Mar 8, 2014

Saskatchewan Waterfowl Hunt 2013 - Day 3

We thought it was tough getting to sleep after our first full day of hunting, but last night after an amazing snow goose hunt it was even more difficult.  The sound of snow geese filled my head all night long and made for a restless night which isn't good considering we had another 4am walk up call this morning.

Morning Goose and Duck Hunt October 16

Sunrise from the blind

We did something this morning that our outfitter Jeff from Living Sky Outfitters in Bladworth Saskatchewan doesn't like to do unless his scouting tells him to and that is hunt the same field twice in a week.   The soybean field we were headed to during another dark morning ride was the same field we hunted on our first evening duck hunt.  I wasn't that worried about hunting the same spot again, especially after seeing the amount of time, effort and work Jeff, Trevor and his crew puts into scouting.  I knew we'd have a good morning.  Unlike our first night were we had to target ducks, the original game plan was to target large flocks of geese that were using the field the morning before.   It's difficult enough driving these dirty gravel roads in the middle of nowhere in the dark, but our guide Billy had to be on his game as large cow moose stepped out in front of the old brown suburban towing a 17 foot trailer.  It was a good thing Billy was bright eyed and all in because there was a very nice bull moose following the cow.  Cool visual, but a little scary!

You can tell after two days we were in a groove as no one had to say a word, we got out and started the task of unloading the trailer, setting up the A-frame blind and laying out 6 dozen full body goose and duck decoys along with a Mojo or two.  It didn't take us long to get the spread setup, the suburban and trailer parked and all settled in to the blind to enjoy the first cracks of daylight.   My favorite time in the woods, blind or on the water is just as the sun starts to show itself and the wild starts to wake up.  The air seems to change, the sounds get louder and the anticipation grows.  Love it.

The day started out with a good wind, cold in the 20s and an early flight of 4 mallards that dropped in to the spread only to leave unscathed which was mostly by choice even though bubba did let one fly only to miss.  We could hear the snows getting vocal on the roost in the distance as 4 more mallards hooked into the spread.  These four weren't so lucky and they quickly became staying ducks.  The next group of visitors were two dozen Canadian Geese that were low and on a string right to the spread and we knocked a few of them down as well.

That's me
It wasn't long after that till we were covered up in geese and I mean covered up.  Sitting there watching  hundreds of geese working the spread and tolling in making for calling the shot a certain challenge, especially when we had geese on the ground in the spread.  You almost get caught up in the spectacle of it all and forget you still need to make the call to shoot.  Well our guide made the right call and I was fortunate enough to shoot a triple with my Browning BPS pump gun which was a first to me.  I was so damn excited I had to edit out some language in the video.  It truly was a show as they spiraled down out of the sky and into the spread.  After this I'm not sure I really cared if I shot another bird that morning.  How do you top what just happened.  Well you really don't and you soak in ever flight of birds and appreciate the fact that you have the ability to be there doing what you love.

We had another good group of geese work over the spread high and a few even joined the decoys on the ground but they didn't commit.  A small group of 10 broke off and made a swing low off the left corner and we took a few of them.  All that action and the sun wasn't even completely above the horizon.

After the flurry of geese came some small flights of ducks and we worked them over to pick off a few here and there to pass the time while waiting for more geese.  We did manage a few more small flights of geese including a flock about 8 giants that offered up some shooting off the left side of the blind.   We did get to laughing a bit as bubba chased down a running giant goose.  I laughed so hard my side hurt and I had tears in my eyes.  I'd love to bring the dog on a trip like this but then we wouldn't have enjoyed the bubba retriever show.

Not a bad morning considering the X was across the street

We definitely were not on the X today, because as we looked out the back of the blind across the dirt road to another field that was a couple hundred yards away and it was covered in snow geese, canadas and a load of ducks trying to get in.  Watching the ducks work into that field was just incredible.  We decided to stick it out and see if we couldn't scratch out a few more geese which we did, but we came up 6 short of a 5 man limit.  With nothing really moving and birds out on the feed we decided to pack it up and head back for some lunch.

Afternoon Duck Hunt

After a short break to get some lunch at the local bar which by the way had delicious food and specials every day and was priced very reasonable, we were headed back to the field for an afternoon duck hunt.  The weather warmed into the 40s and cloudy but the wind picked up a bit.  We setup the A-frame blind on the edge of a pothole in the brush and we were positioned looking up hill at the spread which consisted of a few dozen full bodies and  a single Mojo.  This setup made for some challenges as the ground wasn't level making standing up a challenge until we flattened things out and adjusted the angle of the  front of the blind.  Not to mentioned that we were sitting lover then the decoy spread by about 15 to 20 feet.   We also had another guide named Ronnie who is a good ol boy from Virgina with us and he definitely got a kick out of or crew.  I think they sent Ronnie along thinking Billy needed help wrangling us in but it really was so Billy could join us for a little hunting of his own.

I call this Where's Bubba?

The ducks starting coming back in pairs and small flocks so we picked away at them and got some good shooting.  The one rule we had was to not drop any birds in the water as our guide billy wasn't in the mood to go wading as usual we didn't listen.  Not really on purpose but those birds flying straight at us had some speed so when they get hit a couple landed in the water.  No worries, Bubba put on the waders and retrieved them up for Billy at the end of the hunt

Afternoon's results where some nice Mallards

Hands full of Greegheads.

The area we hunted was covered in potholes and just about everyone of them had birds on them.  We also saw a some mule deer.  We continued to pick away at singles and doubles while we got plenty of laughs and lots of exercise running up hill to retrieve birds.  It was nice to sit around enjoying a slow but steady hunt and we still managed to fill out our limit of ducks which was a good thing seeing we were eating ducks again for dinner tonight.  Man were they tasty.

A little appetizer of duck before dinner

Gear Used

One thing I used every day so far is my Drake EST Heat-Escape Waterproof Pullover by Drake Waterfowl.  Even though this is an early season piece it is something I find myself wearing even into the late season.  It's comfortable, seems to stop the wind very well and doesn't restrict my shooting that a heavy late season jacket can sometimes do.   For calls, I'm a Buck Gardner guy so I had two of my favorite ducks calls with me in the Buck Brush and Brad's Reactor both Acrylic calls.   The Buck Brush is just a sweet sounding single reed call (they also offer it in a double reed) that gives me everything I need and is easy to blow, plus it is Buck's favorite call so you know it is good.  The Brad's Reactor is a double reed call that has VFR Technology (Volume Flow Reduction) built into the insert which reduces the escaping air and provides more back pressure making for some sweet sounding quacks and you can get really soft with them or nasty.  Your choice.

Things I learned

As fun as being covered up in large numbers of birds is, today's slower paced duck hunt was something we needed as it allowed us to veg a little and have some additional fun in the blind.  After all, time in the blind with friends and family is what makes this sport so special.  I love to deer hunt and do so with my kids and friends, but when you can sit elbow to elbow and tell some tale tales and still kill some ducks, that is a mighty fine day.

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