Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chasing green... our waterfowl season is officially underway!

Gotta love the green...
To start this post I gotta admit- Life has been a bit hectic lately. After finishing up my fall steelhead season with numerous banner days down on the Klickitat, I headed home in a rush, packed a bag and hopped on a plane with wife and family bound for the east coast. We had a very special visit for about 10 days in northern Maine, where my mother's side of the family is located.

The whitetail hunting season was in full swing over there, and being out in the woods and hearing stories of family members chasing bucks around really helped me shift my focus from hunting steelhead to hunting things I can shoot! After returning home, I've spent the past couple days putting away my guiding equipment and gearing up for waterfowl. It's always fun to shake the dust off the decoy bags and check the layout blinds for mouse nests!

My waterfowl season kicked off today with a wonderful opportunity to hunt with two very good friends of mine from the Tri-Cities, WA area. I grew up chasing birds with these guys most days of the week back in high-school, and they've continued their obsession with killing ducks and geese since our younger days. It's always a pleasure to get back to my old stomping grounds with guys I grew up hunting with. Some of our special "honeyholes" hold so many memories from previous hunts over the last 15 years, we can't help but laugh and tell stories from years past!

We currently have good numbers of birds in the Basin pushed down by some early cold-snaps back in late October. I was very impressed with the flights of both mallards and geese  observed today, and it seemed like there was always birds in the air this morning. Unfortunately, with bluebird weather and temps in the high 50s, many of these birds fly so high it makes it a bit tough to get them to come down and pay our spread a visit.

Our first 3 flights of the morning came in within the first 20 minutes of shooting light and weren't able to make it back out of the spread. This was the story for today, with our three guns shooting 11 for 12 birds, only leaving a lone Teal to make it out of the decoys unharmed! It's always nice to work the birds close and kill everything that comes into the spread!

Today's hunt was nothing to complain about, but we were constantly adjusting our spread in an attempt to make the birds more willing to commit. The reality is, the majority of the birds just weren't interested in hanging out on our pond. It didn't take long to recognize the all-too-familiar scenario, but we adapted accordingly- adjusting our calling and our spread until we found what worked best for us today. We came to the conclusion that the birds had been hammered on several times in this spot. All we really need to make the hunting gangbusters again is some fresh birds who aren't savvy to our program.

I was excited to see the geese so responsive to the call. Unfortunately, a several mile hike back into the pond prevented us from even considering bringing any goose decoys. Next time we'll bear the burden of the extra weight and deal with it! We had many flocks circle and look hard, only to recognize the lack of any goose decoy on the water.

We're excited for some weather to come our way and more excited about the birds it will bring. We finished today with 10 beautiful mallards and a full plumage drake widgeon that I wish I would have taken more pictures of. We worked our tails off for the birds we killed and did well despite the tough hand we were dealt today.

Miah looking hard for birds...

First light and a pretty spread...

An accurate look at our weather conditions today... nice but a bit tough for hunting...

Brit with her glory-pose...
It's going to be an insane waterfowl season up here in the Columbia Basin! I will do my best to keep the blog updated with reports and photos... I hope you enjoy. If anyone is interested in a hunt, please send an email the or call me anytime on my cell at 509-460-9519.

Happy hunting,


The Nomadic Angler

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