Oct 18, 2010

CT waterfowl Opener report

This past Friday was the early season waterfowl opener here in CT and seeing the first season is only open for 10 days in the north zone we had to get out no matter what the weather had in store for us.  Thursday evening Busch Pilot, myself and my daughter took a quick scouting trip to a puddle we decided would be our opening day spot and we watched the ducks pour into our puddle as dusk set in.  As we were heading back to the truck with smiles on our faces there was no chance this Nor'easter was going to keep us from setting up on this puddle for the opener.  It was a sleepless night for me and not because of the thoughts of all those ducks but it was the pouring rain and high winds pounding the outside of the house that kept me up.  It was an early wake up and off to meet Busch Pilot where we would load up the pickle with all our gear and head out in the pouring rain and steady 20mph winds.  With the ducks already in the puddle we were doing our best to keep the noise down to a minimum but when you are pulling a canoe loaded with decoys, guns, paddles, vests and other miscellaneous gear down a railroad bed with no lights, it's hard to be quiet and it wasn't long before the ducks started stirring and doing a little quacking.

A view from the blind between the rain drops

We got the pickle in the water and paddled out to an island that would host our blind setup this morning and set out our decoys.  When legal shooting time arrive the weather made it impossible to ID the ducks so we waited for more light. The weather didn't keep the ducks down as we had some woodies buzzing the puddle with a some landing amongst the other ducks. It wasn't easy to keep still knowing we had ducks out in front of us just loafing on the water, but we did our best.  25 minutes into legal shooting with all those ducks still on the water 4 wood ducks buzzed our setup and made a circle around the pond and then locked up and setup for a landing and as they did I got so excited and forgot about the 20+ ducks already on the pond and called the shot only to miss.  With the first shot fired the pond exploded with ducks trying to get out and they were successful as they flew out on the only side we didn't have a open shot.  I was NOT happy with myself  but it sure was a site to see.   We got calmed back down and the birds started working back in.  We had a pair of Mallards land about 20 yards out and as they landed BP called the shot and up they went and down went a beautiful hen mallard while the drake escaped unscathed.  About 15 minutes later 2 more mallards came in and landed at the back of the puddle where they loafed around for 15 minutes before heading out and offering up a shot that I promptly missed but ol' Busch Pilot was there to back me up and drop another hen mallard.  By 8am the ducks seemed to stop moving and the weather had really picked up with some serious guests as well.   It was 9am before we had another flight of ducks look over the puddle but they never committed.    We packed it up at 10am and headed back to the truck to get dry and warm.   Although I shot terrible and we only had 2 mallard hens to show for our morning setup, we learned a ton this morning and in only our second season of duck hunting we still have plenty or learning to do.  I had other commitments for the afternoon so I wasn't able to get out but Bush Pilot and Bubba headed out and put 3 wood ducks and 2 geese on the table which was a treat.

Busch Pilot with his opening morning Mallard hens
Saturday's forecast was clouds and high winds but no rain so we decided to hit the fields for a goose hunt for the last day of early goose.  We got the fields at 5:45am and checked in with the landowner who was already getting ready to work the farm to make sure we wouldn't be in his way and then out to the field to setup.  The decoys were in place and we were all snuggled up in the brush and started the tedious wait for the first flight of geese.  About 7:20am we could hear the sounds of gees in the air and heading our way.  It didn't take long before we got a flock of ten geese to commit to our decoys and as they were cupped and locked in Busch Pilot called the shot and I dropped a goose with my first shot as did Busch Pilot.  I was so excited that I finally connected that I forgot to shoot again but Busch pilot didn't and dropped a second one.  I heard him say "my two are down, I'm done." as he ejected the spent shell and by then the geese were out of my range for a second shot.  The daily bag limit for geese in our zone is 2 per person so I figured we would be eating breakfast by 8:30am but it just wasn't so.  We continued to work birds all morning but we just couldn't get them to commit to joining us.  The wind had really picked up with some serious gusts and it was enough to keep the birds up in the air giving them a good look at the spread and they just wouldn't finish.  At 10am I called it and went for the truck.  As we were picking up 4 more flocks came in they looked like they wanted in but the gun was already packed in the truck as I watched them land in an adjoining field.  We had to see at least 800 geese in 3 hours with only 3 geese to show for our efforts.  It doesn't matter because it was still a great morning and we learned a lot.  I got plenty of practice with my goose call and redeemed my self with my shooting so it was a plus in my book.

The Farm

BP showing his support for my quest

One bird short of a limit

Saturday afternoon I was on my own so I decided to hit the puddles for some ducks and while doing so I ran into another hunter out solo doing the same thing I was.  We stopped and chatted for a bit and decided to setup and hunt together.  Nick has only been in CT for a few years  but has many years experience hunting and his passion was waterfowl.  We setup in some brush on the edge of some water and while waiting for the ducks to fly we chatted away about hunting, fishing and family.  We did see some ducks but it was after legal light as we were heading back to the trucks.  It was nice to meet someone new that shares the passion for the outdoors.  Thanks for sharing Nick.


  1. Congrats on the success!! Looks to me like y'all will get the hang of it. My early opener here in Iowa yielded my limit of 3 wood ducks. It was a pretty good afternoon.

    thanks for sharing your story. It's nice to see other outdoor blogs out there with duck hunters on them!

  2. Funny you should mention ducks flying every where after you let one loose. Last Jan. we were hunting Old Squaw and after a few shots the whole harbor started flying, it was like we smashed a hive of Killer Bees.

  3. I don't hunt waterfowl, but sure use a lot of their feathers.

    I also believe a longer season, or higher bag limits on Canada geese is needed.

  4. sounds like a great weekend!

  5. Thanks for the comments. I had to edit my post to included my daughter in the Thursday scouting trip. She was NOT very happy that I left her out. :)