Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ducking Rockies Style

This past weekend I was able to sneak away for two days of duck hunting in N.E. Colorado near Hillrose. The weather conditions were lining up for a perfect hunt on Saturday. As I was packing the rig for the hunt at 3:30am, I was surprised to see a 250lbs black bear in my neighbors yard. It was either a great sign or extremely ominous. Picture is tough to see, but trust me, it was there (to the left of light).

I had two of my students from our hunting club along and we arrived at the DOW state land at 5:45am. The temperature was 29 degrees with a SE wind, not ideal for our location. I got us signed into to our Youth Mentor pond, got our gear together and we started the fifteen minute hike back to our pond. After arriving at the pond I had Jaron and Eddie get some cover together while I set out our spread of 40 floaters and 2 Mojos. After we had the decoys set and the sun started to rise, hundreds of mallards filled the air around us.

As usual the boys were set up in the preferred shooting holes. I went over the rules for the hunt and got the boys settled in. Immediately at shooting time we had birds working the spread. The first flock settled into the wind and I called the shot. Jaron and Eddie each took three shots and one drake dropped, as the birds tried to execute their exit I was able to drop a drake gaddy. This pattern repeated itself with regularity as the morning went on. The next bird to meet it's maker was a bluewing teal that ran the gauntlet of three other ponds before banking right in front of Jaron, and with two shots he had his first ever duck in the bag. The wind eventually shifted to the East we were forced to adjust the spread and our blind locations.

Because of the land being closed for deer season the weekend before there were ducks constantly working our pond, which made the hunt perfect for the boys who had never been on a duck hunt before. They were throwing a lot of steel into the sky and birds continued to pile up. By 8:30am we had 2 drake mallards, 2 hen mallards, 1 bwt, 1 gady, and 1 shoveler. I was telling the the boys that the late morning flight should be pretty good based on the early action we'd had. I had no idea how right I would be....

Right around 9:30am flocks of 15-30 ducks started to enter the property and began working the spread. The first flock to settle over the decoys left with three fewer ducks in the group, 1 drake, 1 wigeon, and 1 hen pintail down. Unfortunately Yogi was freezing cold at this point, so I was left to do the dirty work all with a sizable hole in the my waders. Each time I made it back to the blind I'd immediately get on the RNT because more birds were already working. By 10:15am we had 14 birds down, which included 1 hen lost to the tall grass on the other side of the pond. Before we even knew what happened there were three hundred or so birds, in five different flocks circling the decoys. They all wanted into our hole so I decided to let the boys enjoy the show and we held off on shooting for a bit. As singles and doubles began splashing down into our spread I finally called the shot, as the boy's trigger fingers were getting antsy. I dropped two drakes and each of the boys dropped their last birds of the day; a drake and hen.

In total we ended with 7 drake mallies, 6 hens (1 lost), 1 bwt, 1 shoveler, 1 gadwall, 1 wigeon, and 1 pintail. It was one of my best days in CO and surely a day the boys will not forget for a very long time!

Sunday I had to hunt solo on the pond north of Saturday's actions after two guys slept through their alarms and missed the wake up call. I had a completely different situation on my hands. I set up thirty floaters and two mojos. Since I was by myself I set up in the middle of the pond and set up my ambush site in some waist high grass, and it proved to be a great decision. There was not much of a early morning flight to speak of. I scratched out a drake, a shoveler, and a bwt by 7:40am. At that point any kind of flight shut down and the sky was void of ducks.For the remainder of the day only two more ducks flew into my decoys but neither of them left. I ended the day with five birds on seven shots. It was a great first weekend for me and I will be back the second weekend of November to get after them again.

No comments: