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loc9fisher

did anyone have a good season??

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loc9fisher

what the heck is going on?!?! i have yet to hear from anyone about a good season. all i've heard is "worst season ever", and "lowest numbers i've ever seen".

what happened to just enjoying the experience? now i know there are those who do, but this post is merely written to try and open some of the nay-sayers eyes.

this was my best season to date. thanks mostly to a little brown lab named Timber. Timber isn't even my dog, she owns my hunting partner. watching her mature into a truely good waterfowl hunter this year is something i will never forget. simply put, she is a machine, and she is a good waterfowl hunter. i am proud that she let me hunt waterfowl with her.

now i didn't shoot many ducks this year. when i did though i saw it as an added bonus to an otherwise perfect day. i didn't complain that i didn't shoot more birds, or that i didn't see enough.

this year will go down as one of the best for me because i enjoyed all the experiences of it. i had alot of firsts this year. Timber retrieved her first goose, first out of water, then land (brought a tear to my eye both times). Timbers owner and i shot a pair of geese, both had bands, both or first, later in the year i got another one. another friend shot his first goose, his first limit of mallards (or limit of anything for that matter) and to top it off they were all greenheads. that same day i shot my first limit of greenheads.

another friend shot his first duck, and his dog made his first retrieve on it. another friends dog got his first retrieve this year too.

the memories keep going but this is getting long enough. for those of you who made it this far, im not picking a fight here, just trying to open some eyes to the bigger picture.

i did have one bad hunt, but thats another story.

stay safe...............loc9

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MattKeller

Very well said!

Shooting wise it seemed like mallards were here in HIGH #'s. Teal, wigeon, gadwall, woodies, ringers and geese were abundant as well. Bluebill #'s seemed way down.

That's not why it was a great season here though. Many young boys shared the blind with us this fall making many very memorable hunts. I love taking pictures and we got a lot of good snapshots of the kids in action. It sure helped to have the ducks here in good #'s all season, but the people we hunted with this year made it the best ever.

Again, the previous post was right on!!!

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Guest

I can't figure it out either.

For us, the last 4 years have been phenomanal as far as bird numbers go, with the exception of this season. 3 seasons ago it was the best in over 50 years where we were hunting and that is saying a lot considering it is one of the best known lakes in the state as far as history goes.

Last year was poor in relation to the previous 3, but we still had birds to shoot at pretty much every time out.

All I am hearing is habitat loss habitat loss, which is true, but that is NOT the reason our numbers were down the last few years in parts of the state. THE reason has been milder than normal falls.

When was the last time we had a good snowstorm in October? When was the last time Canada had a good freeze where even the big lakes locked up well before our seasons closed?

There are birds, and plenty of them...not the dire straits some are making us believe. Canada, Manitoba in particualr was BLACK with mallards right up to the week after our season closed. If anyone was lucky enough to witness the mass migration in early December, they wouldnt be jumping on this duckless bandwagon. My contacts in Winnipeg kept telling me that we were not going to see any birds till after we closed du to a lot of open water and plenty of food. Many times they were warmer than we were here in late November.

I can't believe that none of these so-called experts have even brought up weather as a reason the birds did not show up in normal numbers. I mean, if you were a duck, would you leave water and food if you diddnt have to?

If anyone is interested, check out the Arkansas mallard GPS tracking study going on. I watched it pretty much all through November. 99% of the birds diddnt even leave Canada until late November, the majority came through the Dakotas the first week of December and most of them have not even left Northern Missouri yet. In fact, 2 of the birds are still in MINNESOTA!!! And one diddnt even leave Canada until 2 weeks ago!!!

Thoughts?

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Curly

Where can you find the info on the mallard migration study?

Thanks

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Willy

Tom, I think you are right to some point. Yes, the warmer than average falls in the state haven't helped anything, but also you have to admitt there weren't near as many local birds or the calendar migrants around as there usually is. I guess I should say there wasn't in my area. To be honest, I think the main reason we don't have as many ducks to hunt is the pressure they receive. There are tons more people out there hunting as there was even 6-7 years ago. Even if we do see a migration, the birds are instantly shot up and haven't anywhere to rest.

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Guest

Willy, you are right about the pressure. It's insane some mornings where I hunt. More and more every year.

Locals and MN/ND birds were pretty much all we shot this year. All the way till the last days the birds had pinfeathers, definetly not Canadian birds. The "calandar" birds did show up where we were right on schedule but did not stick around long.

here's the tracking link-

web page

You'll need to register, but it is worth it.

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Rost

Everyone is talking about how bad their season was, lack of ducks etc.. I believe that the season was slow, but not the lack of ducks. I blame it on the weather.

