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Did an afternoon hunt in central today. Very heavy fog and dead calm. Set a slightly bigger spread with a fair amount of water motion and a few goose decoys for confidence and visibility with fog. Hadn’t been set up for 10 minutes and hear wings and some chattering and quacks. I started very soft calling and a group of at least 75 mallards give it up. Took a drake on one shot and followed him to water. Ducks like to dive in this area never to be see again. He was stone dead and I should have taken another. Been fortunate to hunt waterfowl for a long time and that was biggest group of mallards I have ever decoyed. Made my season seeing those birds drop out of fog. Worked a few more birds over course of afternoon, but never fired a shot despite having the opportunity. Probably won’t make it out tomorrow, but who knows. Didn’t hunt as much as I intended over my week off, but today’s hunt made up for that.
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Dang Buffle! I think I'd need a new pair of underwear if I had that many ducks in my face! :ROFLMAO: I went out this morning and also saw a ton of ducks, but the fog made it tricky, and I second guessed where I wanted to set up, should of went with option one because thats where they wanted to be. Left empty handed. Heading out with AA in the morning to set up on what is hopefully still the X. Good luck on the last day everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #103 ·
Went out with Jambrose this morning and the fog was thick again. Got one drake mallard and that was the only opportunity of the morning.



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Closed out central with another afternoon hunt. Fog was twice as thick as yesterday. Lot’s of birds moving and in big groups. Getting them to commit or even see the decoys was difficult. Finally pulled in a pair and after 4 circles they went right over the top of me at 20 yards and I took the drake. He was wearing some jewelry. Hatched in 2019 or prior and banded last February in Marblehead. A nice way to close out central.
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aaayyy congrats Buffle! Hopefully a sign of good things to come for 2022! What a way to close out the season.

Like AA said, fog was just too thick this morning. Saw some pretty big groups early, there were birds in the area, but once the fog really rolled in the light switch was turned off and was pretty much dead most of the morning. AA was able to bag the only bird, so at least we avoided the skunk.

This season was a weird one for me, very hit or miss. Definitely didn't get out as much as last season, but felt like either it was a big bag of birds or I would get goose egged. Last year I don't think I got skunked once, but a lot of 1 bird hunts. Regardless can't complain, paddling out all I could think about is how damn lucky and fortunate it is that we are able to do this, and how many people will never experience the thrill of hunting, and being able to harvest and provide for your own. Can't believe the season is over, I already miss it 😫
 

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Discussion Starter · #107 ·
Congratulations on the band man! Great way to close out central. Thankfully we still have coastal! Like Jambrose said, we are very lucky to experience and get to do what we do. Personally I think mornings waterfowl hunting are hard to beat but anybody who spends time outside hunting and gets to experience the thrill of a hunt is experiencing something many will not. We have a lot to be thankful for. Also I’m very happy I joined this forum awhile back. I’ve met a lot of great people and have some form of communication weekly or if not daily with a few. Once again an enjoyable season and hopefully I’ll sneak one more coastal hunt in and maybe some late goose. Happy new year!


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Thanks guys, was nice to end central with a band! Never thought I would contribute to a forum, but enjoy reading the reports especially when I can’t get out. Finding time to hunt during Central was a challenge with work especially for morning hours. I adjusted and starting hunting afternoons and found some decent hunting and learned some stuff hunting afternoons. Had some great mallard hunting the last three weeks of central. It wasn’t about numbers for me this season, but enjoying what time I had in the marsh and harvesting some meals. Introduced a couple of lucky duck pulsators to my spread and when I could hunt mornings they were wood duck magnets. Also seemed to help with the late season mallards, but not fully confident in that yet. Definitely be hitting the coast when I can and I plan to be in touch with a couple of you for a possible diver hunt. Looks like conditions might get tough as the real long range forecast shows some prolonged cold.
 

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Congrats on a nice central close Buffle!

Went out NYE for my first boating hunt of the year on the flats, and had a blast. Plenty of blacks, canadas and buffleheads, even had a surprise group of brant buzz my new silos. Got two groups of blacks to commit, but both were weary and put down too far out of range before trying to swim in. After that, we started having buffleheads giving it up into the diver spread like you draw it up. My little brother and I only had a short hunting window, and despite some poor shooting - took a nice drake bufflehead each before packing it up.

Hit a walk in spot I've been trying to dial in for a year now on New Year's day... one black duck circled three times before flaring and that was all she wrote for the day with the fog and warm temps. Always have a blast working outside of my comfort zone on the coast though. Till next weekend!
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Some nice looking bufflehead MattS19. What are you running for a boat in the salt? The salt marsh blacks in my area have been very wary the past two weeks. Pannes are going to freeze again and I suspect we will see some new birds next week.
 

