Season Reflection

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Season Reflection

Postby FowlPlay27403 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:46 pm

Hey guys, I was just curious as to what everyone thought of the 2017-2018 duck season? Show us your pics if you want, share your stories etc. For me personally this was the best duck season I have ever had in NC, and I have been hunting here for over a decade. What about everyone else?!
"The value of any trophy from the field depends not on its size but on the magnitude of the effort expended in its pursuit" - Aldo Leopold
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby JJWise » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:36 pm

This was my first year really duck hunting. I went a once in high school with an older cousin and his dad and once 2 years ago with a buddy who used to waterfowl hunt religiously. But both times they had done all the work, I basically just showed up and shot, and that was in WV. This year was my first scouting and hunting on my own for waterfowl, also my first year using my own dog. I kept the hunts short to keep the pup interested, and didn't duck hunt at all until after deer season ended. We got a duck each time we went out except yesterday, and I saw many more that I either missed or came just out of range. I was pleased with the times we went and I'm hooked, waterfowl has definitely replaced small game as my #2 favorite.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby echoduck » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:37 pm

Terrible season glad it has ended. Birds in Hyde have been locked in a nocturnal pattern nearly all season. Best crop of corn in a long time, essentially wasted. Each year seems to be worse than the preceding year. Less and less migration each year. Might be time to pick up new hobbies. My expectations are too high apparently.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby DOT3 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:44 pm

As good as this year should have been for me, it just wasn't so. It was a season filled with bad luck. Running the boat out of gas 10 miles from the ramp, ice/snow keeping me from birds I knew were there. I always seemed a step or 3 behind this year. No shortage of birds to hunt, just wrong place wrong time. Good riddance
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby DuckMauler » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:03 pm

In my 20+ years of hunting in NC this was by and far the worst season I have ever seen. I didn't go much and stayed on the water fishing for most of the season because of how bad it was. I predominately hunt in hyde county and pamlico counties and it was pretty disheartening as to how few of birds there were especially over the last 3 days. There has been a huge regression of birds over the last 3 years. 3 years ago birds were still using the bays in the areas I hunt, 2 years ago those same areas held very few birds but the open water in the sound still had birds. Last year it was open water hunting only if you wanted to kill anything. This year NOTHING, anywhere. No divers, no sea ducks, didn't even see that many buffies and ruddies. Last weekend we were in pamlico and saw maybe 500 bills all together flying on open water where there should be 1000s upon 1000s and very few sea ducks and absolutely no puddle ducks. This past weekend spent 3 days in hyde and never pulled the trigger on a duck. Rode miles and miles and in 3 days saw 1 blue bill. Has to be a food issue as mentioned in a previous thread. Here in the piedmont where I live I go past ponds in communities, city lakes, parks etc that are refuges and normally hold tons of birds, and just about all have been void of birds. I hear talk of the birds going past us during the ice etc.....I had a patient last week that is a hardcore duck hunter in florida and hunts all over the state from northern florida to oceechobee and he said it was the worst season they've had in over 30 years. So, I don't know if the atlantic flyway just didn't get a good migration this year or what, but one or 2 more years like this and I'll be done completely with NC duck hunting. It's bad when the state probably has more turkeys in it as we speak than ducks. You will hear from a lot of newbies that don't know how it used to be here that it was an awesome season.......not so.....at least not in my book. And I don't say this arrogantly but I'm used to killing a lot of birds.
Ephesians 4:32
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby EastBound&Down » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:16 pm

FowlPlay27403 wrote:Hey guys, I was just curious as to what everyone thought of the 2017-2018 duck season? Show us your pics if you want, share your stories etc. For me personally this was the best duck season I have ever had in NC, and I have been hunting here for over a decade. What about everyone else?!

