Friday, December 11, 2009

All FROZE up in NW Missouri

Last week was the best week in we have saw in NW Mo this season. The mallards were every where and working great. Up until Friday morning when all the marshes holding the big numbers of birds started to freeze by Saturday morning there was a solind 2 inches of ice. Now all the larger lakes are starting to get pretty thick except for where the big honkers are keeping it open and it is time to start getting after them they are pilening in in big numbers now. The worst part about in is that duck season is open in the north part of the state until 12-29 and even the missouri river has enough ic it cant be hunted although it usually doesnt stay that way for long. Goose season will run until 1-31-10

Thursday, December 10, 2009

the last week

its cold out. 12 below out and now the birds are here. shot some geese and a northern shoveler it was ok its better then a skunk for the day and its the last week for ducks. im try to breed bear so we should have pups. if you know people looking let me know its going to be his first litter. can't wait to see them. good luck guys seeeeee ya

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Well, I had the fortunate pleasure of closing out the season hunting with one of the only few other hunters I've hunted with, that has duck hunting boiling in their blood. My Nephew Ry, (and capt'n Junkie). We did not have a fantastic shoot, but enough to keep it interesting! And as always, there were the memorable moments that you can keep looking back on during the off season. Some of them were mentioned in a previous post, so I won't repeat the details, but thought I would make a list:

Drew's first Drake Woodie

Smell of the grilling duck breast out in the marsh

Four shooters-not a goose fell?? what just happened??

Drew… "Its got jewelry"

Setting up the big blue awning out on the line

The sunken pram, hoping our gear all floats

I've never been so wet in all my life

6 duck limit on my B-day

A second blown opportunity on a bull Pintail this year. Could it get any more frustrating?

The Bald Eagle Retriever

Got my groove back on the last day of the season by shooting well, and also getting my first (and only) goose of the year.

Duck season ended on the right day. Monday morning almost everything was iced in. Unfortunately the last big migration did not make it here before the season closed. Hopefully that means more around next year!!


I'm back and so are the birds

Well i have been a little behind on my blogs (sorry everyone) my computer has been down for a couple weeks and that mixed with goose season has kept me away. haha
The geese are coming through in numbers i haven't seen in a few seasons up here and the 8 degree highs aren't hurtin us too bad either. If you can handle the cold your sure too limit out. Ducks are coming in stong but not in the numbers were used to seeing or im just in the wrong spots (good possibility). Hopefully going to scope out a slew i might get a chance at east of town and see what happens ill keep you guys posted!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Sad Sad Day

There is no feeling like the one you get on the last day of the season. On Sunday morning Matt and I had a hard time getting out of bed. The night before we watched the video of the new, 2009 world duck calling champion Mike Anderson of Minnesota, had a few drinks and had a great time and a great meal.
We pulled into the boat landing about 5:00 and there was only 1 car in the lot? On the last day? We motored out and found our spot and set up. Unlike Sat. morning the show started right away. Not fast by any means but decent. We had the only shooting on the marsh. Every bird we shot decoyed very well and even circled a few times before shooting. We did however get BURNED by a flock of geese right away.
We were working a pair of mallards way out front when I saw the tails on a flock of geese about 25yds high over the decoys flying away. They made no sound! No honk, not even air from their wings! We did manage 2 drake mallards, one hen, a beautiful ringbill a goose and a drake gadwall. After sitting for almost 2 hours I decided to call it at 11:00. I would have loved to finish the day out but I had a long drive home and with a busted up ankle I wanted to give it some rest before work on Monday. At least I finished the season with some birds but the coolest thing was the final bird we worked in about 5 times and I had a 1 shot clean kill. Something good to build of off of for next season:>)
The bird locations this season has been most challenging. Some people believed they flew early and some said they went back north in NOV because of the warmth. I found a report that on Sat Dec 5th Brainerd MN was hold one of the largest sightings of birds in that area in a while. Due to the season being closed there was no gun pressure so the flocks of birds were aparently a sight to see. Huge rafts of divers and mallards filled the area. So its true we finished a season before the birds even got here!
Now for the decoy. Last season I started to play with the idea of a new decoy design. This season I made a few different versions and each time out we were the only ones having birds decoy in. The mornings I didn't have it with you could almost tell the difference in confidence of the birds. This past weekend we had swans multiple times decoy in and one time they ran it over. The next step is a patent and to figure out true production cost. Hopefully by next season I have something to sell because only 3 people besides me have ever seen it and they all want one so be sure to check back! You never know when it may become available.

