duckaholic-Anonymous » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:53 pm

Ecat, that sounds terrible. I hunt both sides of the KS/MO border (KS resident) and the thing I love but also hate about KS is the lack of restricting hunting parties. It helps to hunt remote areas but it's hard to find a good spot someone doesn't already know about. I wish I knew the place you were hunting just so I could avoid it! But don't say please. Anyway, going to try some river action with the impending freezing action, hopefully I can use my longtail to get to one of those "remote" spots. Better luck next time.


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Re: My Comeback Story

Postby mudpack » Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:34 am

flynfold wrote:The Duck Gods were smiling on you, for sure. I love when the unexpected happens, Those are the days we live for.

+1

Days like cy had are why we pay our dues (such as ecat's story) throughout the season.
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Re: My Comeback Story

Postby TBS » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:08 am

Spent a few hours on the phone with my good friend from TN last night. He was sharing some stories about the "cylce" that duck hunting has gone through in his part of the world. What he noticed about 15 years ago was that duck hunting became VERY popular amongst the younger generation. For years, everybody knew everybody and there was a certain respect each party had for the other. Traditions were valued and a man's reputation was more important than anything else. He feels that as the years passed by, the addition of new faces at the boat ramp gave way to the erosion of respect and decency amongst competing parties. Guys no longer knew each other by name, and it was much easier to set up too close, shoot swings, and call at birds working the other guy's spread. Each year, more and more unethical behavior would occur, and it got to where you just expected some sort of conflict every time out. That is when the old guys began to give it up. Some of them went on to private leases, others gave it up completely. I fear this is what is going to happen around here. Guys like you and I who want to experience the "traditional" decoying duck hunt are fewer and fewer these days. Just think about it, if all you really want to do is pass shoot birds overhead, what do you do? Yep, set up on top of another group, don't worry about concealment, and bang away! I see it on big water and marshes. The abundance of activity on our few public waters dramatically impacts the QUALITY of hunting for the traditionalists among us. I have contemplated giving it up, and finding something else to do but still have the urge to hit the water often. I've found that more often than not this season, my enjoyment of the hunt has been directly impacted in a negetive way because of other hunters. I guess I am going to have to decide between hunting amongst crowds and disrespectful people or staying at home. In TN, the majority of traditionalists just gave it up, I wonder what will happen here as we continue to see additional pressure and hunter participation on our limited wetlands?

What's say you?
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Re: My Comeback Story

Postby EcatMagoo » Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:42 am

Personally, I will just continue to hunt remote spots with lesser habitat. All I'm really looking for is 2-5 really quality decoying opportunities. If I can get that and dont see another hunter I'll be happy. If I ever lose those spots to the crowds I don't know what I'll do. I guess my mistake this past weekend was sacrificing my desire to be away from the crowds with he hope of shooting a limit of greens.
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Re: My Comeback Story

Postby champer196 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:13 pm

TBS wrote:Spent a few hours on the phone with my good friend from TN last night. He was sharing some stories about the "cylce" that duck hunting has gone through in his part of the world. What he noticed about 15 years ago was that duck hunting became VERY popular amongst the younger generation. For years, everybody knew everybody and there was a certain respect each party had for the other. Traditions were valued and a man's reputation was more important than anything else. He feels that as the years passed by, the addition of new faces at the boat ramp gave way to the erosion of respect and decency amongst competing parties. Guys no longer knew each other by name, and it was much easier to set up too close, shoot swings, and call at birds working the other guy's spread. Each year, more and more unethical behavior would occur, and it got to where you just expected some sort of conflict every time out. That is when the old guys began to give it up. Some of them went on to private leases, others gave it up completely. I fear this is what is going to happen around here. Guys like you and I who want to experience the "traditional" decoying duck hunt are fewer and fewer these days. Just think about it, if all you really want to do is pass shoot birds overhead, what do you do? Yep, set up on top of another group, don't worry about concealment, and bang away! I see it on big water and marshes. The abundance of activity on our few public waters dramatically impacts the QUALITY of hunting for the traditionalists among us. I have contemplated giving it up, and finding something else to do but still have the urge to hit the water often. I've found that more often than not this season, my enjoyment of the hunt has been directly impacted in a negetive way because of other hunters. I guess I am going to have to decide between hunting amongst crowds and disrespectful people or staying at home. In TN, the majority of traditionalists just gave it up, I wonder what will happen here as we continue to see additional pressure and hunter participation on our limited wetlands?

What's say you?


Your friend hit the nail on the head. I may have posted this before here and if so I apoligize. But, once upon a time (even around here) there were the faithful duck hunters. You had the bird hunters who hunted until bird season opened then they quit waterfowling. You also had the fair weather guys who did not spend the dollars for fowl weather gear and once it got cold they quit as well. The faithfuls may not have known each other by name but we recognized trucks and people. Now there is a different truck everyday. Some parties even go as far as driving multiple vehicles to the area so it appears as though there are a lot of hunters.

The bucket brigades are alive and well. Phil Robertson and gang along with all the others who have made videos and tv shows have made cammo very popular and duck hunting as well.

The boom in waterfowl populations switched many from upland hunting to waterfowl hunting. These guys for the most part are out there for the kill. They are the ones who want to kill birds no matter the cost.

The rudeness of some of these younger generation of hunters along with the "need" to kill not just a few birds, but limits of birds each time is unreal.

I always said if you pull the trigger on a duck or goose you need to be a member of DU or Delta waterfowl. You need to put at least a little bit back into them.

