Band Info

Nick's Band

Nick’s Band

Date 07/15/2014
Species Large Canada Goose
Age HATCHED IN 2013 OR EARLIER
Sex MALE
Location NEAR FLORENCE, CODINGTON COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA, USA

 

Sometimes it all comes together.

As JJ and I were talking about where to hunt last night he casually mentioned that he saw some geese on one of our ponds we don’t hunt all that much. It took me just a few seconds to say hey why don’t we go hunting that tomorrow instead of the river and a plan was made. Gary, JJ and I pulled into the field that held the pond about 30 minutes before LST this morning and quickly made a pass with the head lights from a distance to see that it was still holding birds, to our luck it had several hundred geese resting on a spot they where keeping open.  We decided to hang back and let the first couple of lights go out to the field this morning so we didn’t spook them all off and then hunt them on the return. So we spend the next 45 minutes watching the sun come up.

enjoying the sunrise

enjoying the sunrise

 

you can get up already...

you can get up already…

This did cost us some ducks as small groups of mallards dropped in to the resting geese but the end result was more than worth it. We did end up having to push off several hundred birds after sunrise because they just wouldn’t leave the pond, even as we were setting up decoys they just kept circling and a few even landed in the water next to me. As hard as it was we stuck to the plan,  we where not going to shoot until all the birds we spooked off had left the immediate area so we didn’t burn the pond off.

Frosty puppy in the sunrise

Frosty puppy in the sunrise

Once we settled into the blind the bird started return in small groups, singles and pairs allowing us to quickly ended up putting 9 birds on the ground.  Then to finish the day out had a group of about 150 start working us. 30 to 40 birds ended up coming in and landing in the decoys while the rest kept circling. The dogs stayed steady so we waited let those in the decoys keep swimming and watch this group of hundred. It really was one of the better shows I have seen. The birds still in the air where very weary and just kept circling. As they did we would have multiple singles ,doubles triples and all sorts of groups break out of the main group and come down to land with the other birds until the final group came made the full commitment and came down as well. Once the final group came in we went ahead and shot our remaining eight Birds of which one was banded.

Nick's Band

Nick’s Band

Paige watching over her birds

Paige watching over her birds

Gary and JJ

Gary and JJ

What a morning and what a show to end it. As quickly as we could we picked up the decoys and head to the top of the hill to take picture hope we didn’t burn this pond and can make it back to its Saturday. As we where leaving about 50 birds where circling to go right back in. :)

 

~Nick

The Taste of the Kansas Outdoors Cookbook, by Michael Pearce

Another guest post, this time from Melissa Neff, offering up an excellent review of a recently acquired work of art we managed to beg, borrow, or steal from our opening day duck blind guest, Michael Pearce from the Wichita Eagle

Ok, I will fully admit I might be one of the weird ones out there. But I absolutely love it when cookbooks have a story woven throughout the pages. There is something beautiful about how certain meals invoke certain memories and – honestly – how much more rewarding is it when you find a new recipe that has a story attached to it?

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I recently had the distinct pleasure of meeting Michael Pearce of the Wichita Eagle when he made a trip to this neck of the woods to test out the opening weekend of duck season with the hubby and some of the other Outdoorsman. With very few birds in the area, the talk led to cooking, and just how “gourmet” the meals can sometimes be in the blind.

From the discussion of blind food, the conversation turned to Michael’s latest collaboration, “The Taste of the Kansas Outdoors Cookbook”. And wow, is this a cookbook to behold. Beautiful pictures, creative and amazing recipes, and special stories woven throughout the book made each turn of a page bring new “oohs” and “aahs.”

This cookbook highlights every possible type of wild game you can find – or have even been rumored to find - here in Kansas. I say rumored, as I have never seen any elk or wild pigs. But, let’s be honest, in the ten years of marriage to an Outdoorsman the poor hubby can count on one hand how many times I have joined him in the field.

This cookbook is broken into different types of animals, ranging from big game to fish to native plants that can be found in different parts of the state. Throughout the book, Michael takes the reader on an adventure of exploring Kansas and the many wonders and beauties that so few of us have had the opportunity to experience. After exploring the pages, I was seriously ready to pack the pups up in the truck with our tent and venture out in search of some of these views.

When it comes to the actual recipes, they ranged from simple to complex. There are great pictures of step-by-step procedures on how to handle the different meats to how to prepare the meals. There is truly a recipe for everyone in this cookbook.

But my favorite part of the book has to be the stories. The stories about how the outdoors can become such an integral part of small town Kansas community. About the bond that is forever formed between a hunter and his trusty hunting dog. The stories of life long friendships made in a duck or deer blind. Those stories that make the cold blustery mornings all worth it.

