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My last two weeks in NJ

1267 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  pvn6616
Well I am back up at School at good old PSU again so I finally have some time to put some pictures and stories up. A friend of mine from school came down to hunt on 12/28 and 12/29. I got to play Mr. Guide for two days and get him some shooting since he doesn't get tons of action for ducks up his way. I decided to take him to the bay on Monday for a chance to get a good variety of birds and to one of our honey holes we have been waiting to get into once the tide was in our favor on Tuesday.

I took him to the same pond we had a lot of action a few weeks prior, but we all know how the perfectly laid plans unfold.....after not having a single bird come in for quite some time and not seeing many blacks flying or anything for that matter, we decided to move out to the open water and salvage the hunt with some brant and try to get a few buffle head. I think I fired my gun twice at buffies and once at a brant but more importantly I got my buddy Justin on a nice drake bufflehead and his limit of brant, his first for both species. Ended the morning with 2 buffies and 3 brant but for some reason no picture. Went out for a quick afternoon mallard hunt and we had three mallards and a drake wood duck pass by in range but of course we weren't ready when any of them flew by. We probably only saw around a doz or so birds flying....not what I was hoping for.

Tues was everything I was hoping for. I wanted Justin to witness the amount of birds flying I always tell him about. We had a lot of mallards flying in ten minutes before shooting time and land behind us. Couldn't get any of them once shooting time rolled around but it didn't matter because we had nonstop action all morning. As soon as the ducks slowed down the geese started trickling perfectly to us with a bunch of small groups, pairs and singles. We would have limited out on geese if we stayed longer but I need water for my boat to float on and there wasn't going to be much left had we stay any longer. Ended the morning with 6 geese and 5 ducks....4 mallards and a drake gwt

Some of the geese were slammers

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Here's part two of my saga

This past week my goal was to hunt every day since it was my last week home and the girlfriend wasn't around because her college started early. We had plans to hunt our favorite honey hole twice before South zone closed and try to hit the bay and load up on some buffies, and also try to get some long tails we saw on one of our scouting missions. We also have been watching a pond that had ring necks and what appeared to be a pair of golden eye but I couldn't get a pos id with my terrible binoculars that we wanted to hunt as well. So we knew we had ringers, squaws, pintails, and possibly some golden eyes around, and I only ever shot a long tail of that groups so we wanted to try to get some of our first birds.

We ended up hunting Mon, Tues, half *** afternoon hunt/scout mission wed, and Thurs. We did pretty well though. In our three actual hunts during the week my brother and I got 8 different species of waterfowl...mallard, black, pintail, wood duck, gwt, bufflehead, brant, and Canada goose. I think it is awesome to be able to get out on public land and get such a variety of birds, see tons flying, and not have anyone around to compete with. Maybe living in NJ isn't too terrible haha.

Our Monday hunt we kicked up about a hundred geese from the spot of the river we were hunting but they never came back. Had a lot of pintails, mallards and blacks pouring in ten minutes before shooting time when were still trying to get hidden in the open marsh. Couldn't get any shots at pintails but did finish the morn with 8 ducks...4 mallards 2 blacks 1 woodie 1 gwt. We decided to hit that spot one last time on Thursday and our goal was to get our first pintails.

Tues we hit the bay to try to load up on bufflehead. We started on the pond we hunt puddle ducks on and it was dead first thing in the morn. We packed up fairly early since we didn't see and big ducks flying and wanted to get on some buffle head. Of course tons of black ducks started flying once we were walking to the boat. IM not sure but maybe they were flying later after sunrise due to the moon? I saw one land at the end of the little island we were on and walked down there....up jumped the black duck like a pheasant from the marsh grass and I managed to drop him even though the bird scared the crap outa me. the rest of our hunt didn't go as well as planned either since the buffleheads didn't like my boat and the blind I made for it in the middle of the channel...they don't seem to care about it if it's on the edge of the bank but in to open water they all would skirt around it just out of range. We ended the morning with a buffie, black and three brant.

Wed we set up in a mallard spot in the afternoon and watched a doz. fly over up high. We knew we wouldn't be seeing many more and if we did they would be doing to same thing most likely since the feeding spot we set up at was frozen they didn't want to come down. We went and watched the pond we saw ring necks at to find a guy there with the two biggest goose decoys I ever saw set up. So we decided to watch our spot we hunted Monday and saw a few guys there sky blasting away. We saw enough shenanigans for the day so we packed it in and hoped the birds wouldn't be too messed up for Thursday.

We got up extra early Thursday so we wouldn't have to worry about other people. Of course nobody ended up hunting the area and we had to wait an hour and half for the tide to go down and take some ice with it so we could set up. Boy was it worth it though.

As soon as we got set up and covered well we only had to wait a minute before they started pouring in. It was awesome having so many ducks practically sitting on us. It was a little nerve racking watching beautiful pintails ten yards away on the marsh for ten minutes before shooting time. We managed though haha. My brother got his sprig first and ran out in the kayak to get it right away. While he was getting his pintail I dropped a black duck and then a minute later had a nice pintail come right in and I dropped him on the marsh as well. I felt like I was watching DUTV seeing so many birds fly all day constantly. It was such an incredible morning. We had pintails working the dekes all morning and the black ducks were dumping in like they knew we already had our limit for them.

Once the sun was up the geese decided to wake up and come out for a visit as well. I dropped one from the first group as they passed since I didn't think they were gunna hook in but even after I shot they swung back around and came straight into us so we knocked down two more. My brother had to paddle the kayak after the first one I shot a couple hundred yards but it was a good thing he got to the bird because it was toting some bling. One of the geese somehow swam to the bank climbed up onto the marsh and walked up into the woods without us seeing it. There was a blood trail we followed like we were deer hunting but it stopped after a while and an hour of looking found nothing. I was pretty upset. We ended the morning with 4 geese in hand and 6 ducks.

The spot has so many birds but it's the hardest place I have ever hunted so far….muddy as heck, almost no cover, and a good deal of tide draw that makes the marsh go from flooded to empty in a few hours. All the hard work and cursing was worth it though. we had a really good season for still not knowing a whole heck of a lot as this is my third season in the bag but we absorb as much as we can from each hunt and build upon it….plus we have a great time just getting out there.

I hope everyone else had fun this year and to those that are still hunting stay safe and good luck…now here are some pictures from my last day:

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Its a rough life but hey someone has to do it lol. I actually tried to not hunt in the afternoon as much this season and hunt less in general. I figured I would put more effort into each hunt and plan it out better so I would have better results and then could just hang out the rest of the day and maybe let my girlfriend know I still exist lol. That strategy plus with some more experience and better shooting helped alot this my brother is still on the job hunt so since he is home he would get out and scout.

Im sure once I graduate and actually ask my mom to show me my loans my hunting times will change lol. Im hoping to win the lottery that I dont play haha.

By the looks of your pictures you guys still seem to have a good time...I would love to get out and hunt with yas in AC next season. My buddy works on a clam boat and says that they always see alot of birds when there are steaming in and out of harbor.
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