If these young guys had mentors other than the TV duck hunters who portray the sport as something other than a bunch of hooping and hollering when they see 5 ducks die out of a flock,(half of which are hens) and spend more time talking about conservation, ethics, and good dog work I think we would see a better bunch of young hunters overall.

I've gone to the marshes before and found them too full to feel comfortable setting up so I would end up scouting, walking a field for upland, or just watching from the truck. Just because you go there and the marsh is full by no means says you HAVE to hunt and set up on top of another party.

I've done this for 40 years now and last year I threw in the towel pretty much. I'd seen enough. I'm still a life long member of DU and always will be. But my days of going to the public marshes with all the young duck killers are done.

It's been a good run. Time for the youngin's to battle it out in their own way. Hopefully those that aren't exactly ethical in their ways of waterfowling will change their ways as they age, and I think if they do, they will find it much more enjoyable.

I'll still hunt my personal pond for geese but the days of marsh hunting are over for me.

Now for me it's on to bird dogs, specifically English Pointers. I've had more fun raising, training and running these dogs the past years than I have had the past 10 battling the public marshes. Much more pleasant and enjoyable. I find my blood pressure levels much lower after a days hunt.
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Re: My Comeback Story

Postby quackattack1991 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:02 pm

Is that a MOmarsh? I wish I had one for some of my spots right now. Barely too deep to wade.
2012-2013 Season

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Re: My Comeback Story

Postby John O`Neal » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:16 pm

Cyoung24 ; Great story Chris sounds like Ecat could have used some of your eventual good fortune . Monday a father and son I know hunted your favorite marsh complex in the late afternoon . They text me that they were the only hunters there. They broke a little ice but said it was not frozen completely over. With none of the issues you or Ecat faced they were able to get their ducks in fairly short order. I was unable to go Monday but my two hunting buddy's were a bit farther south. They text at 10 am , said it was dreadfully slow one duck . An hour later they text again and said "were done" They went on to say it was if the duck God had thrown the switch and it started raining ducks . They took lots of pics and even attempted to video some of it . As soon as I can get this computer fixed I will post a few of their pics, they are pretty impressive . It makes the heart beat faster to see that many ducks all cupped up and dropping in . Hang in there fellas the colder it gets the fewer people we`ll see in the marsh . The bucket brigade period is almost over. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone . Here`s a couple of pics I got it to load from Monday`s hunt .


Incoming
Image[/url
Lizzy anxiously watching for ducks
Image
Last edited by John O`Neal on Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Comeback Story

Postby cluckmeister » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:57 pm

The colder it gets the fewer the people, How true it is, 6 degrees this morning and nobody but me and a friend hunting the marsh
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Re: My Comeback Story

Postby cyoung24 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:29 pm

Thanks for all the kind words, comments and stories. Quackattack my boat is a Four Rivers Refuge Runner. I run a trolling motor and a 2.5hp outboard with a modified transom to allow it to run shallower.

The bucket brigade hopefully will thin out even after it thaws since the grass will be knocked down from the ice but i guarantee someone will still plop down out in the open. I've said it in previous rants before, my biggest duck hunting pet peeve is not being hidden. Every time I go out I am extremely anal about being hidden and it pays off a lot of the time. These bucket guys probably go home after pass shooting 1 or 2 birds and tell their buddies that the birds weren't working or were call or decoy shy when actually if they had been hidden well they would have had ducks in their face.

As far as the way it used to be and now I can't really attest to how it was. I'm 30 and have been duck hunting for probably 10 years. I don't think I would be considered a waterfowling purist either. I love all the gadgets, gear and new decoys. I use multiple spinners even a mallard machine if there's a need for it and my favorite color is camo. I don't match head to toe but I enjoy trying out new patterns not that it matters since I'm laying in a layout boat and I'm usually wearing camo jacket even when I'm not hunting. I will say I don't like this new fad of flat billed thug duck hunters. I just enjoy the challenge of fooling that duck into fully commiting to the decoys and making the best, cleanest, most ethical shot which I would say is inside 25yds. I don't see the enjoyment in shooting a duck that just happens to be flying by low enough to get a pellet or two in. Unlike what many people think hunting is not just about the kill, it's just as much about everything else that leads up to pulling the trigger and what follows. I wouldn't consider it being a purist but a responsible sportsman, which is what everyone that hunts is suppose to be.

I do think the sky busting and unsafe, unethical behavior is shared by all generations at the marsh. I've seen old guys do just as dumb stuff as the kids. I think this is due to a death spiral were in of declining public hunting access with increasing waterfowling interest and a desperation to be successful. Now the loud mouthed behavior seems only to be the kids which I attribute to a lack of manners which I feel are not taught to this younger generation.

I generally don't let the crowds bother me too much. As long as they don't set up in my shooting zone I usually don't mind. When they do is when I get upset and usually have words with them but its not that often, most of the time they set up on my sides. Over the years I've figured out some things to counter act people that set up near me and the crowds in general. My biggest surprise, the "comeback" in my story wasn't so much that the ducks would work even with people set up all around but was how the fast the tide turned in that all day it seemed like a bust and then suddenly they wanted my spot. For the most part ducks will still decoy in close as long as your set up right even in a packed marsh with people right by you, just ask the two groups that set up ontop of me the past 2 Saturdays. They got to see them decoy great just not in their decoys. I'll get off my soapbox now. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.
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