“Taste of the Kansas Outdoors Cookbook,” is a must have for any Outdoorsman to expand their own recipe repertoire. It’s a great cookbook for anyone who appreciates the outdoors and all that Midwest has to offer. I am excited for the boys to have a successful hunting season. And if I am lucky, maybe the hubby will test out a few of these recipes sooner than later.

Here is link to the cook book if you have interesting looking at it. http://www.kansas.com/sports/outdoors/article2999919.html

~ Melissa Neff

A Pheasant Opener in Kansas

Enjoy a guest post from a close friend of the Kansas Outdoorsmen, Patrick Mellard -

personal limit

Pheasant numbers have been down throughout the majority of the state the past few years. This year was a great start on turning the wild bird populations in Kansas. Opening weekend of pheasant season in Kansas finds people from all over enjoying the hunting opportunities our state has to offer. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to head west and chase around the colorful ditch chickens.

After some scouting on Friday night, we knew where there was good CRP, along with food sources, stirring hope for a few concentrations of birds. Then began the “other part” of what hunting season is all about. Drinks, poker and stories, all tossed around with the excitement for the next morning.

1st morningThe morning came and the group was ready. We started by walking a WIHA piece that has been very good to us in the past. This year it wasn’t stellar, but we did put a few birds on the ground. The next chunk of WIHA found us to be a little too late, as we were watching birds leave it heading towards the food source (milo field) just to the East. Four more roosters in the bag, but we knew there were a lot in the uncut milo we didn’t have permission to hunt.

Location seemed to be the most important element to success for the weekend. Wherever grass met food there were birds. At points we had stellar shooting, but these were equally met with times of “how’d that bird get away?” A beautiful sunset only made the end of the day that much better as our last field produced 6 or so roosters. 27 total on the day was a great start to the upland season.

2nd morningWe saw 2 coveys of quail over the weekend. Sadly, both were not large in size so we didn’t pluck out any of those. We like to leave large enough coveys so they are sure to survive the winter and have breeding stock for next year. Again, this is the first year on a long road to recovery.

We started day #2 in the same WIHA field we let birds sneak out of the first day. It provided 5 birds and plenty of hens. We hunted a few milo fields that we didn’t walk the day before and covered a few more miles. Some fields were just calorie burners while others provided some hot and heavy shooting. It was a great trip overall and I hope all of you got to sneak out as well.

Safe and happy hunting!

~ Patrick Mellard

Paige’s First goose

It’s been a slow start to Paige’s waterfowl career… not because of her it’s been slow getting birds down on hunts she goes on. Today she got her first duck and goose, sadly I only got pictures of her first goose but someone else may have gotten the duck so here we go… the day after the smack down things slowed up a lot. We only had 3 ducks and 4 geese come in, all stayed… Paige got her first birds and I loved every cold minute of it.

~ Nick

First goose

First goose

Just like a champ

Just like a champ

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First good puppy ice cycle

First good puppy ice cycle

Paige and Luba

Paige and Luba

First Migration Day of 2014 Season

The start to this year’s waterfowl season has been one that has been very up and down. It’s been very slow for the first 9 days of the season with the migration not starting until this week. We received our first true taste of fall and winter starting Tuesday morning so we decided to take a short hunt out to try for ducks. Kansas has a two-day goose closure on Monday and Tuesday so we knew we would defiantly have geese around. Just as we finished setting up we were greeted two minutes in the legal shooting time by a group of about 40 geese. Knowing that we couldn’t do anything to them, we just took pictures and enjoyed the morning, which provided a show for the next 3 hours as several hundred geese landed in our 12 goose floaters.

Luck Bird

Luck Bird

snuggling behind the blind out of the wind

snuggling behind the blind out of the wind

Chilling in the decoys

Chilling in the decoys

Dakota with a fetch

Dakota with a fetch

Tuesday’s results were limited with just a few mallards that we where thankful to have, but we quickly devised a plan for Wednesday morning where five of us made plans to be “sick” and head out for a hunt hoping for the same results and numbers of birds that we’d seen the day before. We set up with eager anticipation knowing that there were a lot of new birds in the area that didn’t know the whole game yet. We were quickly greeted with multiple flocks of single and doubles honkers mixed in with a few ducks. We where very excited to be able to put a good number of birds in the decoys fairly quickly since one of our hunters had to leave for work by 830 and he was able to fill his six birds. The other four of us proceeded to enjoy an incredible morning of great gunning and even better dog work filling out most of our 24 birds by about 1030 in morning.

