Season Reflection

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Re: Season Reflection

Postby ncbufflehead » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:13 pm

Paul26 wrote: 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.

Much the same as having a flock of a couple hundred coming in on a string and one single flies by 200 yards away going a different direction and screws it all up.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby creekcaptain » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:35 pm

Teal season :lol3: was OK on the opener and after that we picked what we thought were good days and just couldn't connect. The October season was even tough. We didn't chase the woodies and didn't get the ducks we had scouted after that decision. I traveled in early November and during the December split, both on DIY hunts and did pretty well. November here in NC,since we missed the opener, was pretty slow. A few ducks here and there, but nothing gang busters. The start of the third split we had a few good hunts and the freeze up produced the best hunts of the year. I think we boated every species of duck this year that's common around our part of the flyway. Had a day where we SAW pins, cans and goldeneye on a body of water that never really holds much of anything and isn't much more than the butt of a joke. During the freeze up, we had our best hunts of the year outside of early November out of state. On that cold day in January we probably decoyed 2000 bluebills between 9-3. It was a continuous merry go round of blackheads with mixed bags of cans, bills, pins, and a pile of other puddlers. It was a pretty good season overall I'd say. The dog got plenty of work, the boat got better as the season went on, and I actually had some days when I was hitting pretty good. I'm not a member of any clubs, impoundments, or exclusive cliques. No family land, no lease, and NO big CHECK to right each year. :hammer: Straight public and usually no invites to go anywhere. I'm not complaining. I never expect much and don't get mad when they don't show up. I do travel and hunt with the weather and it turns out to be OK. It seemed to me that we never saw a whole lot, but the ducks we did see worked pretty well.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby HydeMarsh » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:34 pm

I did see something interesting on the last day of the season. At lunch time my son and I went to an area we own very near the sound. we heard what sounded like a huge jet engine right over our heads. there were at least 5000 red heads in a huge tight flock no more than 20 yards over our head. I have seen waves of them headed to the lake but usually very high. this flock was headed to the lake as well. Time of day and height was unusual to me.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby Galactic Ricky » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:25 am

Paul26 wrote: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.


Amen. Duck hunting is one of the most bittersweet things I have ever experienced. I did learn some things this year. Be more mobile. Go shoot sporting clays a few times before the season starts. Makes a huge difference. I was missing often in November. Finally honed it in but it took a few weeks. Don't use old, cheap shells. Even if they are OK, it's still in your mind that it might be the shell and not your shooting. Know for sure. Don't wait on birds thinking they will get closer on the next swing. If they are in range, shoot them. Learned a lot this season.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby KAhunter » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:39 am

Galactic Ricky wrote:
Paul26 wrote: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.


Amen. Duck hunting is one of the most bittersweet things I have ever experienced. I did learn some things this year. Be more mobile. Go shoot sporting clays a few times before the season starts. Makes a huge difference. I was missing often in November. Finally honed it in but it took a few weeks. Don't use old, cheap shells. Even if they are OK, it's still in your mind that it might be the shell and not your shooting. Know for sure. Don't wait on birds thinking they will get closer on the next swing. If they are in range, shoot them. Learned a lot this season.


If you find your shooting to be an issue, try to shoot consistently - same shells, loads, sizes and especially speeds. Dove hunting is a great warm up for the season. Shoot the same speed dove loads as you do for duck loads. That is a big deal. That will make your lead consistent. You dont have to shoot the high dollar duck loads, but you dont want to go cheap as possible either. I shoot kents and they do very well with killing ducks. 3.5 1 9/16 or 3" 1 3/8 loads. 1300 fps. #2s. Kills them as well as anything I have ever seen.
"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 Galactic Ricky » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:06 am

KAhunter wrote:
Galactic Ricky wrote:
Paul26 wrote: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.


Amen. Duck hunting is one of the most bittersweet things I have ever experienced. I did learn some things this year. Be more mobile. Go shoot sporting clays a few times before the season starts. Makes a huge difference. I was missing often in November. Finally honed it in but it took a few weeks. Don't use old, cheap shells. Even if they are OK, it's still in your mind that it might be the shell and not your shooting. Know for sure. Don't wait on birds thinking they will get closer on the next swing. If they are in range, shoot them. Learned a lot this season.


If you find your shooting to be an issue, try to shoot consistently - same shells, loads, sizes and especially speeds. Dove hunting is a great warm up for the season. Shoot the same speed dove loads as you do for duck loads. That is a big deal. That will make your lead consistent. You dont have to shoot the high dollar duck loads, but you dont want to go cheap as possible either. I shoot kents and they do very well with killing ducks. 3.5 1 9/16 or 3" 1 3/8 loads. 1300 fps. #2s. Kills them as well as anything I have ever seen.


Unfortunately, I don't get to go dove hunting that often anymore b/c my kids are actively involved in travel ball. Last season I shot sporting clays before the season opened and shot great when duck season came around. Got lazy this year and didn't go before the season, and it showed. Matching the fps is good advise. I agree the Kent's are good shells. I found some old Xperts that I wanted to use up at the beginning of this season and it just wasn't getting it done. I had numerous birds get knocked down, then I'd shoot the cripple, then they'd get up and still fly away, to my amazement. Happened several times. Bought new shells and didn't have that issue anymore. Still, my shooting was off but you want to make darn sure it's your shooting and not the shells, or both. Want make that mistake again. Thanks for the advise.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby ncbufflehead » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:30 am

Same shells all the time definitely makes a difference and pattern your gun.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby KAhunter » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:39 pm

Galactic Ricky wrote:
KAhunter wrote:
Galactic Ricky wrote:
Paul26 wrote: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.


