With there being a good number of both ducks and geese around the last two days Chip and I couldn’t wait to get out this morning to hunt one of my ponds. We decided to get up early this morning and head up to a farm pond we hunt up by Atchison KS. The morning was cold and a little frosty with a ring of ice extending out 10 feet from shore around a good portion of the pond and with no wind to break it up we opted to set up spread for a SE wind that was predicted.
The morning started off slow at sunrise, we only had one spoonie who made a harrowing escape buzz the decoys at LST. The next 30 minutes where slow with no birds in the air. A little after sunrise we had two gadwall come in 5 minutes apart. The first one miraculously finished in the decoys and with no wind at all we were surprised that even after circling 4 or 5 times he committed and came all the way in. I was able to fold him on a single shot over the decoys and Dakota made a great fetch. Shortly after waters calmed a second gadwall came in and circled the decoys just like the first but landed 50 yards away at the base of the dam. A short sneak on him produced 3 shots, a few feathers but no bird.
About 15 minutes after the gadwall, Chip and I were talking about making some changes to the spread because of the lack of wind when right above came a single honk. We froze, right above us where 4 geese flying over, I gave my short reed one quick note and all four banked and came right in. They gave us 15 yard shots right out in front. We managed to get three of the four down, although I think the 4th was hurt fairly bad which I hate but last we saw him he was still flying in the distance. Dakota made three good fetches on the birds and boy did that get our spirits up.
After the geese we only had about 45 minutes to hunt/hope for our mid morning mallard, and today they didn’t disappoint. We had two very nice groups of 50+ birds start their decent into the pond but didn’t quite finish so knowing that something wasn’t quite right (other than no wind) Chip and I decided to move across the pond to the west side. This position offered up more cover and better hiding but with the very light east wind is caused us to look into the sun and our shots where 10 to 15 yards farther but we were much better hidden. It didn’t take long for the move to pay off. About 10 minutes later a nice group of 5 mallards and a gadwall started working the pond from the south. There was only one drake in the group and he seemed to always be 20 to 30 yards behind the rest of the group. The hens and gadwall circled us over a dozen time offer a few mid range passing shots. With no wind this morning I debated on going ahead and taking them for a few moments but I really wanted to try and finish them all the way in. After a few more passed finally one came down right in the middle of decoys and the rest followed. Chip and I both picked off one bird to add to the bag and as usual Dakota did her part to perfection. We didn’t call much at all but the one time Chip made a quite chuckle they turned and worked right back in, seemed like less was more with calling this morning. What a great ending to the day!
As Chip and I where congratulating each other on what a great morning and I was pack my stuff up Chip whisper my favor word “crashing”. I looked up just in time to see a single drake mallard crashing from the heavens, could it be. We always dream of just one more drake, was it really going to happen right at go time? He circled a few times and after making a few drake calls to him with my mouth he circled over the middle of the pond and landed up by the dam. Damn… just our luck this year, but as soon as he hit the water he started swimming straight at us. Dakota held firm the whole time and once he was close enough chip jumped him and missed. Just as he was going to make an escape out the back side of the pond I was able to fold him over the corn field at the last second. Dakota had to chase him around a little but as always she won in the end. What a day, mallards and geese with good birds all day.
There here boys, get after them!!! Oh and today was Dakota’s 7th Birthday… the grow up so fast.