What made it your best? Everyone measures success differently. Just time spent outdoors, kill bucket list new species, shoot 10 or 300 ducks? Just curious
I kill more ducks in one week on public water than you and your "Crews" or "Teams" would even think of killing all season. I work hard, scout and abide by the law...but still kill the crap out of ducks.
Drop Zone » Fri Oct 31, 2014
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby CatFan » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:08 pm

Not a newbie by any stretch but newish to duck hunting in NC. I didn’t by any measure kill a lot of birds. Very few actually, but I had a great season. Got my friend and his son out duck hunting for the first time and got they both got their first ducks. Pretty sure this kid is hooked for life. I got kayaks and started learning a new way of hunting. Love it. Won’t work everywhere but when it does, it’s great. I had a lot of fun and that’s what matters.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby jdbdkhr » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:43 pm

I had an average season as far as numbers of bagged birds. We had a good push of birds after Christmas with the cold weather and with all the small water locked up, there were a lot of birds on the lake. Saw some of the biggest flocks I have ever seen working my decoys. With the help of some folks on this forum, I got them in gun range and made them pay. What I really enjoyed this year was getting a friend out for his first duck, and taking another guy I met on this forum out, getting his first Bluebill and Drake Mallard. I learned a lot and will put it to good use next year. Waiting on October.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby KAhunter » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:17 am

Best year ever numbers wise. Also had a 5 hunt streak that was the poorest we have had in years. Once the weather hit it was on for the rest of the season. Was happy overall, but was ready for it to go. Got a little hunting buddy coming in may so thats my new concentration for a while. Got a lot of off season work to do. This year is gonna be full for sure
"If you have to be crazy to be a duck hunter, i dont wish to be sane" Robert Ruark

Its always duck season, there is just a long break from february to september.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby FowlPlay27403 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:29 am

EastBound&Down wrote:
FowlPlay27403 wrote:Hey guys, I was just curious as to what everyone thought of the 2017-2018 duck season? Show us your pics if you want, share your stories etc. For me personally this was the best duck season I have ever had in NC, and I have been hunting here for over a decade. What about everyone else?!

What made it your best? Everyone measures success differently. Just time spent outdoors, kill bucket list new species, shoot 10 or 300 ducks? Just curious


Hey Eastbound,

So for me this was the season that I killed more mallards than any other (other than when I went to SD but thats cheating). They are my favorite duck to hunt so for me personally it was awesome. It was also the way they decoyed for me. 5 yard shots back peddlingd. Amazing stuff. The last 2 weeks of the season were tough but from 12/20 - 1/13 was the best I have ever seen it. I live and hunt mostly in central NC so my bag is usually just woodies with a very occasional teal or mallard, but this year we got a decent number of mallards. Even had a couple of really big groups work us. Never came into the decoys but just to see a 50 rack circle a few times is enough to make me pitch a tent lol. Not to mention all the time spent with good friends. I have my first baby due in August so I am sure next year I wont get to hunt that much so I am glad that I got in some pretty awesome hunts this year.
"The value of any trophy from the field depends not on its size but on the magnitude of the effort expended in its pursuit" - Aldo Leopold
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby FowlPlay27403 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:36 am

I am shocked to hear Hyde was so bad this year. I hunted a permit hunt at the coast and we crushed it. Also have buddies that tore up BBs and Cans this year in Pam. But thats not to say they didn’t have 20 bad hunts before a good one. Hopefully it gets better for ya’ll out there.
"The value of any trophy from the field depends not on its size but on the magnitude of the effort expended in its pursuit" - Aldo Leopold
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby Shurshot » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:38 am

DM, your depiction of how the last 3 seasons have gone for you and EB absolutely mirrored mine. And we generally hunt the same ways and areas as do you. I thought the two previous seasons were not productive for lots of folks due to the abnormally warm winters we experienced. Was looking forward to a return of “normal” winter weather and the return of our birds. Well, we got more cold than we bargained for and only a push of birds that stayed around very long. Should have been “epic” everywhere but it pretty much was a bust for the most part .. unless you were in the core sound area.

So I’m still wondering what’s going on with our bird numbers in areas that traditionally winter birds? Is it the lack of SAV’s in our rivers and sounds? Too much pressure (hunting and boat traffic wise)? Birds staying locked up on refuges and large private areas? Or is that we simply are not getting the numbers here as we have in the past due to pattern changes? Do we really even know just how many (aerial count) birds are here and have been in the past? FEDS quit doing the late season counts several years ago so how do we really know, other than anecdotally? Inquiring minds want to know ....
Locked and Loaded Super "Gauge" SH
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby EastBound&Down » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:40 am

echoduck wrote:Terrible season glad it has ended. Birds in Hyde have been locked in a nocturnal pattern nearly all season. Best crop of corn in a long time, essentially wasted. Each year seems to be worse than the preceding year. Less and less migration each year. Might be time to pick up new hobbies. My expectations are too high apparently.

