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Duck hunting this year (2004 - 2005) is expected to be excellent. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimate that there was more than 50 million breeding pairs of ducks this year! The Federal Wildlife agency predicts a fall migration of "MILLIONS" of waterfowl. Best news this year is that the blue-winged teal numbers are up 30%. Good News for Florida Duck Hunters.

Who Hunts on Lake Okeechobee? Tell us about last season- numbers down, how was the shooting, too many people hunting there, etc.

Good to hear the duck pop is still growing.
 

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Heading down to the Big O and breaking the cardinal rule; I haven't scouted. We're gonna use Saturday morning to find the birds and then stay through monday hoping to pick up some teal. Even if we have no luck, season is two months away, its good to just get out there now.
 

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Learned two things this teal season: 1) it's too hot 2) it's time to ditch the outboard and get a mud motor.

We only had one flock fly past, and by that time we weren't paying attention. The most reassuring thing was that we saw more ringers this year than I have seen in any other teal season. Quite a few singles and flocks buzzing around the shallows of Lake O. Going to test out a 23 hyperdrive this weekend, hopefully that'll get us back into were the birds are in november.
 

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My sob story is under the topic "New Season is coming... birds in Central FL?"

After that happened, we scouted with the outboard, and with limited access, saw several hundred ringers, a few teal, and flocks of mallards. Lots of debris in the canals, and the barges are busy clearing out the hurricane debris in South Bay and Clewiston. Watched a group with a mud motor get only 100ft in about 20 minutes through the floating island that has formed a dead end on the Moore Haven canal.
 

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Finally got the Mud Buddy in the water and man am I impressed. We ran about 18-20mph with three guys, 90 dekes, guns, and all of the other crap we drag along. With nothing in the boat but two guys, we ran 22-24mph. What really got me was when we took it off the trail and were able to maintain 16-19 mph through lilly pads, hydrilla, stick grass, and even sparse bullrush. The only limitations we encountered were dense bullrush and the islands blocking up the Moore Haven canal. Even then, it wasn't a matter of the motor not pushing water but rather that the boat was high and dry. After getting 200yds deep in the bullrush, we turned it around, hopped on a plane, and shot right back out.
The hurricanes have dumped so much water that the Big O is flooded all over. There were some birds, but they were spread out. Since we missed out on scouting, the first few hunts were very slow. Finally tracked them down by Monday morning, just in time to head home and slide into class. Have heard many good reports from the Everglades, and look forward to finally being able to hunt that area properly with the new motor. Will make the decision between spending the weekend at the lake or in the glades after friday morning's hunt in the glades. Hope everyone else is dropping them fast up here.
 

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Man what an down-then-up weekend I just had. Left fot the lake at 10pm Friday after taking care of term papers and finally got there at 12:30am. Tried sleeping in the truck, but the helicopters were buzzing in my ears. Ended up in a sleeping bag in the bed of the truck until 4:30 when the blowboat alarm clock went off. Opening day was a dud, saw thousands of birds, hundreds of yards high. Returned to the spot from three weeks ago this morning and donned the waders. Flock after flock of kamikaze dive bombing ringers attacked the dekes. Would've limited out if I could remember how to hit them. A repeat of that again this afternoon. Ended up with 25 birds between five hunters. Forgot how thrilling wader hunting can be and how exciting it is to watch those ringers drop straight down from a few hundred yards. My dad and best friend are hunting again in the morning before heading home. Headed down to the Glades for a tuesday and wednesday hunt after my last fianl exam monday (what a relief!). Hope everyone else had some whistling wings this weekend too!
 
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