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CANOPY SAM

2014 NoDak Waterfowl Reports

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CANOPY SAM

Beautiful Sprig, Bryce! I've had years in central NoDak when almost all we see are Gadwall. Thanks for the reports.

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fish_hunt_guy

Nice work bryce! You decoying these birds over water or jump shooting??

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Todd Caswell

Birds are thinning out some. 2nd nodak woodie in over 15 years. Pintail may go on the wall. Best widgeon season ever. Had many mounters but all shot up too bad. Saw less than a handful of teal but north end of Sand Lake is loaded with gwt. Save your money on the pheasant license. Very little crowing and all coming from the corn. Reports are the corn will come out slowly due to moisture. full-283-50156-2014_10_1910.40.09.jpg

Widgeon are neat birds, most years we would shoot a hand full of them and wood ducks dry land field hunting in Manitoba, but not this year..

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Bryce

Jump shooting not my game. Potholes and decoys. Very rare that I have to hike gear more than 100 feet from where the truck can get to. Also have a basic field spread if needed. No feeds found scouting this trip. Saw a bunch of hunters putting in way more effort than needed.

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Todd Caswell

Jump shooting not my game. Potholes and decoys. Very rare that I have to hike gear more than 100 feet from where the truck can get to. Also have a basic field spread if needed. No feeds found scouting this trip. Saw a bunch of hunters putting in way more effort than needed.

The days of belly crawling have been over for many years for me as well, if they don't have there wings cupped and feet down they get a free pass, I think most of this come with age cool

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fish_hunt_guy

I agree Todd. Jump shooting is not nearly the rush of hearing the wings cutting the air and locking up into the spread. Nothing compares IMO.

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Todd Caswell

I agree Todd. Jump shooting is not nearly the rush of hearing the wings cutting the air and locking up into the spread. Nothing compares IMO.

But I can't judge because I belly crawled many miles back in the day. 20 plus years ago....

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fishuhalik

I won't put myself above sneaking em. Obviously I prefer shooting em cupped up, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures!! Except snows. I'll try to sneak those guys any chance I get

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Proskier2038

My dad and a buddy were both up in zone 1 the past few days and it sounds like things were pretty good last Thursday/ Friday, but by Sunday there wasn't much around and what they did see wasn't having anything to do with their spreads. Dad and his friends did best on small potholes with small spreads on widgeon and gadwall -while my buddy did best in the fields on green heads about 30 miles away. - looks like a small cool down next week so hopefully their will be some nw winds pushing down some new birds / I head up in a week !

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NAMASafetyDirector

Hunted around Devils Lake Sat. and Sun. Same as the other reports, there were some birds around but most of them knew the deal already so were very reluctant to get to finish in the decoys, that is if we could even get them to take a look. Ended up with 36 birds for the two mornings and 1 Greater who's curiosity put him in a position he couldnt get out of yesterday morning. All mallards otherwise, no pintails around to speak of. Seemed like in the smaller groups that would come in to the decoys, there was always 2-4 hens and 1 drake with. So as the mornings went on we really had to start paying attention and pick em out. Overall, great weekend though!

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Bryce

Final morning. Refuge pothole between 3 publics and an outfitters home ground. Passed on a lot of gray to realize the real ducks had earned a PhD over the weekend. full-283-50248-2014_10_2009.44.49.jpg

Went 6 shots for 6 ducks. Would seriously have to consider a knitting class if I was desperate enough to put my belly in the mud when I couldn't get a decoyed limit when the grays are still around. Could have been done in 30 minutes or less every day this trip in 3 different locations.

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Bryce

Sorry about the quality of my old flip phone picture. Typical nodak spread I use. Small bag of non descript dekes and a remote controlled spinner. Pothole probably right about an acre here. First timers don't get too enthusiastic. Getting on land can be tough. Not as frustrating as MN but don't expext a yellow brick road leading to instant limits as some may infer.full-283-50249-1020140908.jpg

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fishuhalik

I don't care what anyone says. Gray ducks taste great, decoy awesome & are beautiful. They can absolutely save a hunt!!

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Bryce

Forgot to add that spoonies showed up overnight. Talk about saving a hunt. Make the grays look like rocket surgeons.

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Scott M

Thanks for the reports and pictures guys. I'm living vicariously through this thread. Been a few years since I made it to NoDak. Hope to return next year.

We always said "when life hands you gadwalls, make gadwallinade." Gray ducks eat good, look good, and shoot good. They've rounded out many a bag for us.

Keep up the good work!

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fishuhalik

Just left Jourdanton, TX! Only about 26 hours of driving left smile I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

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bemidjibasser

Any reports from the Napolean area? I'll be headed out there next week...

