Saturday, January 9, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Still in a deep freeze! We have lost all our lakes to ice with the exception of the Great Lakes. Most of the rivers are starting to freeze shut as well. The Fennville Unit is still holding good numbers of Geese & Ducks. Ducks are closed for the season as of 01/03/2010. Geese will remain open until the end of January. The Fennville Unit is loosing Geese by the week, with all the cold weather. We haven't had a day over 28 degrees for almost a month now. We have lost 3,600 geese in the last week. Our birds are having a tough time with all the snow on the ground. We currently have a snow base of 16 inches. We shot some geese this afternoon, they are putting the feed bag on pretty hard right now. The birds killed today had crops packed full of corn. Good news is next week is looking to be in the mid 30's. We are going to need it if we want to hold on to what birds are left. Just a little tip to the guys south of Michigan, these birds coming down have been hunted real hard up here. Try cluck moan, single clucks, double cluck one call while the others growl. If you get on these birds hard they will blow your spread.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
We are seeing some good numbers of blue bills and redheads coming down the east coast, and plenty of teal are here. Shovelers are everywhere (not that I like or want to shoot them) and they do make a nice mount. We're still getting some pintails and widgeon as well.
Hoping this last push brings down more gaddies, green wings and the rest of the puddlers that seem to be short stopping to our north.
This weekend met with cold clear skies and a stiff northerly breeze that kept the birds in the air for the better part of the mornings. Myself, Pro Staffer Andy Dennison and a few friends managed mixed bag limits both Saturday and Sunday of blue winged teal, mottled ducks (Florida Mallard), black bellied whislters, ringnecks, and fulvous duck.
Lots more duck hunting to come in the final 4 weeks. We'll keep you posted. Until next time, may you catch 'em with their feet down and shoot em in the lips boys!
Monday, January 4, 2010
I set out into the cold and snow determined to find a combo that would work in my gun and prove that certain shells I was using sucked. I have a Benelli M1 with a pattern master extended range choke. My shells I used for my test are Winchester Xpert BB, Hevi Shot heavy metal #2 and B, Federal speed shock #4 and Federal field load 2 3/4 shell with 7 1/2 shot.
I started with the Winchester because I used this for a couple of season and part of this season and always felt frustrated using it. I either missed birds that I should have hit or had cripples when the should have been clean kills. I first patterned at 30 yds and wow! The shot pattern dropped about 10 inches from center. I used a tripod stand to help with accuracy so I know I didn't drop the gun when I shot. Not only did the shot drop but it was not consistant at all from shot to shot with some shots having huge holes in the middle! 40yds was even worse with about a 12in-14in drop and just as bad with consistency.
Next I shot the Federal speed shock. I used it opening weekend with good success but at #4 shot that was about the extent. The pattern stayed nice and tight at 30 and 40yds. It had a little drop at center, about 6 inches, but very consistent in pattern.
I shot the field load to see how much of a difference there would be, and mostly to see my pattern so when I'm shooting clays I would know how it lined up. All and all really good. Tight grouping at 30 and 40yds with little to no drop at all.
Next up was the famed Hevi Shot. I switched to Hevi shot at the end of the season after missing one to many birds. I knew that if I could shoot 24 out of 25 on trap and skeet that it had to be more than me misssing the birds. When I made the switch I did have more one shot kills and my pattern would soon show why. I first shot the #2 at 30yds. Holy hell! I have never seen a pattern so tight and centered ever. I shot 3 more at 30yds and you could have laid the cardboard targets on top of each other and not known the difference. I had the same result at 40yds and couldn't have been more impressed. I then shot the Hevi shot B. I had a great pattern at 30yds but at 40yds I had about a 4 inch drop. Still a very consistent pattern, and I guess at 40yds with a heavy shot like B some drop is expected.
The shells I used in this test were shells I had in my locker here at the shop. None of these were given to me by any company and the test was based on my personal ammo choice, and what I had left over. To this point I would say test your shots of choice for yourself, but as for me, spending the money is worth more kills. You can shoot 3 times at a bird with shells that cost 50 cents a piece, or 1 time with a shell that costs 1 dollar. You do the math.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Jim Grove NY Prostaff
How do you avoid your crippled and "winged" birds? Frist off, learn your guns effective range.
by David Rose
To a serious duck hunter there is nothing worse than shooting a duck, mortally wounding it, and then watching it continue to fly or swim beyond the reach of foot or dog.
You know you hit it, it staggered, and shuddered and peeled off from the flock. But its wings kept beating, carrying it on a long drooping trajectory, out of sight. It will die alone, often at the mercy of a coyote, raccoon, or a predatory bird.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 25 percent of the ducks and geese shot by hunters are never retrieved. That amounts to 3 million birds annually in North America! Its a disgrace and a very real threat to the future of our sport. Indeed, hunting opponents in Australia were able to use similar wounding statistics to outlaw duck hunting in two provinces there.
In recent years, a number of fish and game agencies have created programs to help waterfowlers to become better, more careful shots. Many now offer clinics put on by the Cooperative North American Shotgunning Education Program, a non-profit group that teaches effective scientifically based techniques for improving shooting performance.
Their clinics emphasize:
- Patterning your shotgun
- Using shells and chokes appropriate for the birds and conditions
- Determining your guns most effective range
- Practicing with clay targets to judge speeds and distances
- Improving your ability to estimate range
- Carrying "spatter" shells to finish off crippled birds
When it comes to estimating range, the average waterfowler is no expert. Most hunters will shoot at ducks that are twice as far away as the effective range, and at geese that are three times the distance.
Fortunately, hunters can take steps that will make them much better judges of distance.
And they are all free!
TECHNOLOGY ISN'T THE ANSWER! Improper estimation of distance is hardly a new problem.
In his Arms and Ammunitions Manual, Jack O'Connor had this to say; "Judgement of distance is exceedingly difficult, particularly for an excited man whose heart is full of hope. The same man who will shoot at a flock of ducks 100 yards away -- or fully 40 yards beyond the most hopeful range of his gun -- will nevertheless swear that he has killed a duck at 80 yards when actually it was about 50."
....For the rest of the article head to http://www.gameandfishmag.com/hunting/ducks-geese-hunting/RA_1208_02/#cont its well worth the time to read.
I hope it helps you as much as its helped me through the rough shootin times. Good luck out there.Jared Danke, WI