Around here, the local ducks seemed to hang out on big water. Why? Because the were shot off many of the sloughs and it was 75 degrees all fall. We fished Lake Thompson in Oct. and there were ducks by the thousands out there.

For the Northern ducks, they just had no reason to fly south until December.

I say don't get your shorts in a knot over one bad year.

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MattKeller

We're north of you Tom so we did have a migration BUT not until November. I think I've shared this before but we had a field that had 10,000+ mallards in it. That was just 1 of our fields. We had many more with 1000's in it. The day after season closed we still had a field with 1000+ mallards in it. The birds just did not migrate until late. Fortunately, we had 'em up here and have had them THICK for the last 5 years. Weather, habitat, the flooding we had up here, the frozen crops-it all played a part. But let me tell you, there is some excellent hunting opportunities in Minnesota.

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BLACKJACK

I think that the pressure that the ducks get here in MN also makes a huge difference. As we're driving out to Aberdeen, I see lots of ponds with ducks swimming in them, right by the road. If those ducks were in MN, someone would be stopping and taking a shot at them.

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MattKeller

Good point. The few areas that do have good habitat, usually get pounded by hunters non-stop so the birds aren't there anyway.

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loc9fisher

not to insult anyone, but the point of this post seems to have been clearly missed. i wasn't trying to find out how everyone did, i was simply trying to get people to look past the duck numbers, lack of habitat, hunting pressure, or whatever else people like to blame for their lack of "success".

matt, you seemed to have gotten it though. good for you for taking out kids. nothing beats the excitement a kid feels when they have a good time.

instead of talking about the ducks that didn't migrate, or we didn't see, tell us about the loner you got that one day that sticks out in your memory. or about the flock that flared when we did something stupid but funny. or even that sunrise or sunset that was so perfect it stopped you from what you were doing so you didn't miss any of it.

again, this post wasn't meant to offend or insult anyone. i was just trying to hear some positives from the season, not the same negitives that keep getting brought up.

..........loc9

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FOOT

Fisher, well I've been hunting waterfowl for 37 seasons and I can honestly say I've never had a bad season.

From the time I took my son out with his BB gun and as I knelt in the blind and looked North he was looking South at a bid GreenHead come in. As I raised to shoot the ones in the North I spied him lining up to the South. He shot the GH at about 20 feet and hit it right in the chest. It didn't hurt the GH but it such ticked him off. The GH started grabbin air and quacking like mad. I pulled up and drop him but my son never heard me shoot he was too excited and yelling "I got him Dad, I got him". Several years later I told him what really happened.

He and I spend several wonderful days in the swamp and I can't wait till his daughter gets older so she can tag along.

There is always something that happens that is memorable. Feeding a Mink chunks of deer sausage. Sitting all morning only to have a buck get up not 15 feet away and scare the H--- out of you. Missing a cant miss shot. Placing Pink Flamingos in your buddies decoy set in the pre-dawn darkness so they shine at sunrise. Loading your buddies Citori with slugs, (nope he didn't hit the duck). Having a friend forget his shotgun 300 miles back home. Having your dog make a fantastic retrieve.

I could go on and on but as I said I've never had a bad season.

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loc9fisher

thank you foot. thats what im looking for. good stories.

thanks again.............loc9

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simcox282

I would say yes I did. As I got probably the last real season of hunting in with my father. As others have said It is about being there with friends/family that makes it memorable. We started to bring out new hunters. It was so funny watching them miss or the surprised look when they sat up to see a goose standing next to them. The double of geese I got and the the aswesome retrieve my dog did. Finding new places to hunt and the adventure of getting there, the "great" (yeah right that will never work) ideas born in the blind. It is always nice to get some shooting yet the adventure of the hunt is the reason that I keep on going back.

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FOOT

More Stories -

I once had a hunting buddy claim he saw an alligator swimming among his decoys before sunrise. It turned out to be a beaver with a stick in it's mouth. In the dark it sure as heck looked like an alligator.

A buddy had a black lab with a hard mouth and would crunch every duck he retrieved. To fix the problem he stuck some roofing nails in a corn cob and then attached duck feathers to the cob. When it got slow he threw the cob out and shot towards it, then sent his lab to fetch it. The lab picked up the cob, chomped down on it, yelped loudly,spit out the cob, turned around and took a huge dump right on the cob.

Hunting in Reno bottoms, on the Mississippi, a buddy shot a nice male woodie and it dropped right in a rotted out hollow tree stump about 14 feet above the water. Not one to lose a bird he went back to the landing, into town, borrowed a saw, came back and cut the tree stump down to get the woodie.