Amen. Duck hunting is one of the most bittersweet things I have ever experienced. I did learn some things this year. Be more mobile. Go shoot sporting clays a few times before the season starts. Makes a huge difference. I was missing often in November. Finally honed it in but it took a few weeks. Don't use old, cheap shells. Even if they are OK, it's still in your mind that it might be the shell and not your shooting. Know for sure. Don't wait on birds thinking they will get closer on the next swing. If they are in range, shoot them. Learned a lot this season.


If you find your shooting to be an issue, try to shoot consistently - same shells, loads, sizes and especially speeds. Dove hunting is a great warm up for the season. Shoot the same speed dove loads as you do for duck loads. That is a big deal. That will make your lead consistent. You dont have to shoot the high dollar duck loads, but you dont want to go cheap as possible either. I shoot kents and they do very well with killing ducks. 3.5 1 9/16 or 3" 1 3/8 loads. 1300 fps. #2s. Kills them as well as anything I have ever seen.


Unfortunately, I don't get to go dove hunting that often anymore b/c my kids are actively involved in travel ball. Last season I shot sporting clays before the season opened and shot great when duck season came around. Got lazy this year and didn't go before the season, and it showed. Matching the fps is good advise. I agree the Kent's are good shells. I found some old Xperts that I wanted to use up at the beginning of this season and it just wasn't getting it done. I had numerous birds get knocked down, then I'd shoot the cripple, then they'd get up and still fly away, to my amazement. Happened several times. Bought new shells and didn't have that issue anymore. Still, my shooting was off but you want to make darn sure it's your shooting and not the shells, or both. Want make that mistake again. Thanks for the advise.

Well when you are shooting skeet, use similar or same speed shells, with same choke as you duck hunt with. Try to match as close as you can what you will be down when you duck hunt.
"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 CatFan » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:56 am

KAhunter wrote:
Galactic Ricky wrote:
KAhunter wrote:
Galactic Ricky wrote:
Paul26 wrote: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.


Amen. Duck hunting is one of the most bittersweet things I have ever experienced. I did learn some things this year. Be more mobile. Go shoot sporting clays a few times before the season starts. Makes a huge difference. I was missing often in November. Finally honed it in but it took a few weeks. Don't use old, cheap shells. Even if they are OK, it's still in your mind that it might be the shell and not your shooting. Know for sure. Don't wait on birds thinking they will get closer on the next swing. If they are in range, shoot them. Learned a lot this season.


If you find your shooting to be an issue, try to shoot consistently - same shells, loads, sizes and especially speeds. Dove hunting is a great warm up for the season. Shoot the same speed dove loads as you do for duck loads. That is a big deal. That will make your lead consistent. You dont have to shoot the high dollar duck loads, but you dont want to go cheap as possible either. I shoot kents and they do very well with killing ducks. 3.5 1 9/16 or 3" 1 3/8 loads. 1300 fps. #2s. Kills them as well as anything I have ever seen.


Unfortunately, I don't get to go dove hunting that often anymore b/c my kids are actively involved in travel ball. Last season I shot sporting clays before the season opened and shot great when duck season came around. Got lazy this year and didn't go before the season, and it showed. Matching the fps is good advise. I agree the Kent's are good shells. I found some old Xperts that I wanted to use up at the beginning of this season and it just wasn't getting it done. I had numerous birds get knocked down, then I'd shoot the cripple, then they'd get up and still fly away, to my amazement. Happened several times. Bought new shells and didn't have that issue anymore. Still, my shooting was off but you want to make darn sure it's your shooting and not the shells, or both. Want make that mistake again. Thanks for the advise.

Well when you are shooting skeet, use similar or same speed shells, with same choke as you duck hunt with. Try to match as close as you can what you will be down when you duck hunt.


Skeet, IMO, doesn't translate very well to duck hunting. Its very close and some of the angles don't represent what we see in the field. Its also very much about timing. You start with the in the same spot, you call the bird, you swing and you shoot at the same point in the swing each time. And the speed of the birds never changes. Sporting clays is a much better due to changing angles and speeds. If, as a casual shooter, you can shoot better than 50% on a clays course, you're doing pretty good. And, I don't really agree that you need to 'match the hatch' with your shells. For one thing, if you're going to shoot with the intent of getting better you need to do it regularly, not once or twice. Shooting 100+ shells a day of heavy loads is not only un-enjoyable, it can also lead to flinching an other bad habits. I'm not even sure you can find shells allowed on a clays course that would match the ballistics of duck loads anyway. Most places don't allow shot larger that 7.5 and you're not going to find 1 1/4 oz loads going 1500 fps in that shot size. Even if you did, they would be expensive. Most people that shoot clays on a regular basis shoot 1 oz of shot going around 1200 fps. If you're good with that load on a clays course, you're going to knock down more ducks. Personally, most of my misses on ducks are due to a poor gun mount. Not getting the gun up on my shoulder or my check down in the gun are the biggest culprits. Shooting in odd positions doesn't help either. So, in your proactive focus on those things too.
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Re: Season Reflection

Postby Mallard Cutter » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:54 am

I didn't kill that many birds this year but still had several good hunts. Saw mainly woodies and mallards ,had several black ducks show up during scouting but they never did come around while hunting.
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