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Cold one today and ice is factoring in now. Tons of birds. Had a black duck limit in 10 minutes after shooting light. Hung for an hour and it was a steady parade of blacks. Packed up and changed locations for divers. Had large groups of divers mostly goldeneye landing down from me and the live birds were attracting all the other birds. Couldn’t get them past the live birds and across a patch of ice to my hole. Ended up with a goldeneye and old squaw, if I could have got the the X it would have been a really fun diver day.
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Discussion Starter · #112 ·
Sounds like a great hunt regardless. I had opposite results yesterday. Hunted the only spot I hunt on the coast and somehow paddled up the wrong cut and got turned around so I wasn’t setup and ready to go until 7:00. Also someone walked in and bumped all the roosted birds before legal. Probably 250+ geese and 100+ black ducks 20 minutes before legal. We ended up hunting until 12 and only had 2 blacks decoy and we missed both. Tough way to end the season but once again I had a blast this year. Probably not hunting late goose as we are getting a puppy in 3 weeks so I will be busy training!


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Some nice looking bufflehead MattS19. What are you running for a boat in the salt? The salt marsh blacks in my area have been very wary the past two weeks. Pannes are going to freeze again and I suspect we will see some new birds next week.
So I'm currently running a Beavertail Stealth 1200 with either a trolling motor or a 2.5 Suzuki depending on how much gear I'm trying to pack in. It has served me very well for the most part, but has obvious limitations on bigger water. If the tide/wind is right - I've been fine with two guys and a full load of dekes out on the Merrimack and surrounding marshes. But if wind/tide is wrong, as it often is for someone like me trying to learn on the fly (take Saturday for example), I play it safe and transition to a walk in spot. Hoping to upgrade to something a bit more substantial in the near future.

Agree on the wariness of blacks from what I've seen. Still having a lot of trouble getting them to commit, but got into some mallards Saturday and they were much more cooperative. Ice is definitely throwing another variable into my plans but welcome the challenge.

Heading down for two days of gunning on the Chesapeake this weekend then looking forward to finishing strong back in the marsh.
 

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I think I'm going to try in the morning, we'll see how long I last. I went out this morning in the salt Marsh but the tide was higher than usual on the Northside due to the wind. There was plenty of blacks fIying & some hooded mergs but hardly anything close, I got one black duck on the marsh
I then went a ride to a spot I haven't hunted yet this year. There was some ducks hanging in the lee including a drake pintail with a bunch of black ducks. I snuck up on it but one of the blacks jumped quick. I pulled up & shot but dropped the black right next to it . I lost the pin in the rapidly departing flock & they were gone in a blink of an eye
 

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I wasn't in a rush to get out in the morning looking at the temps in the low teens but I should've gone earlier. I went to a spot that had me in the lee of the wind & in the sun so it was pretty nice, maybe too nice. Not enough wind on the decoys to keep them constantly moving. I think when I threw them out the water instantly froze on them & gave them a shine. I had a decent amount of birds checking out the decoys but if they got close they would flare off.
I know the first spot I sat was kinda of exposed but I moved back another 8 yards or so under a cedar tree.
I ended up getting a couple of blacks, I whiffed on some GEs earlier in the day
 

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Escaped the cold for a weekend down on the eastern shore of Maryland, came back with a banded black. Hoping the good luck continues for the final stretch up here
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Guess I did hit the pintail the other day, I didn't think I did because I never saw any other ducks drop except the one black. Found this yesterday about 200 yards from where I shot
That's a damn shame
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Today was my last chance to get out for the season. I tried a spot that I hadn't hunted this season, plenty of birds walking in to setup but everything flew out even before legal. Had some mergs buzz threw the spread that got the pass, picked off a couple blacks in the first hour then saw nothing else but black ducks.
Ok, picked up & tried over on the other side of the marsh. More black ducks & mergs coming thru probably cause they knew they had the free pass. A pair GEs land out past the decoys(probably 40 yards) first shot they fly thru the pattern, try a second shot no shell. The shell somehow got caught on the shell latch.
Probably an hour goes by nothing but the black & merg show then I notice a duck bee lining it for the GE decoys, it swims thru those & heads for the mallards dekes. I stood up when it was right in front of me & dumped as soon as went to fly. The dog brings it back & holy **** I shot my 1st wigeon.
Ive only seen a few on some duck ponds that are the typical green/white head drake's. This one has only a little bit of white & had some faint green when holding it in the sun. I'm guessing immature drake cause of the bit of color on its head bit I've never had one in hand before
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