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Discussion Starter · #261 ·
Finished up my second day in Chatham Tuesday with another eider limit and one brant short on a limit. Saw the single biggest raft of birds I’ve ever seen in person, had to be an easy 5000+ birds. Just awe inspiring and never gets old.

Hunted out of a stationary offshore blind in the Chesapeake Bay today for day one of my eastern shore hunt, which was a first for me. Fun day with some tough shooting wind and weary birds. 3 of us finished with a 13 bird mix of redheads, bluebills and buffleheads. First redhead and bluebill for me. One more day down here then back to MA to finish off coastal.
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It was just one of those days
Started off sleeping thru my alarm, hindsight I should've stayed in bed.
Pouring rain & instead of being windy there was little to none. The birds weren't moving
Had some some buffleheads & mergansers buzz the decoys that got the pass.
I dropped 2 blacks, one swam off while the dog goes after an otter that swam past the duck. The other did it's best diver impersonation of a diver, rolls over & takes off.
While these shenanigans are going on a merg lands in the dekes. I was so pissed after what just happened I turned & smoked it.
Then the fog rolled in thick so enough was enough
 

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This mornings first light flight was far fewer than past hunt’s but the first twenty minutes produced some birds. Had my two mallards in no time. Pretty sure that drake is a hybrid and not a juvenile. The belly was all black duck with no sign of gray. Anyway, I should’ve had my blacks too but was got caught off guard when they came in. After 30 minutes the flight was done. Only a few singles here and there. Nice to get out with no ice around. Remains to be seen if Monday is doable.
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Hunted with a good friend yesterday. Been way too long since our schedules meshed. He just turned 72 and hunts like he is in his 20’s. He is all about setting goals and working hard to achieve them (my kids have endured countless lectures from him)! Our goal he set for day was a mallard limit in central and black limit on coast. We started in an area where he has been hammering mallards. Morning flight was non existent and watched the dekes to just after 9 without seeing a single duck. I suggested we hit the coast, but he replied we haven’t shot our mallards yet. I knew at that point I was in for a long day. After coffee we jump shot a number of my areas that have been holding both black and mallards and I floated him down a backwater river. Still no birds other then jumping a pair of hoodies on the river. Now about 2:00, I suggested a quick run to coast again even though I already knew the answer would be no mallards yet. He decided we throw dekes in what is usually a good afternoon spot. Shortly after setting up we have a hen gadwall land in decoys that neither of us saw until it landed which we decided to let go. Didn’t see another duck. Hunted from legal to sunset and never pulled the trigger, but enjoyed every minute of the time together. That will probably be it for me in Central. Doubt I will hunt Monday with lack of birds experienced today.
 

· Chief Throw's-a-Party
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Sounds like a good time Buffle even with a lack of birds. I’m leaning on going tomorrow only because it’s the last day of central. Only sticking point would be getting called out to plow snow if needed. Hopefully not.
 

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I had a lackluster day yesterday & I remember why I hate hunting Saturdays
Spot #1 was already crowded at 530 so on to spot #2. No vehicles but everyone must've boated in cause of the barrage of shots at legal time. I didn't see anything or hear anything other than duck calls for 30minutes.
I didn't plan on having to resort to a 3rd option but I hit one more I hadn't been to in awhile before throwing in the towel.
While putting out the decoys I probably saw a 100 mallards/blacks flying high overhead, well this looks promising.
That was just a tease cause I only saw a few buffies & mergs buzz the decoys. Only dropped one Drake buffie for 4 hours.
I stopped by a pond right down the street from where I hunted that's fenced off to find all those big ducks in there having a big party undisturbed
 

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Glad Saturday was a success because I did get called to work last night for plowing. Needless to say I skipped the hunt. Just as well. I went to get the decoys home from the blind and the pond was a slushy mess and no birds. Probably done for the season, but looking forward to shed hunting and scouting for next year.
 

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I got out Saturday morning with a buddy and it was very uneventful. Much like last Saturday but even less birds. Last few weeks the spot I hunt the most has turned into a roost with all of the water. We ended up kicking out at least 50 mallards and a couple hundred geese paddling in. Had mallards coming back way before legal but at legal there was zero flight. About 15 minutes after legal had a Drake mallard do it absolutely perfect and I just flat out whiffed. Being frustrated and self deprecating I said to my buddy I may as well not fire a shot for the rest of the day because I suck. Probably shouldn’t have said that. Had a solo goose come in and my buddy took that. Those were our only opportunities of the morning. Saw a few more mallards and distant geese but nothing even looking at the decoys. Didn’t hunt today as my son had a soccer tournament but got out this afternoon for some training with the pup.



