Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2011 MN Duck Opener....Just OK

The 2011 Minnesota Duck Season kicked off last weekend. Before Logan and I headed out to our property in Western MN I took in a morning of bow hunting. I had a nice cool morning with a temp of 37 degrees and a light 5-8 mph northwest wind. Since I hunted my core area the previous weekend I decided to hunt a new stand I set this summer. The stand sits about 60 yards south of a huge cattail marsh with thick bedding cover to my east. Other than a doe at first light my morning was very uneventful. The high note of my morning hunt was pulling my trail cameras and finding a huge 10 point was roaming the farm. This is a deer I haven't seen before. Below are 2 pictures of the big fella.

Opening morning Logan and I decided to setup in the field we had hunted during the early goose a few weeks ago. We had a temp around 42 degrees and a 10-15 mph south wind. Right before legal shooting time we had a flock of 6 mallards set into the decoys. The hunt went straight downhill from there. All we could muster into the spread over the next hour was a single goose that I called in from way up in the air. The goose took 3 full circles of the spread before finally putting down his landing gear and giving my a 5 yard shot.
With no ducks working the field Logan and I hustled down to Logan's Honey Hole with Oshie around 8 AM. Within seconds of getting set up we had a bluewing teal in the bag. Oshie also made her first official water retrieve on a duck.
The duck movement was really slow for an opener. We ended up killing 1 bluewing, 1 greenwing, and 2 drake mallards before calling it a day at 11:15 AM. I should have scratched a limit but I struggled shooting from the boat.....School Boy! I Also think the high water is starting to effect the puddle duck numbers in our area.

Sunday morning found Logan and I back in Logan's Honey Hole. We hunted with Joe Salato in the A.M. and had clear skies, temps in the low 50's and a light south breeze. Once again the duck movement was very slow. I killed a drake mallard the first minute of legal shooting time and we got to watch Oshie chase down her first wounded bird. After that things slowed right down. We ended the morning with 1 goose, 2 drake wood ducks, 3 drake mallards, 1 bluewing, and 1 greenwing teal. Not the greatest of openers but still a fun weekend. We will be back next weekend to see if things pick up!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On the Board Early - MN 2011 Season

The 2011 Minnesota deer season opened up on Saturday morning with perfect conditions. The temp was in the upper 40's, cloudy skies and a southwest wind at 10-15 mph. I started the season in my Money Set like I do every year if the wind is right for the set. A SW wind can be a little suspect if the wind swirls, but I decided to chance it because of all the acorns dropping back in the timber.

I made it to my set 30 minutes prior to legal shooting time. I did jump one deer from it's bed about 15 yards from my set, but it only ran 15 yards then walked off without much commotion. 20 minutes into the season I heard foot steps approaching. Seconds later a doe popped out of the understory directly in front of me. She angled right towards my set and offered me a quartering away shot at 14 yards; arrow #1 of the 2011 was touched off. The arrow hit home entering just in front of her back ribs and angling up through the heart and exited the opposite side. The nanny ran right down an open trail and dropped dead about 50 yards from the shot. The 2011 Minnesota archery season was off to a great start!

Throughout the remainder of the sit I had 5 separate bucks come with in 25 yards of my stand. One of them was a pretty nice 2 1/2 year old 8pnt. that really had me thinking about punching my buck tag. I talked myself into holding off because of the trail camera picks I have of more mature bucks on the farm. A great morning sit! Below are pics of the two bucks I plan to hold out for until later in the year.

Saturday evening I wasn't able to hunt any of the sets I have been getting the good pics from because of a SE wind, so I sat over looking the inner bean field. Nothing came by my set but I did watch a nice 2 1/2yr old 8pnt. get bullied around by a 130" 8pnt. Both deer exited the field directly under one of my other stands that I couldn't sit because of the wind. Either way it was a great opening day. I have fresh venison in the freezer, and got to watch 7 different bucks. Below is a view from my Saturday evening set.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2011 MN Goose Opener

Logan and I arrived at the shack around 8:00 PM on Friday evening in anticipation of the 2011 early MN goose season. This was also the official start of my hunting season. We arrived in just enough time to watch hundreds of wood ducks, teal and mallards buzz the top of our cabin on the way to their evening roost. A great way to start the weekend.

We woke at 4:30 AM on saturday morning and met up with Joe Salato of Wingwaver Decoys and his daughter Sierra. We set the decoys on the top of a small hill that sits between a small lake (north slough) and a small pond (Logan's Honey Hole). Our spread of 3 dozen flocked big foot decoys and 1 General Wingwaver decoy looked great in the cut wheat field. Minutes after the decoys had been set the wood ducks began to buzz the decoys. This took place all morning long. We must have honestly had 300 to 400 hundred wood duck in the decoys or buzz the decoys through out the morning. It was a fun way to pass the time between goose flights.
The temp was about 50 degrees at sunrise with a light west wind and some light drizzle off and on. The first groups of geese started flying early in the AM. We had our first pair work the spread about 30 minutes after legal shooting time. The birds locked up but landed on the far left side of the decoys. I made a kill shot on the closest bird just as his feet touched the field. The 2nd bird flew off at a sharp angle and I wasn't able to bring him down.
After that we saw flock after flock of geese working the far east end of our field and not pay any attention to our calling our spread. It wasn't helping matters that the wind picked up to almost 30 mph and switched to the north. Joe and I adjusted the spread for the wind change and quickly pulled in two separate singles. Both of which ended up in the bag. We called the hunt at 11 AM and headed in for lunch and a little dove hunting.

Logan, Oshie and I went southwest of the cabin a couple miles and found some doves working between some telephone wires and a picked wheat field. We set up in the ditch and waited. Minutes later I made a nice little 30 yard shot on a dove and dropped it into some thick grass. We walked down to the location the bird fell and seconds later Oshie came out of the thick grass with the dove in her mouth. Her first official retrieve and it was a bird we would have never found with out her. That was the only dove of the weekend.

We picked up our spread and moved it to the far east end of our field so it was closer to the flight pattern the geese where using in the AM. Joe added another single to our bag and that was it for the afternoon shoot. The move did put us in the birds flight path but they all wanted to roost on water. Things where looking up for the AM. We ended the day with 4 geese, 1 dove and a pigeon.

Sunday morning found us with temps in the low 40's and a northwest wind at 10-15. It truly felt like fall. We got into our blinds shortly before legal shooting time and minutes later our first single of the day came into the spread. I made an easy 10 yard shot on him just as he went to set his feet on the field. Minutes later another single made the same mistake with the only difference being Joe taking shot. Ten minutes later and Joe called another single into my side of the spread, with one shot we had three geese in the bag in the first 20 minutes of the day. Logan also put the finishing shot on the 3rd goose with his single shot 20 gauge.

Things slowed down until about 8:30 when the switch got thrown and the air filled with geese. We called in another single and Joe quickly dispatched of him with a nice little 20 yard chip shot. Minutes later we had a flock of 9 geese locked up and gliding into the spread. A five shot volley had 2 geese down on my side and one on Joe's side. As Logan scrambled to retrieve the geese Joe called in another pair. Joe and I knocked the pair down with Logan taking cover outside of his blind. With that my day was done and Joe needed 1 more bird for our 10 bird limit....and we wouldn't have to wait very long. Joe called in a single and missed after his gun got caught coming out of his blind. It didn't matter as literally 5 minutes later another goose was locked up with his feet down looking for a place to land in our spread. Joe put The 10th goose of the day on the field and Logan finished it off with a head shot from his 20 gauge. A great hunt and a perfect start to the 2011 hunting season.