I have met a ton of duck hunters at the Bay in the past several years (All exceptionally nice people. . . even the wardens!) so it is quite possible we have met OR at least been at the landing at the same time!
I am usually pretty easy to identify I am the guy with the crowd around him as he assembles his Porta boat! Used to launch a lot from the warden camp but now tend to launch more often at the Bowdoinham launch. These days I typically set-up "around" center point or brick island.
Whoever had those Goose decoys set-up on the edge of the grass down toward the Androscoggin river this year must have done a ton of early season blasting?!?! That appeared to be a really nice set-up.
Drop a post as to how you hunt the bay and any possible danger spots, how you deal with the thick fog, decoy spreads, etc., etc. I am always willing to learn from someone with much more experience than I.
P.S. Forgot to answer your question on the changes? Did you mean number of ducks, number of hunters, hunter attitudes, etc? I do have to say that I was a little unhappy with the number of cripples that I had float by me this year. Must have seen almost a dozen teal and mallards. . .wanted to pick them, but that would have put us over our limits. Hadn't seen that in recent years so I wonder if a lot of people were sky busting?
D.M. I ALSO USED TO PUT IN AT THAT WARDEN CAMP, IT WAS A REAL CONVIENIANT SPOT . INOW PUT IN THE SAME PLACE YOU DO. ITS QUITE A HALL TO THE BAY , I PUT MY SKULLING FLOAT AWAY, AND USE ALITTLE BIGGER BOAT NOW. I HAVE STAYED THE NIGHT YEARS AGO AT THAT WARDEN CAMP WITH MY FATHER AND THE FIDES GANG HAD ALOT OF FUN .BIG DIFF. IN THE AMOUNT OF DUCKS THEN TO NOW.NOW IS ALOT LESS DUCKS ALOT MORE HUNTERS THAT DONT CARE AND SKY BUST AT ANYTHING EVEN OVER YOUR DECOYS. I SEEN MORE FIGHTS AND ARGUEMENTS PAST FEW YEARS. WHEN SOME OF THESE GUYS GOT THE WHOLE BAY OUT THERE, THEY DONT NEED TO SET UP 20 FEET FROM YOU. DO YOU SEE ANY OF THAT?
Warden camp tends to be a little crowded first thing in the morning and when you get that many people packed together there always seems to be trouble. The Bowdoinham launch provides (in my opinion) a much easier access point and is always less crowded. Unfortunately when you only have a 3.5 hp motor you have to get up pretty early to get into the bay and set-up successfully. . . soooo usually we overnight on one of the islands and skip the morning commute.
I have been lucky and have missed most of the arguments and fights and have actually met some really great people from DU at the BH boat launch. I am not a member but after talking with them I have been seriously considering joining. My brother and I usually set-up in areas where there are a few less ducks but also few less people. We usually miss the REALLY hot action BUT we don't risk getting shot. . .
DO you usually set-up in the same spot most of the season OR do you try different spots? Do you ever hunt down as far as Mustard Island?
NO. I USUALLY GO OUT TO THE BAY NEAR THE SANCTUARY IN THAT AREA, DEPENDS ON THE WEATHER I HUNT SOME AROUND MUDDY RIVER IF THERES A BAD SOUTH WIND. I HAVE SEEN ALOT OF OUTERSTATERS THERE PAST FEW YEARS PARKED AT THE TOWN RAMP. I FIND IT TOUGH TO DECOY DUCKS WHEN SOMEONE ELSE FIRES AT THEM WHEN THEY ARE WAY CLOSER TO ME THEN THEM.
I have hunted around the sanctuary in the past (right in from of wardens camp correct?) Busy place. . . last time I was in that area I laid down in the bottom of the boat and prayed as wadding and shot landed all round me! HAHAHA!!!
Was traveling from Augusta to Boston via Colgan Air a few weeks ago and flew right over the bay. That area around the sanctuary is by far the largest area with rice where the other areas of the bay are less concentrated. Was amazing how apparent it was from above.
Since we go out on the bay around 4-5:00 in the evening and overnight we don't hit the morning rush so it is a much more enjoyable hunting experience. We found it is also helpful to bring a lunch and wait until about noon before hitting the landings.