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Discussion Starter · #270 ·
Went out four times this week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Today. 3 times to an easy in and out south shore spot I like for divers, and once in blind to a new spot I wanted to scout/hunt on north shore.

Overall - very slow. Not many goldeneye, lower bufflehead numbers than normal. Plenty of blacks and canadas, but they seemed to be sticking to the edges of the marshes and not flying much when I was hunting. Still have work to do patterning the blacks and figuring out the tides at some of my newer spots.

Took a skunk at the north shore spot, and one today at a very crowded and high tide south shore hunt. Took a single drake buffie on Tuesday and three buffleheads Thursday, all right in the long line. Felt good to get some easy shots in after a two week shooting funk. Start a new job next week, so next Saturday will be my last duck day. Hoping it picks up a bit at my spots to end on a high note.

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The last couple weeks have been very slow, few birds or very uninterested birds but the flood tide today treated us well. More ducks than I've seen on the coast all season and they were really cooperative. Got a bunch of black ducks to cup up into the decoys throughout the flood tide, made two nice shots on birds a couple feet over the water with the 20 gauge. I was also able to get a newbie his first duck after a few slow hunts. Also watched someone setup in the middle of the marsh, assuming they didn't know how high the tide would be and proceed to hit 3 black ducks that all dropped somewhere in the marsh and make no attempt to retrieve any of them. No dog, no kayak and no way to retrieve the birds. They had to be stranded because they were easily in 3 feet of water. No way they could have gone in any direction without taking a swim. By far the worst season I've had with ****** hunters out there.
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Took my neighbors 16 year old son out yesterday. He is a high level baseball player playing year round so it’s hard to get him out. He had a small open window yesterday which unfortunately coincided with top of tide yesterday (coastal flooding). Once arriving knew plan A was out. Decided with limited time to set him up on some high ground near a creek bottleneck. Have shot clays with him and don’t know if hand/eye coordination required for baseball translates to shooting, but kid can shoot! Only two opportunities on a bufflehead and a hoodie, but he shot them both stone dead. Had a few old squaw pass out of range. Glad he was able to least get two shots under tough conditions. Will make him a little jerky.
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Mawtrfowler - great picture! I know a few guys were stuck out in Rowley yesterday. I plan to do an end of season post on some of the crap I have seen or dealt with from other hunters this season.
Great stuff Matt, Mawtrfowler, and Buffle. Glad to hear I am not on an island when it comes to dealing with others this season. I'll have my popcorn ready Buffle 🍿🍿🍿
 

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Mawtrfowler - great picture! I know a few guys were stuck out in Rowley yesterday. I plan to do an end of season post on some of the crap I have seen or dealt with from other hunters this season.
I believe it. I don't think I've ever seen it that high. Certainly not in the spot I was hunting. Even 3 hours after high tide the water was still over the marsh coming down route 1

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I feel bad for not being more vigilant with my updates, but it was a very busy season for me with a short window of time to hunt during my Christmas break. I had some good hunts this season but have yet to hit that next level in combining scouting and varying my tactics in order to produce highly successful hunts.
I have mainly been sticking to alternating between only a few spots that I know well. I have a hard time deciding whether it is more effective to spend my time being patient with a spot I know, or invest time into finding someplace new. Do you all typically scout at sunrise or at later times of the day? It's hard for me to justify going out early to scout in season when I could go and set up for ahunt, but I know that it's required to get a better sense for what the birds are doing. Tons of black ducks around me on the coast, I want to get better at finding mallards and setting up in places that ducks are going to frequent in large numbers, rather than a more remote spot that requires larger chance for birds to use.
 

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I'm curious on average how many different blinds/locations you guys will rotate between as the season progresses? And how much what you see scouting dictates where you will hunt? I've yet to crack the code on a central spot that puddle ducks will pour into consistently. All in all, did have some success on both the salt and freshwater this season and I feel like I've gotten just about the most I can out of the spots I've hunted.
 

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Grady those are some beautiful ringers! I hunted less spots this year and shot more birds than any other years. I think I got out 18-19 times and only hunted 4 different spots. Also I prefer scouting in the morning at first light. You can always scout Sunday seeing we can’t hunt.


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