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 Post subject: Re: Best Bird Hunts and locations
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 1160
Location: Central Minnesnowta
My favorite of all is small water duck hunting in the Midwest. This ranges from prairie potholes to drainage ditches to streams, rivers, beaver ponds and temporarily flooded timber and fields (God willing with a wet fall and water up into Grandpa's oak trees). I define it as any duck hunt that requires either no boat or a canoe with little paddling, and can be done with few or no decoys.

Typically fast and close shooting on teal, wood ducks and sometimes mallards and misc. either at a point they naturally land or repeatedly pass through, or stalking and jump shooting. Sometimes comes with bonus opportunities for a pheasant or grouse on the walk in/out. Makes for some extremely challenging wingshooting at all shot angles, requires precise use of cover, strategically chosen "pinch points," keen observation of flight patterns, knowledge of food, flights and habits, and a high level of gun and dog handling. Also generally involves a brisk hike or strenuous push through cattails in the dark. What's not to love? I enjoy hunting big water for late season diver flights too, but the logistics of decoy management take a lot of the pleasure away from freezing my posterior off in a boat tucked into the reeds with whitecaps and ice chunks splashing over the gunnels. I do have a couple of spots that are natural "last water" in my area that don't require the spread, but weather and work have not cooperated lately.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Bird Hunts and locations
PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:06 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:15 pm
Posts: 980
Location: Parker,Tx
Killed my first mallard drake with a .410 in Gueydan, La at 7 years old.
That was 1969.
Since then I've been an avid waterfowler.
Mallards in flooded timber or a willow break on a bright sunny day, man that used to be the icing on top of the cake.
Until hunting them in dry fields in Missouri where I deer hunt.
Nothing like having 2000 birds trying to land in your spread all at once.
Big flocks of Canada geese in a dry field are another favorite.

Sandhills in the Texas panhandle are another hoot.
We decoy them and shoot them usually within 25 yards.

I've hunted quail and pheasants in Kansas.
Enjoy the change of pace and the change of scenery.

My all time favorite though is a dove field when it's 100 degrees and you can't keep your shotgun loaded.
Definitely the most challenging wingshooting in this part of the country.
Argentina is on the bucket list.

Most aggravating bird to hunt, beyond a doubt, snow geese.
We affectionately call them White Devils.
On their return migration to the tundra, after being shot at from the prairies of Canada all the way to Mexico and then heading back north to breed they are the wariest of all waterfowl.
Spring conservation order finds us chasing them from Texas, through Oklahoma and then into Mo.
And the 12 bores generally get left at home, replaced with a 10 gauge. Loaded with Hevi-Shot #2s.
First couple of hunts chasing them we killed a few birds and froze our rear ends off.
Lying on the ground amongst 500-1000 Texas rag decoys, wearing white parkas to blend in on a day that it was about Zero degrees and the wind was blowing about 20 mph down the back of my neck made me wonder if I'd lost my sanity.
They'd get within about 100 yards of the decoys and flare.
Always in flocks of 200- 1000 birds, they'd see something and bug out.

Then one day we were on the "X"
Laying on a little finger of dry dirt in the lowest end a flooded corn stubble field in a slight drizzle.
A mixed spread of floaters and Texas rags on the berm packed tightly around us.
Three of us killed 92 birds that morning (there's no limit during conservation order) in about 2 hours.
After that, I was hooked.

One of these days, I'll make the trip to the big prairies up north in October.
I have a bone to pick with the White Devils.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Bird Hunts and locations
PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:17 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 1160
Location: Central Minnesnowta
HTduck, I hear you on the white devils. I usually take a trip up to ND with a few buddies about every other year for snows. Early thaws and work have kept me home the last 2 years.

Sometimes we shoot ourselves out of shells, sometimes we run out of gas money first, just trying to find the right place to set up. Think we went from Minot to Devil's Lake and back on gravel roads twice one year before we put the first bird down. Then I went back to work and had a flock of probably 5000 birds come down right in the field we were drilling alongside the next week. Made me think I should have been wearing a hi-vis pipeline coat instead of snow camo when I was hunting. Surely didn't seem wary of us and our equipment. Sure is fun when you're on the X though.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Bird Hunts and locations
PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:45 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:15 pm
Posts: 980
Location: Parker,Tx
We've heard rumors that when they get back to NoDak they seem to get plumb stupid.
A buddy of ours went up there a few years back and shot thirty 25 round boxes of Hevi Shot in a day.
He had to drive a couple hundred miles to find enough steel shot to hunt to hunt the next two days.

I hear ya on the bright colored clothes too.
We have to wear orange to deer hunt with firearms in Mo and the squirrels pay us no mind.
Go hunt squirrels in camo and they pick you off in an instant.
Last time we went squirrel hunting up there we wore orange and they acted like we were invisible.....
Made for a fine sauce piquante that evening at camp.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Bird Hunts and locations
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:22 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 1160
Location: Central Minnesnowta
ND, they often get stalled by the weather so they bunch up quite a bit. If you can find them in a place where you can set up, they do get habitualized to certain fields, especially sunflower and rapeseed. Can seem a little stupid, but still a lot of pairs of eyes to spot you. Think there's also more competition for food from Canadas and mallards, so if you find a really good food source they might key on it a bit easier. Hunting pressure thins out some too, ND scares people and you southern boys are out of ammo and gas by the time they get here. Big country though, so be prepared to cover lots of miles.

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