I have wanted a Canvasback for many years now and cannot say for certain I've ever even seen one while hunting. About February I started making plans for a Pool 9 hunt as I'd read that was the place to be for one. But let me tell you, if you want to go, make reservations early as they will be filled up by February. I got lucky and a group had two of their party cancel, which gave me the opening to hunt with them. I booked with Hideaway Hollow Outfitters and my hunt days were Nov 24 and 25.
I left out of Springfield, MO at 4am on Saturday and it took me about 15 hours to get there adding in browsing time along the way. We met up Sunday morning and it was me, another guy, and the guide. Come to find out, the party I was to hunt with had cancelled altogether and we were both fill-ins. My vehicle thermometer said it was 9 degrees and the wind chill on the radio said 10 below. The guide, Jeremy, broke ice into the lake, but everthing was frozen solid. I really thought I had a wasted trip when the guide told me there usually would be 15 trucks/boats at the ramp, and we were the only ones there. The hunt was scheduled to end at 1pm, and I had written it off at daybreak as a wasted day and crossed my fingers for the next. About 9am the guide suggested we go in and eat lunch and meet back at 1pm to try it then. The wind had picked up and the temperature was supposed to break the freezing mark. Sure enough in the afternoon we found an open hole near a brushy spot and the hunting was phenomenal. The two of us could not look in enough directions to see all the birds buzzing us.
Long story short, I got my two Canvasbacks and cannot imagine how many Goldeneyes we could have shot with no limit. I shot my 4 Goldeneyes and 1 Canvasback in about 20 minutes. Then waited for about 20 min to collect that second Can.
We left the ramp about 1:30 and were back and driving out of the parking lot at 4:00. An hour of that was the guy with me filling his limit (he had a "few" misses).
So comes the second day of the hunt. I expected one of two things, either exactly like the day before or zero ducks anywhere. The guy who had hunted with me the first day went home, so it was just me and the guide in a 21 foot boat. We went to a nearby spot thinking we could bust ice to make a hole, but it just didn't work. Finally about 9am the guide suggested we go back to where we were the day before and hunt beside his partner, who was there with 3 other clients. They had all already shot their 4 Goldeneyes and were holding out for Cans. I told the guide after the day before, I'd be happy shooting a limit of Goldeneyes and calling it. And, similar to the day before, we shot my six ducks in a little over an hour. On my 5th duck the guide took it from the dog at the front of the boat and this is what we found....