Well It was a cold one for TN

Finally we got the cold weather we have all been despiratly waiting for. It was 20 degrees saturday and sunday morning, sure you northerners got alot colder but for us it was colder than a witch's tity! I was ready to go hunt both days with a few good friends of mine and we all had fun although we barely got to shoot anything. Saturday we hunted a beaver slough where there was the only open water we could find. The only problem we had was it was 4 feet of water and another 4 feet of mud! I threw out a bunch of decoys with 2 foot of line on each decoy and they all floated back to us except for one so at the end of the day i tried to walk out and get it and ended up flooding my waders! stupid mistake! The paint on the decoy wasn't very good so in my anger of being cold and wet i told my friends to kill the first duck of the day.... It still took us 4 shots to completly sink a decoy!(all the other times it only takes one pellet from shooting a cripple to sink them) So we ended up going home empty handed. We had a nice fellow tell us about a new WMA in Fayette county TN were noone hunted and it was an old hunting club so we decided to go try that the next day. My friends Caleb, Fallon, Patrick and I all walked in not knowing where we were going but i found the spot the guy told us about. Fallon had to get back to Oxford that afternon so he left early. We had had a bunch of woodies skim over the trees but we eithor werent ready or someone didnt see them so we never got to kill anything there. There were however 2 or 3 guys hunting near us that thought they could kill anything that they could see we had 2 mallards fly over us andthey were way to high to shoot at but soon after they flew over these dumbasses and they were shooting at ducks at least 150 yards above them. That wasnt the only time. There were 2 Canadians that flew about 50 yards directly over our heads well i though TN canada season didnt open till january but i was wrong and once again these guys were shooting at geese Big geese none the less at over 300 yards away!!! I was pissed so i ended up picking up all the decoys and leaving but once again on the way out in 3 feet of water i tripped and fell face first through ice into the water! The decoy bag strapped to my back did nothing more than hold me under for longer but i finally managed not to drown and got up and went straight to the truck and straight home still being able to make it to church! lol we could have shot a few duck sunday but i a, definatly looking forward to going back to Arkansas to kill some ducks! and maybe go on a gooe hunt.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Matt Your Bull !! Your Bull !!!!!