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PFUNK

Heading back home right now from the devils lake area. Took off a day earlier than planned because we had our limit and were getting tired of eating duck. Hunting was pretty good and there were definitely more birds than when I was there for the nonres opener. Mallards were tough to fool into the decoys so that made it tougher for us. If you arent picky about what you want to shoot, a limit is easy to come by right now. There were also quite a few snow geese flying around. There are getting to be some good sized flocks of mallards but they are definitely moving around so you gotta be mobile to stay with them. Corn was starting to come down while we were there. Wish i was going back in a couple weeks.

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Mr.Seaguar

Awesome pictures Bryce.

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Gordie

We were in the Devils lake area and found the birds on the Big water shot our limit each day for 3-4 guys. found a field with close to 12,000 mallards and went to get permission and the farmer said that his insurance adjuster set over 300 field decoys for them last Friday and those picky mallards NEVER came back and they never fired a shot... the on Saturday evening we found a couple of spots with around 2000 mallards so we set up in a couple of sloughs that we 300 hundred yards apart and once again the green heads decided to not come back but a few did manage to fall buy our guns.

We also had a great say on Saturday with a great blast and cast or as I like to call it slimmer's and divers day...

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CANOPY SAM

Thanks for the report, Gordie! Sounds like the mallards are pretty cagey this year.

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Gordie

Thanks for the report, Gordie! Sounds like the mallards are pretty cagey this year.

Nope just being mallards, grin

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CANOPY SAM

Man, what a nice day. Can't imagine there's much coming down from Canada, or anything moving much at all in weather like this.

Headed to NoDak on Thurs morning, and to think I was worried we'd see cold temps, and frozen sloughs before we got there!?!?

Now I'm wondering if I need to pack some shorts and sandals? crazy

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fishuhalik

Here's my report. Man, hunting was TOUGH, to say the least. Just like everyone else has said, scouting is key. We had 3 rigs scouting/pheasant hunting every day. By myself, I covered a little over 800 miles in 5 days & didn't scout at all today cuz we're leaving tomorrow am. I bet as a group we put over 1500 miles on looking for birds. But it paid off. We weren't able to find any good field hunts & goose numbers were close to non-existant, which was a big bummer. Pheasants were WAY down from last year. We put on a lot of boot miles & never came close to filling all our limits, which is extremely unusual. Here's the day-to-day breakdown.

Weds:

Left the San Antonio area around 3am. Drove straight through, alternating drivers every fill up.

Thurs:

Arrived in our hunting area right at daybreak. First spot we stopped at, a refuge, was absolutely loaded with divers & gray ducks but very few malls. Started driving. Every once in a while if we found a pair of malls we'd stop & jump em. Also pushed a few good-looking pheasant sloughs with limited success. Ended with 5 malls, a bunch of gray ducks & 4 roosters. Couldn't find a concentration of malls or honkers

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Fri:

FeathersRainin & his bro showed up, as did my dad & his hunting partner Pat. Drove drove & drove some more. Found a few small groups of malls but nothing more than 30-40 birds. Didn't jump shoot any malls Friday. Ended up with only 3 gads that we jumped cuz we were tired of sitting in the car & had to shoot something!! Got around 10 roosters. FeathersRainin found a nice concentration of malls using a series of 4-5 potholes, right next to each other. Plan was to set me & 2 others on a pond, 2 guys on another, & FR & his brother on another pond. My dad also found another pothole with around 1000 malls using it. However, 5 other guys also found it. Thankfully they were decent guys & were willing to let my dad & his partner hunt it too

Sat:

Had a great shoot. Shot around 20 malls, a couple pins, a couple redheads & a dumb shoveler in our area & my dad & his bud shot their limit with a big banded drake. Sadly, 2 of the guys set up on the wrong pond (they're rookies, friends of mine that just joined us for today) & only shot 3 geese, 3 buffs & 2 drake ringers. Ended up with I think 12 roosters too. I've never had malls respond to a call like they did this day. All the birds wanted to be in the south end of our pothole & we were on the north side, around 4-500 yards away. As we all know that usually ends in a real frustrating day. They'd be cupped up, dumping in the far side of the slough, I'd get on the call, give em a few high-balls & they'd make a 90 right for us. A few quacks & a little chuckling & it was feet down, committed. After we shot em they'd fly to FR & his bro, they'd shoot em, then they'd go to the pond my other buds were supposed to be at. After the hunt there was around 1000 birds piled up right where we told em to set. Oops. After that it was more driving & pheasant hunting

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Sun:

I wanted to hunt with my dad so we went back to the pond they shot at on Sat. Only had 30-40 malls come in but they decoyed great & we were able to just pick drakes. Shot my first band too, a gorgeous greenhead. FR, his bro & my bud went back to the pond we shot Sat & jumped em when they went in. Sadly they never returned & they zeroed, only 1 shot fired. A few roosters were shot but not much.

