Here and not here...

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by Upton O, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    We've been having some real ups and downs with the ducks and geese this year. First the geese get here the day before the first season closes, they spend that week cleaning out both corn fields, and I mean they picked it clean. The season re-opened, we had one hunt to get them and they moved out to a bare, wide open, brown, mud field to laugh at us while all of the local bird watchers (non-consumptive users) sit on the side of the road to watch the birds decimate the newly sprouting wheat.

    The ducks? One day the birds are here, the next day they are no where to be found. When they are here, they're really wary of anything that hints of decoys or hunters. You guys up north, how about not shooting at them for a month while they migrate down this way?

    When the geese do commit to coming into the decoys, its a fun show but it is taking every trick in the book and 15 dozen decoys to make it happen. My old, fat butt and back are sore from toting decoys, setting them out, moving layout blinds, just to watch the birds make a pass and haul butt. (actually watching them fly over is a real neat scene, just wish they'd come down to visit more often). If it wasn't for the expert ability of my hunting buddy, my goose hunting would be zilch.

    I love waterfowl hunting, it gives me lots of opportunity to whine.
     
  2. Roper

    Roper Idiot Savant

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    Karl, we noticed the same thing Saturday. Few birds would commit to the decoys. A group of ducks would come in, circle several times and move on. When they would commit it was at the edge of shooting range. None the less, we had a good day.
     
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  3. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

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    The pintails were especially wary. We had a couple big groups of widgeon come into the decoys and a couple single mallards, but we were seeing way more pintails than anything else. Those lay out blinds are kind of like arobics for your abs! Rick
     
  4. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    Have you ever hunted out of Powerhunter style layouts? Its like pulling on a sleeping bag and if you have to get out to answer the call of nature you had better give yourself plenty of leeway in time.

    Pintails are my favorite duck, I love'm but they sure can be "flighty", the flocks anyway. A single hen pintail is a sucker for any moving style decoy, sadly. Too many of them get shot to often cuz they are so dumb. I do wish they'd bump the pintail bag up again, not sure why they have it at its current level. My impression is the numbers in the Pacific flyway are excellent.
     
  5. Jim Ficklin

    Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

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    Waterfowl can't possibly be as scarce as male Pheasants on the dry side, although the hens seem to be around on occasion . . . Hank won't even look at me any more . . .
     
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  6. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    Where do y'all hunt, is it out of a boat? We needed to sell my dad's membership down in the Butte Sink in CA, and I'd really like to be able to continue to hunt waterfowl here, but I don't see any opportunity. Ancient Lakes near Quincy is the closest, but you can't drive anywhere near the damn things beginning on 01 October! Moses Lake/Potholes area is more than a day trip for me, so I'd need to either motel it or take my trailer, which means no boat. Besides, I detest hunting out of a boat-way too tippy for my comfort zone! So I guess I'm asking what the procedure in my area is; general areas to research, that sort of thing. I've tried our local DU
    chapter, and got nowhere! Any thoughts, gentlemen?
    Alex
     
  7. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    Alex, I quit hunting on public ground years ago and swore I'd quit hunting if that was all I had available. There are just too many slob hunters now that are lazy, unethical, and self-centered in their hunting which ruins the sport for others. I do know one small public area outside of Mose Lake I'll give you in a PM. I can't vouch for it now but I hunted it years ago with little competition with moderate to good success.

    As for learning how, where, etc. join Washington Waterfowlers Association to meet and network. Other than that, save your nicles and go with a guide a couple of times a year. There are some really good ones, I'll give you my preferences if you're interested.

    Roper, you guys head out and hunt them again in mid to late December and you will probably have widgeon and pintails "in your face". That is when the good hunting happens. The misery function will be higher, though, with colder temperatures. Enjoy.
     
  8. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Another plus to late season hunting is the quality of the feathers from those mature drakes - mallard flank and shoulder bronze feathers, gadwall flank feathers, widgeon flank and shoulder feathers, and great scaup shoulder feathers all make their way to my fly tying table. Being able to hygrade feathers from the maturest drakes gives the tier the material for exceptional flies.

    Alex -
    DU and the folks on the various committes are focused more on the habitat needs of waterfowl and as Upton suggest the folks at WWA focus more on securing hunting opportunities and access. Opposite sides of the waterfowling coin with some really good folks in both groups. I f you are interesting in finding hunting partners or sites WWA is probably the better fit.

    There is a lot of hunting access across the state that can produce some high quality hunting unfortunately it takes a fair amount of work/exploring to key in on the when and wheres. Becasue of the ground work needed many are unwilling to give up that information easily. That is valuable info and to get folks to share you will probably have to bring something to the table to contribute. Another alternative is to find a like mind individual to hunt with and/or share information as you both learn. As often the case whether fishing or hunting the more one is willing to work the more success.

    The Columbia basin has tons of small ponds, wasteways and puddles on public land that produce some very good hunting at times. However the best hunting is usually a bit of walk and are best hunted with a dog. If you have a dog a great way to find some of those locations is to chase upland birds while scouting. Yes some of the hunters encountered on public lands can be a pain it pays to have alter sites. Maps, google earth and WDFW's go hunt are your friends.

    Curt
     
  9. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    Thanks, Curt and Karl; I recall pretty much the same thing down in the Butte Sink now you mention it. Guess my days of driving the boat into the "tuxedo" blind is long gone!!! After a half-century of duck hunting, I ought to be able to guide the guides, but my stumbling block is the "where". Once I locate that, I can pretty much see what I need to continue waterfowling. Haven't put a round in the old 870 for six years now!!
     
  10. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    I need to check out Ancient Lakes near Quincy. Fish&Game closed motorized access to them at the beginning of October, but they're "mountain bikeable". I probably should take the blue beast out to see what they look like-if it ever stops raining!
     

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