Sunday waterfowl hunting in the Potholes

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by Roper, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. Roper

    Roper Idiot Savant

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    D3Smartie graciously invited me to hunt with him in the Potholes. I'd never hunted ducks before and was looking forward to learning about it. And learn I did. We hiked in at the "crack o-dawn" and David set up the dekes. We picked a small piece of water with a bit of cover to start.

    We (David did the bulk of the work) set up a makeshift blind with tumble weeds and such. Then settled in to see if the birds would come. Come they did. Our first group of birds showed me how unprepared I was to drop them. I'm sure I hit one, but it kept going.

    The birds kept landing in a pond to the south of our set up, so David went to check on places to move to. In the process he called two birds in and dropped them like rocks.

    We stayed put where we set up and soon the birds started coming again. Soon David called in a group and as they flared we both dropped birds. My first duck was a nice mature mallard drake. The skunk was off...

    As the morning progressed we had more opportunities to take birds, and take them we did. David called in a single snow goose and a lesser Canada goose and I took them both. David was being very generous. Madison, his Labrador was doing a great job of retrieving for a 12 year old dog, what a trooper.

    About the time we thought we'd turn it in, a group of pintails decided to play with us. They would circle and come just out of range, teasing us. And as Murphy would have it when we did head out the birds came over in greater numbers. Too late, we'd packed it in and were headed for the trucks.

    An armful of ducks and geese get's fairly heavy after a hundred yard or so. But getting back to the trucks and taking stock of the morning was a real reward.

    David, Thanks for being such a great host/teacher this weekend, it was a great introduction to water fowl. And Madison too...

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  2. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    Outstanding. What a hunt, there isn't anything more beautiful than drake mallards cupped up, "carrying luggage", swooping into the decoys. And calling geese especially snow geese, into a pond is one of the most challenging things a waterfowl hunter can do. Congrats on a great hunt.
     
  3. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

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    Great pictures Roper-I've had some great hunts in the Potholes area and I hear you about the weight of the ducks on the way out. We used to hunt some lakes down on the Wahluke Slope that are a mile or so in. Bringing the large bag of decoys in was bad enough, but with a limit (in those days) of 7 ducks, it was brutal walking out! I'm surprised you have never hunted ducks before-it is a little more sedentary than upland, but lots of fun! Rick
     
  4. Slipstream

    Slipstream Active Member

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    Nice report and great pics! I don't understand how those birds know when someone is picking up the decoys, but they sure seem to. I always figured it was the movement that draws them in, mostly because every time I mess with my dekes the waterfowl start showing up. SS
     
  5. andrew

    andrew Active Member

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    Nice report Roper! Madison is an awesome dog.

    David kudos for getting a newbie into some birds!
     
  6. ganglyangler

    ganglyangler Bird Dogs and Fly Rods

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    Very nice guys! A snow goose on your first eastside hunt! Sweet!
     
  7. Jim Ficklin

    Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

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    Great hunt & thanks for sharing. The Snow is special . . . I've seen but few on the East side. Very nicely done to all 3 of you!
     
  8. Jonathan Walkenberg

    Jonathan Walkenberg Member

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    Wow an eastside snow on your first hunt is incredible. I have hunted over there for a long time and never had a chance at one.
    Looks like it was a good time.
     
  9. Roper

    Roper Idiot Savant

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    Jonathan, the incredible part was how David called it in. He did a great job setting up the opportunities for me.
     
  10. D3Smartie

    D3Smartie Active Member

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    I had a great time. Roper was quite the trooper following me around in the dark trying to figure out where to set up. i hope we can do it again later in the season when a few more birds have arrived from up north.
    I think we could have chosen a better spot but in the end it worked out ok for us. We had several groups work but they wouldnt finish into our small pocket of water and that was frustrating. And then the pintails, like i told rick, they were just being pintails... some of the biggest teases of all time.
    The snow was a really cool bird, only the 3rd one i;ve ever been involved in taking, and the 3rd one this year.
    It was a successful day.
     
  11. Jeff Hale

    Jeff Hale B.I.G.F.F.

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    David and Roper, great work. I'm jealous. Smartie knows his stuff when it comes to fins or feathers.
     
  12. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    For me, calling in ducks and having them drop hard into your dekes with cupped wings is just right up there with catching trophy fish on a dry fly. I got out of it for about 5 years but last year got in three hunts and really enjoyed it again. I agree, it seems like when you are picking up, birds always seem to work you. Sounds like Roper may have another hobby to chase.

    Not unlike fishing, prime duck spots are getting hard to come by on public land and private land is getting leased more and more. But it is amazing how a 1/2 mile walk eliminates much of the competition.
     
  13. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    outstanding!! I guess I need to walk the potholes to see what kicks up!!
     

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