Hunting with an Old Friend

Jason Surface and Dakota

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to reconnect with and old hunting buddy of mine Jason Surface that has moved up to Ozaki Kansas a few years ago. We’ve been trying to set up a day to get out together over the last few weeks and were finally able to find a time that both worked for us. As a second bonus, this morning one of the ponds I have been hoping to hunt finally became available as the farmer moved his cows with calves out of the pasture. This left us with two big beautiful ponds to choose from. Have never hunted either of these ponds the owner was nice enough to meet us at the gate around 6 am to drive down safely. He thought we should hunt the south pond since he’s been seeing more birds on it and when we pulled up there where 150+ birds sitting on the water so how can you argue with that.

The big problem with today was the temperatures. It was 21 when we pulled up. Now the geese will keep that water open but as soon as they leave it start to freeze back up at those temps. So we opted to hurry up and get the decoys and jerk string in the water to try and keep things moving since we knew ice would be our biggest problem.

Fighting some ice

As the sun started to rise we were surprised by a pair of mallards that were in and out of the decoys before we could get a shot of. Within second of that, 3 spoonies came zooming in and Jason and I both pick out a bird and got the morning started off with a bang. Now when we shot we realized that the other pond on the same 80 acres was holding a lot of geese also… as they started making a lot of noise. We had a few more groups of ducks work us but with the ice encroaching on our decoys the landing zone for the birds slowly went  from some to none… this was going to make the hunting tough.

Wow, I don’t think there was a 5 minute period from LST until we left at 9:30 that we did not have waterfowl of some type on the air around us. This meant we were treated to one incredible show… and by show did I mention that we had a second large pond on this piece of property we could have hunted.  Right about 7:40 a couple hundred snow geese started circling the pond 300 yards to the north of us, and they just kept coming for the next 20 minutes until we finally got another group of ducks to finish in our decoys. When we shot those birds a drake widgeon and a hen gadwall all 500+ snow geese got up what a sight to see.

Ice Pupicle

We were also treated some of the heavies Canada goose activity I have seen in a long time. We had Canada geese flying nonstop from 8 until we left at 9:30 with many birds giving us a strong look. The big problem for today was the ice. We could open up and keep a whole open big enough to get the birds to land. They kept coming over and over the decoys but we just couldn’t get the decoys out far enough from the shore line to really get them to want to land. We were able to get 4 this morning losing one over a fenced area we couldn’t cross but as we packed up the decoys the birds were still flying everywhere. I think we could have ended the day with limit of both ducks and geese this morning but with the ice 4 geese and 6 ducks is not a bad outing.

~ Nick

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