Saturday, January 9, 2010

Avery( Daryn's Pup) Just hangin & stayin dry!!

Well it has been a while since I posted and we have had some decent hunts and some not so great hunts. Of course the not so great hunts are all still better than not getting out at all. The weather is perfect but it seem the birds are hard to come by. Went today with temps in the teens and blowing snow only seen 6 ducks total but did get a nice drake mallardxblack cross and it was great. Last week a friend and I went hunting on a pond. I got my limit of mallard and he got 2 mallards but one of his was banded with a Jack Miner band. It has been slow around here but we are still having a great season anyway with trophy birds and awsome hunts.
Earl England,
Tn Prostaff.

Friday, January 8, 2010

video layout slowly forming

Well boys and girls the video layout is slowly coming together even with my computer crapping out on me yet again! Ha I think I got the people together too edit a couple to film and even someone working on the audio end! Soon all I'm going to need is more footage were trying to take this video in a direction we haven't seen yet ( were just not a 100% what that is) so any input would help and soon ill need some more footage since this will be a duck junkies themed video ill keep everyone up to date and any input would be great

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Michigan Waterfowl (LP)

Here are some pictures form this afternoon. These really don't do the Fennville Unit justice, but at least you will have some kind of idea. You really need to see this magical place for yourself to grasp the magnitude of the Farm.

Michigan Waterfowl (LP)

01/07/2010 Fennville Unit Geese 16,000 Ducks 6000 Mallards Only

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

Central Illinois Recap

December 23rd marked the end of the Illinois central zone duck season. Many reported this as being one of the worst seasons in a decade! Even the top clubs had few ducks up until the last freeze at the end of the season. From the start of the season, the conditions were less than ideal. Warm weather, then excessive flooding of food sources, and more flooding lead to high water, which allowed some ducks to get out of harms way. Late in the season, ice ended hunting in shallower water areas.

Generally, duck numbers were lower in the Illinois River Valley. The average ducks per hunter was down at most locations. All I can say is, better duck next year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sunshine State Birds

Finally, after weeks of cold up north and numerous snow storms, the ducks are finally starting to make their way into Florida. We're seeing new arrivals daily but the action is still very spotty. The inability of farmers to the north to get their crops out of the ground combined with the snow storms has left plenty of available food for the birds; making their usual migration unwarranted.

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

Bitter Bitter Cold Shotgunning

This past weekend I went to my moms cabin in NW Wisconsin. Our plan was to snowmobile and exchange gifts but the cold would tell us differently. I did make it out on the sled for about 60 miles on Friday afternoon with temps around zero, but Saturday it was -26deg when I woke up! So instead I decided to pattern my shotgun. As in Jared's article, I did have a few cripples this year that I know I was right on. For me a cripple almost ruins a hunt. What I was about to find out in patterning would tell me why I was right!
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

NY Late Season

Well the big flocks are moving south over Naples Ny. Went over to Bass Pro in Aurburn and there had to have been 10,000 geese on Seneca Lake. Killed a few geese and a couple ducks in the cornfields south of Canandaguia Lake, spent the whole day in the field yesterday saw tons of geese and had a good time. The mallards have started to land in the corn to feed so gonna gun for them. Headed down to pound some geese in NJ Wednesday should be awesome, let you guys know how I make out.

Jim Grove NY Prostaff

Killing Zone

I myself have read this article multiple times, whenever the shots are a lil off for my liking. And it has helped me "get back into the swing of things" as some would say. Its an article from Game And Fish Magazine. Read for yourself.

'Killing Zone'

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 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