Helping the Old Dog Out

Helping the Old Dog Out

Gary Helping Dakota out

Gary Helping Dakota out

A ray of light

A ray of light

JJ, Nick and Benton with the rock star

JJ, Nick and Benton with the rock star

Gary with the other side of the blind

Gary with the other side of the blind

We also added an 8 bonus ducks of which Dakota being the only dog out there had to do most of the work. She brought back over 30 birds with many of them being long swims in the water and for a 10 year old Labrador that’s a lot of work, she’s a rock star. The first great hunt of the year two birds short of a six man do so I meant with 8 bonus ducks provided our first great waterfowl hunt of the year.

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~Nick

Opening Weekend

No wind on the water

No wind on the water

Friend of the outdoorsman and outdoor writer for the Wichita Eagle Michael Pearce joined us on our miserable opening day hunt. He knew going into it that the birds where just not there but we tried to make the best of it.

Here is the link to his article - http://www.kansas.com/sports/outdoors/article3513549.html

His Photo Gallery - http://www.kansas.com/sports/article3514041.html

Dakota with her only prize of the day

Dakota with her only prize of the day

 

As a side note this is what I came home to today. My new pup is not ready for the big show yet but she still doesn’t like being left at home… You can almost read her mind… so you only took the old dog this weekend, thanks….

photo

 

Pre-Season Fun

Its been a long couple of months with poor fishing and not much great outdoor activity here in Kansas so far for us. We have had a few good duck hunts I am trying to get finish up writing about from the bottoms but time just always seems to be spend watching the Royals then recovering… But, it’s that time of year where the waterfowl season gets ready to start here in our part of the state and that gets all of our blood boiling again. We have had one of the nicest falls in Kansas in years which has unfortunately slowed the migration but we are hoping for good weather and a little bit of luck for this weekend’s late zone opener.
Riding the Pine for the opener...

Riding the Pine for the opener…

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We’ve spent the last couple of weekends doing odd jobs of cleaning the blinds, brushing the blinds and cleaning decoys getting ready for this Saturday’s opener hope everybody makes it out and be safe.
~ Nick

Teal Opening Weekend

What she lives for

What she lives for

Sunday I was suppose to go down to Hutchinson KS to meet a good friend of mine (who will remain nameless) for an afternoon duck hunt and spend some quality time together. I showed around our scheduled time to find out his wife had other plans for the day… so after an little time catching up, we said our good byes and I was off on my own for the afternoon. I had Dakota with me hoping to get her into a good old fashion Hutch smack down but as I was pulling out of town she gave me the big old puppy eyes and I couldn’t head home without letting her run a little, so we headed up to McPherson Valley wetlands so do a Sunday opener hunt.

We pulle dup to the marsh about 2 pm and quickly got ready to go find a spot to hunt. I have not been here in two years so scouting was only going to happen off of memory. My plan of attach was to go out into one of the main pools and wonder aimlessly hoping to jump a large group of teal and then set up where they left with an added bonus of finding a high spot for Dakota sit on. Well, I went one for two. After jumping a large group of resting birds I quickly settled into where they got up but the left Dakota in waist deep water. Not even remotely what I wanted but she was so happy to be hunting she didn’t complain once…

Can you see me?

Can you see me?

 

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Don't worry I got this one.

Don’t worry I got this one.

The hunt was a good one in general for public land. We saw a group of 3 guys we talked to on the way smash a group of pintails that came into their mojo’s and lots of sky busting. Dakota and spend ht next few hours working 3 groups of teal into our decoys and picking out our 6 birds. We may have been done quicker if I would have taken some longer shots but I wasn’t going to do that. We did lose one bird on a shot that I should not have taken but did, cause it was my last bird and I wanted to get done. All in all the birds really started flying around 5 and we where done by 6:30. Brent the manager has done a great job really turning the Valley into a quality hunting area.

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What do you mean where done?!?

What do you mean where done?!?

Now the biggest mistake I made all day long was trying to be a nice guy. I was in the middle of the marsh and everyone was round me so I decided I wouldn’t mess up there last hour of hunting and I would just walk straight north out of the marsh… bad idea, it just got thicker and longer… 2 gallons of sweet and 30 minutes later I made the half mile walk but it sucked, oh well it was a great day in central KS.

~Nick

Forgot about this

I forgot about a nice knot in the decoys… Glad I looked at these before I went out for the opener tomorrow… Tomorrow will be Paige’s first duck hunt ever. We are not seeing a lot but still going to give it an hour. IMG_20140912_141948