I arrived in SW WI late Friday night with a very sore ankle and lots of excitement for the final 2 days. The weather had changed on my way down and was no longer from the north, it was now from the south. Matt and I unpacked my stuff and loaded up for the morning.
Saturday morning reveled a lot of ice at the launch, but luckily some other boats had alreday made a path. We put our boat in right after a group of 3 that had a much bigger boat and we were hoping to follow them so we wouldn't have to break so much ice. Turns out none of their flood lights worked and they asked us if they could follow us. We made a few jokes but were more than willing because if you do not know the channel, especially this time of year when there is no grass left, you will be stuck in weeds and dead heads.
The morning shoot revealed almost no birds. Almost no shooting anywhere and at 10:00 Matt and I decided to take the boat out to find another spot and see what was frozen. We found a great spot and quickly picked up to move.
Once set up in the new spot way back in the prairie where no one else was, on a spot I'll call the lost bull island, we quickly saw some action. I was eating a snack when Matt yelled out "RY right here"! I crouched down and asked" where" without looking which was followed by a quick gun shot and the response, " In the decoys!" Shortly after that it was my turn. Matt grabbed a snack and out of the corner of my eye I spotted 2 flying at us very fast and about 10ft off the water. I told Matt to stop and explained where the birds would be when he turned around but before I could finish they were on us. I pulled up and vaporized the first one and picked off the second one with a long poke. A Pattermaster choke with HEVI Shot at 10yrds on a shoveler flying full tilt does some damage! The problem was the other birds. We watched as a bald eagle swooped down and picked it up! All I could do is yell at it. It dropped the duck and it came around for another pass> Right then 2 hunters showed up in front of us, almost as if sent by God to help us. They grabbed the bird for us way out in the bay but they had to swat the eagle away! This bird would not give up!
About 5 minutes later we had a huge Drake gadwal drop right in on the decoys. We each fired 1 shot making a clean kill and the race was on between KING and the eagle! Matt and I watched in amazement as this bird swooped down on King as he grabbed the bird. He did a great job bringing it back and it is now in the freezer and heading to the taxidermist. Now with 3 shovelers and a gady in the bag the moment arrived!
Matt and I both have a life long obsession with the big bull pintail. In this part of the country they are not in abundance so to shoot one is huge, but for us its better than any jewlery out there. 3 years ago I shot one that is being mounted, and so when I saw this one dart by I knew this was going to be all Matt.
When it shot by I yelled out Matt your bull Matt your bull!! "I know I know!' he said. I imediately grabbed the dog remote and the call. There was no screwing this one up! I worked the mallard and pintail call both bringing the majestic bird into the decoys. First pass was ok but I knew I could do better. Second pass it came right at us with wings cupped and feet down but flared to my side. "No no no" I called off the shot because I knew I was getting this one all the way in. I looked at Matt and the look on his face was priceless. His eyes were fixated on this bird as it kept circling around. His eyes were that of a 2 year old that you just handed a big bowl of candy and told, "go ahead and eat it all." It brought a smile to my face and determination to my calling. Not too much but not to little. I watched each movement of the bird as I called making sure he was committed. On the 3rd pass it was like something out of a video. Feet down and wings cupped, my blood pumped for Matts sure kill shot on his first pintail. I yelled take'm! 3 shots rang out and he flew away! I reached for my gun but by the time I got a shot off it was too late.
We sat in awe of the recent event. Apparently Matt in not ment to have the bull. Both being frustrated we missed a few birds after that but ended with 7 on sat with a couple of cripples. We should have had our limit, but thats why its a sport. The worst part of the whole story is that Matt had one other chance this year also and came up empty. Its just one of those things that you try so hard you over try. I know the day will come when he gets one. I just hope I can be the one to call it in for him. And if anything else maybe his daughter will shoot one before he does{:>) and I can be there for that too!
Sundays review will come tomorrow with a review of my experimental decoy. It is getting late but the cold temps are definitly here. We are expecting 12" of snow tomorrow and temps well below zero on Thursday and Friday. Alot of geese are moving south with the rest of the birds, I just hope there is some black foots left in a couple of weeks for the official last hunt.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Montana Hunting Report

Well we've been praying for a cold front and we got one. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. -15 with the wind chill on Saturday. The cold temps moved a bunch of birds down from Alberta late last week. I hunted the Missouri river on Saturday morning just south of Great Falls and there were tremendous numbers of ducks and geese. Due to near white out conditions it took me twice as long to drive the 60 miles to the boat launch as it normally does. I jumped about 1000 mallards and 500 honkers on my way into the back water slough I hunt. Once I got set up the shooting was fast and furious for both ducks and geese. See the attached picture for results. I also attached a picture of my waders. You know it's cold when your waders stand up on their own after taking them off. LOL.

The latest forecast has temps well below zero for most of the coming week. Wind chill numbers will be dropping as low as -40 in places. As long as some of our rivers and spring creeks stay open we should be OK. We don't have a lot of snow on the ground so most of the grain fields should stay open to feeding birds moving south. I spoke with a good friend this afternoon and he did well hunting a spring creek in the southern part of the state this weekend. He also reported good numbers of birds available if you could find open water and were willing to bare the cold temps. I have also been hearing about good numbers of ducks holding on the Bighorn river in eastern Montana. In addition tremendous numbers of geese can usually be found anywhere along the Yellowstone river corridor this time of year. The trick is getting permission to hunt one of the many grain fields that border both sides of the river. This is much easier to do now that deer season is over. An afternoon spent scouting and knocking on doors usually pays big dividends.

Good hunting and be safe, Mark

The WI season is now over

Had the great opportunity to squeeze in one more weekend with the southern WI zone closing tonight. I got a 2-3 degree sprain on my left ankle Friday morning but tape and Advil and determination made the weekend bearable. now at home my ankle has blown up like a balloon and is all purple. I need ice and sleep so check back this Mon or Tues for the full report of the hunt and the stories we will never forget. By the way the "black foots" are majorly on the move. Between the morning hunt and the drive home I saw about 5-6 thousand flying south today alone.