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Why would any normally sane individual be up and out at 4 a.m.?
Well, nobody said, or made claim, that waterfowlers were in any way sane! So, being up at 4 a.m. this time of year is, for us, normal.
Our 4 a.m. last Thursday started with breakfast in the shop, in lieu of the duck blind. Course, as soon as we finished it was off to the blind, which is "just down the road a ways."
Jason and C.C. had done some chainsaw work around the blind so we were "almost" in good shape. After training a few vines and small limbs we were able to get the doors down and waited for the ducks.
Unfortunately, breakfast was the high point of the hunt, with only one bufflehead coming in all morning, and it was way too far out to shoot!
Even without birds the conversation in a blind can be intense. We not only solved most of the world's problems but also talked "duck."
We discussed the absence of the cranes that are a precursor to the Canada goose migration, at least that's what we've heard. These are the Sandhill Cranes that make a kind of "trilling" sound. Anyway, they usually come through, then a couple of weeks later the Canada goose start south.
With the number of resident geese the migration might not really be noticed. Actually, in this area, most of our waterfowling action will likely be resident birds.
The way to find where the birds are is to get up early, find a high observation post and watch for movement with a good pair of binoculars. Where they come from is where they're roosting. Where they're headed is where they feed. What you want to do is get permission to hunt where they're feeding, or as close as you can get.
Around here, the ducks will generally be feeding in bean or cornfields. You can't put down either to attract birds, but you can take advantage of the spillage/waste that's part of the harvest.
Geese will feed in the same fields but usually come to a field later than the ducks. They'll feed, leave, then come back later in the day!
The season's structure is different this year than in the past. Our first duck season ran Nov. 22-25. It then closes, re-opening on Dec. 3 and running thru Jan. 27, 2013. Canada geese opened Nov. 22 and stays in till Jan. 31, 2013. (No break this season).
So this season we have more opportunities than ever before in our waterfowling!
Just remember, we're not in a flyway so don't expect a lot of birds. We'll have some birds on the fringe of the flyway and, of course, our resident birds.
We may not have much but with work, decent contacts and a lot of scouting we should do OK.
I did hear of one group hunting wood ducks over in Taylor County. Said there were 300 or so in their "spot."
Deer season for center fire (big guns) is over but there is plenty of deer season left. With archery equipment you can hunt right on thru till Jan. 21, 2013. You can hunt with a crossbow until Dec. 31 and there's another muzzleloader season Dec. 8-16.
Our next Youth Season is Dec. 29-30.
So ya see, it's far from over!
Guess that's it for now. Get out, enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer, stay safe and I'll see ya next week!