Sounds like you have been in my duck blind involved in our conversations.
The running joke this year has been we are gonna take up frisbee golf and become pot heads come next year
I kill more ducks in one week on public water than you and your "Crews" or "Teams" would even think of killing all season. I work hard, scout and abide by the law...but still kill the crap out of ducks.
Drop Zone » Fri Oct 31, 2014
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby EastBound&Down » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:53 am

FowlPlay27403 wrote:
EastBound&Down wrote:
FowlPlay27403 wrote:Hey guys, I was just curious as to what everyone thought of the 2017-2018 duck season? Show us your pics if you want, share your stories etc. For me personally this was the best duck season I have ever had in NC, and I have been hunting here for over a decade. What about everyone else?!

What made it your best? Everyone measures success differently. Just time spent outdoors, kill bucket list new species, shoot 10 or 300 ducks? Just curious


Hey Eastbound,

So for me this was the season that I killed more mallards than any other (other than when I went to SD but thats cheating). They are my favorite duck to hunt so for me personally it was awesome. It was also the way they decoyed for me. 5 yard shots back peddlingd. Amazing stuff. The last 2 weeks of the season were tough but from 12/20 - 1/13 was the best I have ever seen it. I live and hunt mostly in central NC so my bag is usually just woodies with a very occasional teal or mallard, but this year we got a decent number of mallards. Even had a couple of really big groups work us. Never came into the decoys but just to see a 50 rack circle a few times is enough to make me pitch a tent lol. Not to mention all the time spent with good friends. I have my first baby due in August so I am sure next year I wont get to hunt that much so I am glad that I got in some pretty awesome hunts this year.

Good Deal :thumbsup:
Didn't get the mallards this year in our holes :huh: They just never showed and usually they are like clock work every year +/- week around Thanksgiving when arriving. Back in the day an average day was to see 200-300 big ducks in the swamp we hunt and not uncommon to have 500 on a good day. Over the last 15 years on our lease it gets less and less, however the last couple of years we have seen a slight improvement up until this year and only bagged 4 mallards total. Congrats on the upcoming baby.
I kill more ducks in one week on public water than you and your "Crews" or "Teams" would even think of killing all season. I work hard, scout and abide by the law...but still kill the crap out of ducks.
Drop Zone » Fri Oct 31, 2014
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby Galactic Ricky » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:54 am

Hey, nothing wrong with frisbee golf! I take my kids and they love it. They best part is, it's free! My pot smoking days are behind me though. My season was pretty good. Got pretty good before the freeze. Couldn't get out much during the freeze though. I'd say it was above average. Most of the time I would scratch out a few birds. Only got skunked maybe twice, and I go a lot. Had a handful of really good hunts. Shot a banded drake red head 2nd to last week of the season, which was the icing on the cake. Got to hunt some impoundments I was invited to, and that was good. That will pretty much ruin you for public duck hunting though. More divers in my area than I have ever seen. Took my daughter out for the first time this year. She loved it and and we had a good time. She's only 8 but that was the best hunt of the year for me. Overall I would give it an A.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby ncbufflehead » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:55 am

Overall, we had a great season. The only thing we didn't kill many of that we usually do was teal. They were pretty much non-existent other than a couple days.

Anyone else notice the increase in black ducks and how easily they decoyed?
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby Galactic Ricky » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:03 am

Man, don't get me started on the black ducks. I had a spot scouted out where I was gonna set up on some. Decent group of mallards and black ducks hanging out during the day. I was going to set up early and not even throw any dekes out. They had been in that spot like clockwork for a while. Then it froze and I couldn't even get my boat out of the boat house. They were not around anymore after the thaw. Had another chance one other time where we waited too long to shoot thinking they would decoy in closer. They didn't and we should have shot. Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby black_duck » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:58 am

ncbufflehead wrote:Overall, we had a great season. The only thing we didn't kill many of that we usually do was teal. They were pretty much non-existent other than a couple days.

Anyone else notice the increase in black ducks and how easily they decoyed?



This X2.

I had the same exact observations. A season with lots of amazing hunts, and a lot of awful hunts. Teal are normally our main species, but I observed hardly any teal all year other than one day we killed about a dozen of them. The number of black ducks killed for us was more than the last five years combined. Absolutely crushed the black ducks during the freeze. Also observed lots of redheads around most of the year.
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The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

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Re: Season Reflection

Postby merg » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:10 pm

ncbufflehead wrote:
Anyone else notice the increase in black ducks and how easily they decoyed?


Yeah there was a pile of em. I didn't pull any of the big groups but was shocked at the number of pairs that lit in the decoys. Most of those were poorish so maybe just hungry...
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby KAhunter » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:29 pm

ncbufflehead wrote:Overall, we had a great season. The only thing we didn't kill many of that we usually do was teal. They were pretty much non-existent other than a couple days.

Anyone else notice the increase in black ducks and how easily they decoyed?

Yep we were very down on teal as well this year. This has been pretty common with most people I have talked to. Even last year we killed more but didnt ever seem to see them like in years past. It seems that the last few years have been off somewhat for teal. They are normally our #2 duck by far and this year they are neck and neck with gadwall for #2. Did very well on gadwall this year. Did not see many widgeon at all. Killed a few but they were way down. Would have thought we would have seen a bunch with the weather we had but that wasnt the case all season. Everything else was up pretty much for the year.

I heard some of the big boys where loaded up with teal (dare to hyde, hester, simmons) in Hyde but other than that no one saw many. Hope its just a few off years. Who knows.
"If you have to be crazy to be a duck hunter, i dont wish to be sane" Robert Ruark

Its always duck season, there is just a long break from february to september.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby HydeMarsh » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:02 pm

The Sound produced some eventful hunts. Redheads, Cans, Widgeon, and Black ducks.
Our Impoundments at Lake Landing were just awful. A place that should produce 700 to 800 per year produced less than 50.
However it did produce one of my most memorable moments. On the last day my son brought my 5 year old grandson to sit in the blind with us. We taught him to do a teal peep on an ABC whistle. He was peeping when a GW teal came in and my son killed it. both were very excited. He told everyone he called in a duck and his daddy got it.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby HydeMarsh » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:08 pm

hunter jack first (5).jpg


Picture to confirm.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby Dingbatter » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:13 pm

Rather poor season again this year along with the past 3. Started good in November through Thanksgiving then went south. Only ended up hunting about 10 days all season. Work had me tied down especially when all the snow and ice hit. I ended up working 11 days straight 10 to 12 hours a day. Really didn't feel much like hunting once I got a day off. I wish I knew the secret that so many others seem to know. I seem to work more and more each season and hunt less. :mad:
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby ncdrumchaser » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:15 pm

Teal used to be a staple of my November hunts as well as Jan. impoundment hunts. Not the case this year. My season started with tons of blind repair/rebuild....a lot of work for me and friends who needed it. After all the work, November was painfully slow when i did go. Pre holidays was so-so, nothing special. Once the cold got here, Elsa had other plans for the ducks! Seems she was as mad at them as we were! The hunting was as good as i have ever seen it so close to home in a long time! Redheads, bluebills, black ducks and various other puddle ducks. Snow geese were in places i have never seen them before, although i never got a shot at one. This year for me ranked up with one of the best years i have seen, ranking up with the when the sound froze across 16-17 years ago, hurricane Sandy, and this year. As quick as they arrived, they were gone the last 2 days of the season.
becuase you leave at 2 am to hunt ducks... makes me glad we have blind laws!
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby Paul26 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:48 pm

My lesson from this season is that I can’t keep reinforcing failure. I hunt the same areas thinking they’ll finally show up, and they do not. My take away is that I need more options. The problem for me is I need a bigger boat to get to other spots...going to fix this.

No question that an area that normally holds thousands of birds did not get them this year. I should be seeing them rafted by the high hundreds or thousands right now. They simply aren’t there.

I spent the last weekend in Hyde at an incredible impoundment....no one in my blind fired a shot at a duck in 2 days. All of us with a swan permit got one. The swan were the most active I have seen in Hyde in 6 years. I think there was a group in the air almost non-stop for 2 days. We also shot a goose each day. Even without ducks, Hyde County is a magical place to me.

I still loved getting out there on a Saturday morning. I am no less in love with this sport than any other year. The ducks are still somewhere.....they just weren’t in my river this year. I honestly think sometimes it just came down to the lead duck in a major migration took a left instead of a right, and 40,000 birds followed that idiot. We’ll get them next year.
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