Sean 2009 Dec 2 Ducks

Recent rumors got me a little concerned that there were no ducks in WA state so I decided to switch it up from upland to fowl so I went scouting on Tuesday and thought I saw enough birds to make a go of it on Wednesday. I knew my skills weren't good enough so I called in some heavy's and after about 10 phone calls, I got a couple high powered duck killers to feel sorry enough for me to accompany me today on the quest to prove there are indeed some ducks in this state. Well, the conditions changed overnight in a hurry and open water changed to thin ice. The morning hunt was painfully slow, but the first ducks to die for the cause were a mallard drake and hen. I figured the guys I got to accompany would be nothing but drake killers, but one of them knew there was a good reason to shoot hens. This was the reason (1647 series, I have one on my lanyard, if I remember correctly - Alberta): (Pic attached) So I learned a lesson on the first go. But, after 3 hours of pretty slow duck movement and only 4 ducks in the bag, I decided the rumors were right - there aren't any ducks and my quest to prove them wrong were doomed to failure. So we packed it up and almost had all the decoys put away when a few ducks started working our frozen pond. I felt I had made a hasty decision to give up from the vibes I was getting from my experienced partners so we reset the spread with substantially less decoys and went back to the quest. The next 3 hours were dramatically different from the first 3 and we had enough ducks flying to keep us interested. Something crazy happened that I had to pass along. We had a nice group of mallards decoy, not feet down action, but reasonably good range opportunity and we pulled up and each dropped a drake mallard. One needed a kill shot on the ice so I took care of that as I headed out to get the downed ducks. On my way out, the drake that I had folded like a tent got up and flew away like he had never been touched and proceeded to skirt the outside of the spreads of the other 2 setups on the pond and for some reason they didn't even shoot at him. He made a full circle of the pond and came right back at me while I was in the decoys and had to actually pump his wings to clear me and one of my partners ended his 2nd tour of the pond. Never seen that one in all my years of hunting these birds. We went from 4 ducks to this over that second 3 hour period: (Pic attached) To think we almost walked away from a great hunt just amazes me. Thank goodness I was hunting with some guys who knew better. I got to float my new GHG Pro Grade Widgeon decoys on this hunt for the first time. I really like these decoys and we took a couple of widgeon over them to break them in. Props to Duckwise for talking about this a few weeks ago. I had thought about picking up some different decoys other than mallards and his thread pushed me to actually making the purchase - thanks Stan. Here's a shot of a couple of the dozen I picked up (you can also see the open water we created in the ice which was crucial to our success): (Pic attached) Here's the 2 pro's I picked up to accompany me on the hunt for ducks: (Pic attached) Between Craig's outstanding calling and Tyler's finesse at handling a spinning wing decoy, they managed to pull in quite a few of the ducks that we had working the pond. They even let me blow my kazoo and didn't make any disparaging comments about my lack of skill. They were even patient with me when I had to knock some rust off of my shooting. The transition from upland to waterfowl is always a little tricky for me the first time I get out. Here's a couple more shots of my partners and me on the hunt. I'm going to get these photos autographed in case it's the last time they ever go with me again. (Pic’s attached) About the only thing I can say I can hang with these guys on is taking pictures. This was not a slam dunk kind of hunt by any means. There are some new birds in town for sure, but each duck looked us over hard before committing. The blind had to be brushed up and pulled in tight and we couldn't look up or move at all when the ducks were over the top in order to seal the deal. There might have been some new birds, but they had all played the game before. I felt real fortunate to have a couple of great partners to hunt with today and I learned a ton. I hope to do it again real soon.

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