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GullGuide

Waterfowl report

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GullGuide

Hey all,
Been driving around the last few days looking for ducks and also getting a feel for the conditions of my favorite hunting areas. Here is what I have observed-
I have seen a PILE of ducks, both sitting in the ponds/lakes as well as flying around in the evening. It looks like it will be a good opener as long as we do not get a nasty cold spell between now and then. It will also depend on how much pressure they receive during the youth waterfowl day.
Personally I believe that the concept is a good one, but why do we need a "special" day to bring our kids into the field? Shouldn't EVERY day be a "special" day? When I was a kid, I looked forward to the opener. This was a time to spend with dad and grandpa and the anticipation of the hunt caused me to loose a ton of sleep the week before. Have things changed that much in 20 years that we need a "special" day? Why not incorporate a youth hunting day into the regular season? Some say that the reason that the youth day is not during the season is because of the intense hunting pressure that exists in the field. Well, why not use that to teach the kids proper hunting etiquette and techniques that they will have to deal with if they are going to grow up to be waterfowl hunters?
Just my 2-cents.
What do you think? And what has been your observations on duck populations?
>"////=<

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Borch

I've been seeing a ton of teal, a fair number of wood ducks and mallards. Looks like a lot of the mallard young are late this year(many can't fly at this point). Water levels are still quite low. I'm not looking forward to walking through 20-30 yards of mud again this fall. MAn I hate getting stuck in the mud!

As far as the youth hunt is concerned I like it. Some say it pushes the ducks out of the area but I just haven't seen any difference since the youth hunts started. There just isn't enough hunting pressure to move the birds out. In fact where I hunt around St. Cloud, there isn't enough pressure to move the ducks around much on the youth hunt day. You get the natural movement during the first 45 - 60 minutes and then it is VERY slow. What I really like is there is no pressure of competing for a shot with another hunter. They can take their time and make a better shot. Really I'm for anything to get more youth involved in hunting. Especially duck hunting where hunter numbers have dropped dramatically in the past 15 years.
Anyway that's what have seens and what I feel about the yoouth hunt. Hope those we don't get hit by a major cold front before then.

Good Hunting and Hunt Safe!

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Flick

I would say that goose hunting over water in W. MN is doing a lot more as far as moving ducks around than one day of youth hunting.

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Guest

I haven't seen the numbers of birds this year compared to last year at this time. I was in the field all last weekend north of Detroit Lakes and hardly saw any ducks. The number of geese I saw was average, definitely not an increase from last year. I think southern MN is going to have a much better year as they have had precipitation. All the ponds are full of water this year, when last year almost all ponds were bone dry! (never had such good pheasant hunting with the dry ponds!)
As far as my opinion on the special youth and open water geese goes....I have not noticed a change in the ducks behavior by any of these hunts. But, then again, my last 5 openers sucked big time!! I can't give an accurate depiction of these hunts and my observations in the field.
When I have open water hunted for geese in the early season, I would only see a handful of ducks anyways. It wasn't like we were shooting at them...ducks were not hanging out around the lake we hunted.

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Duck-o-holic

Bump...

I have been out of state fishing for the last 8 days, so I haven't had a chance to get out scouting. What's everyone seeing out there? When I had more time to bowhunt, I used to love watching the flights of woodies from my treestand this time of year. A lot of nights I'd take off early to find the honey holes they were using. Just wondering what everyone's seeing for birds?

As far as the Youth Hunting goes, here's my 2 cents... I am all for programs for introducing youth to any aspect of hunting or being in the wild. I see points on both sides of the fence however. Aside from the abuses that can occur, it does give kids a first chance at killing early (and sometimes uneducated) birds. It also gives a parent a perfect opportunity to teach them without the pressure of some jerk accross the slough skybusting or yelling profanities for missing birds (which oftentimes happens with kids on their first hunts). Hunting has become too competitive in MN over the years with the changing flyways, and limited water to hunt. I think it's great that they can get out without any of the pressure of other hunters. Wouldn't YOU all have liked to have had that same opportunity?

I know that this view isn't very popular with a lot of people. I think many are mislead about how this really affects the birds though. The Youth Hunt does NOT push birds south early, or out west to the Dakotas! It may push birds off a paticular slough or pothole for a while, but I believe that they just find another spot to feed and rest nearby. This can actually be an asset if you are hunting private land, or hard to reach public areas! Opener is such a zoo anyway-- birds are being pushed from all over the place. If you are set up right, and have done your scouting, you will get into the birds with or without the early season.

One point I do agree with is that the birds can be a bit more educated by the time the "Real" opener begins. Isn't that why they call it hunting though? I'd rather bring home two birds that I had to really work for than a limit of birds that I could have killed just being in the right spot without using decoys or calls. I know I don't speak for everyone on this, so let's hear some more opinions on the subject! I really enjoy learning from what others think on such controversial topics!!!

Good Gunnin'!!!

Duck-o-holic

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kelly-p

I think we all remember our first hunting experiences, that time is important. Youth Hunting Day may or may not cost us "adult" hunters some birds but if it does so what. I feel that that is a very small price for us to pay to give a young person a chance to experience what we have already experienced. I would gladly give up a great deal of my hunting if it meant that it would put a big smile on a little kids face.
I still remember my single shot 410, the golden lab named "Kim", the drizzle coming down, the 12 foot lund painted in camo and my Dad holding up the "bill" he said I had just shot. 35+ years later I still smile. Lets do what ever we can to ensure that the kids now have something to remember years later. The children are our future.

------------------
Waskish Minnow Station
218-647-8652

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Duck-o-holic

Well said Kelly!!! That's what it's all about!!!

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Borch

I did the youth hunt on Saturday with my daughter. We didn't see much for ducks moving even at that magical hour. We saw a half dozen wood ducks, 1 blue wing teal and 9 mallards. Most of these duck just got up a flew to the other side of the slough. They weren't flying. There was about two dozen honkers on the slough. Had two big flocks bust us as we picked up decoys. However she did get a goose. A young responded to my calls and came right in. She shot at about 15 yards with it's wings set. Her little 20 guage did the job. She was and is pumped up! Opener should be better with someone to move the ducks around. Most shooting we heard was coming from the fields. I suppose the cool rainy weather kept a lot of youth hunters off the water. Till next time.

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Guest

GullGuide how is "Dos BOG " THE DUCK BATTLESHIP COMING ALONG, havent seen any pics yet or is it still in dry dock?

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Guest

Hey, this might be a good sign. This morning when I went out to grab the paper at about 5:30am I heard the distinct cackling of lesser Canadian geese. Not the big, fat, dumb, golf course geese of the Twin Cities, but geese that probably originated from the James Bay or Churchill areas of Hudson Bay. The reason I think it's a good sign is the last time I remember seeing these geese this early ended up in a pretty decent year of duck and goose hunting. It stayed very consistent throughout the season with fresh birds arriving daily. Man, I'm really grasping straws here, but it would be nice to have a consistent season this year.

Anyway, good luck to everyone on Minnesota waterfowl opener. I won't be participating in the opener as I will be in Canada hunting snow geese or whatever fowl that comes my way. Oh, woe is me.

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