I was hunting a small paritally frozen in ND a couple of years ago and looking one way when a Widgeon came in behind me to land. It hit the ice and came skidding right up to my blind, 2 foot to my right. It got up shook itself off, looked at me like I'd done something wrong and flew off. Nope, didn't shoot it didn't have the heart.

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MossBoss95

Well I just saw the coolest thing. I live out here in Shakopee near the St.Frances hospital and on my way home I saw what must have been 2-3 thousand mallards in the field by my house. I have seen in past a lot of canadian geese and people were hunting them but never have I seen this many ducks in one place. It looked like something out of a tv show. They were just feeding in the field and I was within 20 yards of them. I wish I had my cammera I would post some of the pics. Pretty cool!!

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loc9fisher

one of the dogs i hunted with this year was the best dog you would ever want in your blind... if you had another dog with to retrieve your birds. his goal in life is to find the most comfortable place to lay down and sleep. he would search diligently for the first hour or so until he found his spot. as soon as he found it, he wouldn't move for anything. when we shot, he would give us a look like "why did you wake me up?". while the other dog was making retrieve's, he might get out of his bed to supervise, but when it was over it was right back to his little nest.

most guys i know wouldn't want a dog like that with, doesn't do his job, or just taking up space. but to tell you the truth, it was funny every time. and on the plus side he was dry all the time so if you ever had to warm up your hands, just pet the dog for awhile. he had his purpose there.........it just took us some time to figure it out.

...........loc9

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FOOT

A couple more - Maybe I should write a book !?

Anyway, I was out deer hunting one fall when the farmer, whose land I was hunting, dumped a load of corn at the edge of the woods. Nothing happened that day but by the next day the corn pile was visited by just about every kind of critter you could think off and when they left they appeared to be drunk. The grouse would fly in, eat, fly away on a more then usual zig zag course and turn around and fly right back in. The squirrels would attacked the corn with a vengeance and then go sit on a limb, or try to, they would fall, chatter at something or someone and climb back up the tree to fall again. It was hilarious. Never saw a deer that day but it was one of the most memorable days deer hunting I've ever had.

Just got back from Ottertail this past weekend, doing some walleye ice fishing. My brother had an aqua-view camera and everytime we lowered it down a 3-4 pound Norhtern would come up to it. We'd move the camera to another hole or move it around and there the darn Northern would be staring right back at us. Must have been one of those Hollywood Northern's.

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Sartell Angler

as far as numbers seen, it was one of my worst. as far as birds shot, probably one of my best. as far as fun while hunting, definitely my best season ever.

I'm a sophomore in college and my brother is a freshman, and we were fortunate enough to do a lot of hunting this season. We started on Sept. 1st with the dove season, and honestly had as much fun on that day as we ever have had while hunting. We managed to limit out on doves and had a blast doing it.

Early goose hunting was a great time as well, have several good hunts. A hightlight was on the sunday of weekend 2, when just after shooting 8 geese between the 3 of us my brother raised up a dumped a crow at about 60 yards...we talked about how hard that crow got hit with tungstens for the rest of the morning. Then another time while out goose hunting in the early season, a flock of about 15 pigeons kept landing out in the field beyond our decoys. Since the birds were not flying on this day, we sent our 10 year old golden retriever out there after them...he would sneak up close to them and then charge them, only to have them land on the other side of the field...he did this for a solid half hour and kept us entertained until the flock ventured too close to our blind and had their numbers thinned substantially.

Duck season was great as well...highlights included finding new spots to hunt, watching a buddy go one step too far with his waders setting out decoys on a day in mid november (luckily he was the fat kid in the group and didn't mind the cold), and shooting 2 new species of ducks (I had never shot a goldeneye or a bufflehead that wasn't a group effort type shot)

Late goose was somewhat disappointing...opted to risk our lives hunting the river as it was freezing (walked a while, motored awhile, walked awhile, motored....on our way across the bay to our blind). Ended up with 5 birds, and a bonus rooster we saw land in some tall grass and managed to flush at our feet.

Pheasant season was a lot of fun...on the wednesday before finals 3 of us didn't have class, so we set off for the Benson area to hunt pubic land...stomped around for the better part of the day, only to kick up a over 100 hens and a few roosters that were out of range (god i hate that)...on the way back to the truck a rooster gets up at someone's feet (not mine) and he misses it twice...all that walking for nothing...following saturday we got 3 roosters in one morning on private land...that is the ticket i guess.

Overall, a great year with too many stories to type. It is the experiences that make this sport what it is, not killing more birds than the next guy. It is refreshing to see that some people on here understand this. Keep the stories coming.

S.A / wdw

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