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All in all, it was hands-down the toughest nodak trip I've ever had, both for waterfowl & rooster. It had some great highs & pretty rough lows (esp waking up a few mornings after having a little too much fun the night before with buds I haven't seen since I left nodak) but being able to talk all those malls into our dekes & getting my first band definitely made the trip worthwhile. Until next year North Dakota!! I'm already looking forward to it smile

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leechlake

great thorough report.

We were north of Devils Lake near Alsen from Tuesday-Friday. We didn't drive as much because we had the scouting or attempted scouting done for us by a buddy in the area. There were enough ducks to keep it interesting our final tally was we averaged 4 ducks a day for each of us. The first two days it was mostly mallards with a few gads. My nephew had five go over him in am and shot once and three died stone dead. He was walking to retrieve a duck in a picked bean field and he was lucky to have the other five of us witness it, pretty cool.

Talked to a game warden and he said we were lucky and doing better than most. He said a lot of crops still in in Canada and the weather hasn't been cooperative for ND yet.

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fishersofmen

Nice report fish thanks for sharing!

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Stringerless!

Great report,great pics fish.

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fishuhalik

Corrections:

I missed a day. Left Tues, got there weds. Left out thurs. scouted, saw nothing worth hunting, shot around 12 roosters & 2 gads.

Also, we didn't shoot the pin on the last day. We found it. Guessing the other group hunting the opposite side of the pond the day prior couldn't find it. Cleaned it up & it looked & smelled fine

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BoxMN

Hunted NE ND Friday afternoon to sunday morn, two old guys, no dog. In a nutshell, where we saw birds there were a lot of birds, but just in general there were not as many around the smaller potholes.

Friday evening hunted a decent sized slough (but still pothole size, not lake) where we often hunt, on farmer friends land. Shot a couple mallards, a few gadwalls, and a few redheads. But we could have shot more, but wind was so bad that two birds hit the grass behind us (wind in our face, on purpose) and we couldn't find them, so we only shot over the water after that. Total nine ducks found and 2 lost. Saw geese circling nearby field so I went to check it out and talk to our farmer friend.

Field next to our friends house and it was relatives so we could hunt it. But they told us to hit the slough across the road from them (where we often hunt) because mallards and geese have been coming back to to it like clock work at 10-noon. So we hunted same spot Sat morn as Friday evening (left decoys out, so easy morning), and shot 3 ducks and left by 8:30. Got on the other spot by 9:30, dragged a little puddler boat in, and scared a bunch of ducks off.

We saw lots of geese flying around, LOTS, and we ended up shooting 3 nice greenheads, 3 redheads, and that was it, no cripples. I left my spot on a point at 11:30 to meet buddy, and while we got ready to leave, we watched hundreds of geese land on my point, ha! Oh well smile Lots of geese and mallards piled in and we just let them sit.

Went to field (all these spots in the same basic section) and set up by about 2 pm. Had a nice nap in layout and woke up three geese coming in about 3:30 or 4 and buddy dropped one and I had a misfire. Real big goose, weighed 10.5# gutted. We had several flocks come almost perfect but not quite, and we didn't shoot, but maybe should have, oh well. Another couple came and I shot one. Then had threesome mallards drop in and we got two, one banded greenhead (ended up it was banded in Roseau in Sept 2014 of a spring hatched, this thing had great looking big greenhead but not as big as the others, but at only 5 months it figures. We were surprised it looked as mature as it did). Then I was peeing and a lone honker came in and landed in the decoys with me standing and layout wide open. Buddy shot it as it was taking off. Ended Sat with three geese, 4 mallards, 4 redheads, 3 gadwalls I think, something like that, one duck short of limit. Could have killed lots of teal or spoonies at the second spot.

Sunday morn back to first spot, as it was easy for us old guys. SE wind instead of W wind, and didn't see as many ducks in our slough but lots flying around the area. We got three greenwings, two spoonies :), 3 redheads and 3 gadwall. We left one shy of limit. The were flying fast this am with the wind.

Great time, real low key for us old guys (did't even go to bar at all, got to bed early) and had a great time with great weather. I hunted all Friday into sundown in t shirt. Didn't set any records, but got some real nice birds and didn't have to leave one square mile around our friends farm to do it. I bet the big mallards are still a ways out, the water was not even cold on my hands yet.

Good luck to you all, my two trips are over for the year. And thanks again to the fine people of North Dakota. Met a couple nice new people, and of course our long time friends there.

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certified jumbo

Boxmn. Great report. That sounds like good hunting to me!

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