Were you on the bay for opening day? My brother and I managed to get 8 teal and though we did ok. . . was curious how others did that were most likely in better spots . . . but contending with other hunters??
DM: I WAS NOT OUT THERE OPENING DAY THIS YEAR, I HAVE ONLY MISSED 2 OPENERS SINCE I WAS 4 YEARS OLD. SELF EMPLOYMENT DOES THAT TO YOU. I WENT THE FIRST SAT. OF THE SEASON. STRONG S.E. WINDS FORCED ME TO STAY AROUND MUDDY RIVER AREA AFTER COMING OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE CATHANCE. 10 MINS. BEFORE SHOOTING TIME DUCKS WERE EVERYWHERE. I FIRED 1 SHOT AT LEGAL SHOOTING TIME AND MISSED . AFTER THAT NOT ANOTHER DUCK TO BE SEEN NOT EVEN VERY MANY SHOTS FIRED AROUND. WHERE WE WERE ABLE TO SHOOT BLACKS EARLY THIS YEAR, I STAYED HUNTING THE COAST AND HAD OK LUCK , VERY WARM, BIRDS NOT MOVING WELL IN OCTOBER. ARE YOU THE ONES THAT CAMP OUT IN THAT COVE TO THE LEFT AS YOU COME OUT OF THE CATHANCE RIVER?
We only made it to the Bay for the opener this season and were very pleased to take home eight teal. . . man those little guys can move! Last few years our take home totals on the opener were much, much less. First Saturday I was on Graham Lake in Ellsworth and had similar luck one shot at an early morning black and then nothing until we were picking up the decoys at 10:00. . .
We stay on Brick Island so we can access center point and the wild rice around the Merrymeeting WMA to set-up.
Do you know who sets-up the goose decoys? Is it an outfitter? Do they have good luck with the geese early in the sesaon?
DM: NO, I DONT KNOW WHOSE DECOYS THOSE ARE. NEVER SEEN GEESE COME IN TO THEM. ISN'T THERE A TIME SET UP LAW ON DECOYS ON MERRYMEETING BAY? THAT CAMPING OUT THING SOUNDS LIKE FUN, GREAT IDEA. I ALWAYS SEE SOME OTHER GUYS WITH A CAMP SET UP IN THAT COVE TO THE LEFT AS YOU LEAVE THE CATHANCE RIVER HEADING IN TO THE BAY. HAVE YOU HAD ANY LUCK IN THE PAST WITH GEESE AT MERRYMEETING?
Looked to me to be abot 3 dozen Goose decoys set-up just south of Brick Island. The law actually states that "no duck decoy can be left overnight" so technically goose decoys aren't duck decoys. . . in my opinion it is just semantics.
No we never goose hunt in the bay that is why I was so curious to see if they had any luck. . . I honestly can't ever remeber even seeing a goose fly over the bay. . .
Would like to find a place "not posted" where you could field shoot geese in September so plan to do some scouting this Summer and formulate a plan for next season.
DM, NOT MANY GEESE COME THROUGH CLOSE DURING DUCK SEASON ANYWAY. IN THE PAST 31 YEARS I REMEMBER, MY GRANDFATHER GOT 1 IN EARLY 70S . WE HAD SKULLED A SMALL FLOCK THAT LANDED BEHIND US IN KENNEBEC RIVER BY THE SANCUARY. MY DAD GOT ONE EARLY ONE AM. SHOOTING INTO A FLOCK. THAT WAS IN ABOUT 1983. I SHOT 2 IN MUDDY RIVER ONE AM. IN 1999, THAT WAS A GOOD DAY. SHOT AT A SNOW GOOSE FEW YEARS AGO OUT IN THE BAY, AND MISSED. OTHER THAN THAT THE GOOSE HUNTING THERE IS SLOW. I HAVE BEEN WANTING TO TRY THE COUNTY SEPT AND OCT SOME TIME. MY INLAWS LIVE UP THERE . ALOT OF GEESE IN AND OUT OF THOSE FEILDS.
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