Another crazy year

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
Last year our duck hunting got off to an incredible start, we had water on our property very early and lots of ducks and geese. Then we got that really hard freeze (10 degrees) and snow in early December, the birds left, never to return.

This year: no rain until Pineapple Express and major flood at Thanksgiving, destroyed two blinds, submerged the other six for almost a week. The ducks showed up, the geese were here for less than a week, and then the water receded, and receded, and receded. We had hunting conditions for one week now we're dry again and, of course, the birds are gone.

I guess I'll go back to fly fishing.


Idiot Savant
Karl, it was a strange year for sure. The grouse seemed to disappear from the Okanogan, at least in all my usual haunts. Covers were overgrown from the long, wet, spring and summer, that should help hold over birds this winter though.

I'm hoping the rain comes tonight for a while so weekend prospects for ducks will look up a bit...we'll see.


Bird Dogs and Fly Rods
You just summed up westside hunting for me anyway. It can be phenomenal if the weather cooperates and absymal if not. I haven't hunted much this year so don't have a lot of comparison but I feel your pain. I used to hunt flood water on some of the "S" rivers when I lived on that side of the pond and was treated to amazing waterfowling when conditions were right. But if the conditions weren't right it was a bust. Tough hunting for sure! I now take solace in the fact I can shoot a few on the salt and get a few over east in the limited amount I can get over for. It's tough when the birds aren't there, but steel and cutts soothe the itch through those droughts. Time to tie and catch big cutties in the salt. (ironically, thats when I see a lot of waterfowl) :)
Ditto on the grouse hunting. I only got to go out two times but the usual areas that held birds last year were bare. I'm hoping to hit it one more time before things close but it's hard to get motivated when you don't even see any birds.


Active Member
I've yet to get out water-fowling this year, however, being at a clients home yesterday and watching some sizable flocks (very high) pass over Lake Whatcom got the mind rolling. As for grouse...I've had the best year with regards to actually seeing birds...I won't go into birds in bag (whole other issue)! The grouse opener was not as great as 2010, however, ironically produced more birds during modern firearm opener. Then the truly amazing part of this year is finding 6! on a single 1/2 mile logging spur on the wetside...and connecting with one. I've been lucky to see maybe a handful of birds over an entire season, but to flush 6 birds on one outing :confused:

This guy was taken on Thanksgiving...

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
Karl, my condolences, but sometimes "crazy years" can be good things. Years ago back in my beloved Montana we were invaded by Lesser Scaup . . . frustrating as hell being used to Mallards and other puddle-ducks, but once I dialed-in on how to lead these fast & low fliers, it was a fun season!

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
Speaking of grouse, gents, check out this issue of Cooking Wild, p35; Scottish grouse a la cocotte. Not that I have any in the freezer, having only shot one this season.

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
When you cook that bird up Alex, those are gonna be small portions . . . to commiserate with you, the Blue Mountains were mighty stingy with their grouse this year also; to make a meal, I'd almost have to eat crow . . . literally. Now, what's with a fine Scottish lad recommending French recipes?


Fly Fishing guide "The Bogy House" Lodge
Fowl are flying backwards right now, more birds just reappeard today but seemed to be from the south and wary! Not what I expect at Christmas time in eastern Wa...

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
Maybe if I write a letter to Santa he can arrange for enough rain to fill our needs, it won't take more than a couple of inches.

Got tired of not hunting, the wife's out of town for five days so a buddy and I took off for the Double Barrel Ranch outside of Spokane for a preserve pheasant hunt. A high school friend referred me to the Ranch, said I'd find it to be an exceptionally good preserve hunting situation. I've never had a good preserve hunt; weak birds, sorry habitat/setting, poorly run, so I was skeptical about the trip. WOW, both my buddy and I were amazed at the birds, the management of the area, and the setting. We walked our butts off, wore out two Labs and a Griffon, had a great time. The birds did not fly like typical "release" birds, they were fast, hard birds that flew into the next county if we missed (yes, I missed one and so did my buddy. And he was shooting a 12 bore. One of these days I've got to get him to use a "girly gun"). The birds were all beautifully feathered roosters, too (you aren't supposed to shoot the hens which is very unusual for a preserve hunt). It isn't cheap but I figure I gave myself aNd the two Labs our Christmas present early. You want a treat? Give it a try. My black Lab is an "energetic" little number, I've never seen her get too tired to chase a tennis ball down the stairs. Tonight she came into the house, ate her dinner and disappeared. I found her on the Temper-Pedic bed totally crapped out. Fun day for all, now it's time for a shower and my side of the Temper-Pedic.


Idiot Savant
Karl, I know what you mean about the Double Barrel, nice operation. I hunted there one year while visiting my wife's folks in Worley, Idaho. I chased chukars that day but flushed a hold over pheasant also. The next year my son-in-law and his wife's father and I did the pheasant hunt there, lot's of fun that day. They have great cover there and lots of ground to walk...